What follows is a descriptive listing of the TYPES of community services available to seniors and/or their caregivers in Pasco and Pinellas counties in the State of Florida. Many of these types of services are available throughout Florida or the United States. It should be noted that the resources range widely in their availability, fees, hours, eligibility, age criteria and scope of service. Persons interested in a community service should discuss the specific guidelines and costs, if any, for receiving the service. For information about different types of funding that may cover some of the services listed below, see The Four Stages of Caregiving. Seek formal support services, part of a step-by-step guide to caregiving on our web site. You may also find it helpful to read Financial Assistance Programs.
Some services may be provided by both non-profit agencies and for-profit businesses. For detailed information on providers in Pasco and Pinellas counties, call the Helpline,or run a search on Search for Community Resources on our web site. The telephone numbers for the Helpline, Florida’s Elder Helpline, and the national Eldercare Locator are listed under Information and Assistance below.
Adult Day Care
Adult day care centers serve those persons with Alzheimer’s disease or a related memory disorder as well as persons with other conditions. Adult Day Care Centers provide a pleasant, protective day time environment for persons who should not remain in their own home alone. With the help of the Adult Day Care program, participants have available to them planned and supervised activities, exercise periods, socialization, nutritious lunches and, in some centers, medical supervision by a licensed nurse.
Adult Day Care is provided by both federal and state funding and by private businesses. The provision of adult day care can also be differentiated between that provided by organizations whose primary business is adult day care and those organizations which provide adult day care incidental to their primary business of assisted living or skilled nursing. The fees charged and the size and structure of the programs vary. When selecting an adult day care center, it is important to visit the center to determine the quality and suitability of the program.
Adult Day Care Centers in Florida are licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration. In some cases, centers are certified as Adult Day Health Care Centers and they are able to provide more care. Assisted Living Facilities (ALF’s) can provide day time respite and/or day care, but such centers are licensed as an assisted living facility, with special consideration given to staffing and adequacy of space.
The Alzheimer’s Association is a national voluntary organization dedicated to research for the prevention, cure and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, and to providing support and assistance to the afflicted patients and their families. The Gulf Coast Chapter (formerly Tampa Bay Chapter) of the Alzheimer’s Association carries out that mission through:
Patient and Family Services to aid persons with dementia and caregivers, including a telephone helpline, “Safe Return” program, Respite Assistance, Support Groups, caregiver training and conferences.
Education to families, to the public and to healthcare professionals, through a newsletter, information packets, resource center, Speakers Bureau and professional conferences and training.
Advocacy for improved public policy and needed legislation.
Research, through contributions to the nationwide effort to find the cause, methods of prevention, treatment and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.
Alzheimer’s Family Organization
The Alzheimer’s Family Organization is a local voluntary organization. It promotes public awareness, advocates legislation for patients and families, and provides support services and a telephone helpline through its local and volunteer network in Pasco County.
Services include the Respite Care Assistance Program, support groups, a memory clinic provided in conjunction with Community Aging and Retirement Services, Inc, Wanderer’s Identification Program, and supplies.
Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (ADI) Program
The primary goal is to provide support in the form of respite and education to individuals who are caring for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia. ADI respite is professional, caring supervision and companionship provided by home health aides in the homes of Alzheimer’s patients. In addition to respite, counseling, referral sources, education and information are provided to caregivers. There are no age restrictions.
Caregiver Training And Support
Individual caregiver training and support is provided to caregivers in their homes and at community sites. The training focuses on activities to enable the unpaid caregiver to provide for the day-to-day care for their loved one. Activities can include instruction on use of assistive devices, appropriate nutritional support, instruction on personal care needs, management of difficult behaviors, and support for stress management. Respite and other in-home services may be available. For information about two caregiver programs, one available in Pinellas County, Florida, and one available nationally, see National Family Caregiver Support Program.
Care Management / Case Management
A Geriatric Care Manager is a professional who specializes in assisting older people and their families with long-term care issues. Care Managers, or case managers as they are sometimes called, have training in gerontology, social work, nursing or counseling. Through education, advocacy, counseling and coordination of services, care managers assist individuals and their families with the challenges of aging.
A care manager can assist by completing a personal assessment that identifies problems and need for services. A care plan is created with a list of recommended services. The care manager can help screen, arrange and monitor the necessary services. They act as a liaison with health care professionals, financial and legal consultants, and family members.
Care Management is provided by both federal and state funded programs and by private businesses. The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers explains what a care manager is and provides names of care managers anywhere in the United States.
Chore provides household or yard tasks such as major cleaning, lifting, mowing, yard work, and simple household repairs for eligible persons who are unable to do these tasks themselves because of frailty or other disabling condition. Both federal and state funded programs provide Chore services and similar services can be arranged through private businesses.
Community Care For The Elderly (CCE)
A Florida State-funded program assisting functionally-impaired elderly persons to remain in their homes or the home of a caregiver.
Recipients of this program receive case management, and a variety of the services such as: adult day care, chore services, counseling, emergency alert response, home delivered meals, homemaker, home health aide, home nursing, medication management, personal care services (help with bathing/grooming, etc.), respite care for caregivers, transportation, and physical, speech, or occupational therapy.
Counseling services are available to older persons in the areas of family and inter-generational relationships, in-home caregiving and emotional, social and marital problems on a one-to-one or group basis. The client is provided guidance and assistance in the utilization of needed health and social services and help in coping with personal problems through the establishment of supportive relationships. Resources may also provide mental health and crisis intervention counseling. Counseling is provided by both federal and state funding and is also available through private counselors.
Driving and dementia is a vital concern and it is the responsibility of the caregivers to take action for the safety of the patient and others.
Bayfront Medical Center offers an evaluation by an occupational therapist to individuals needing to determine if they are safe on the road and what adaptive equipment can be used to allow them to return to driving again. It is a two part evaluation. Part one is a clinical assessment of eye-hand-foot coordination, reaction time, visual scanning ability, and other cognitive and motor functions. The second part, if needed, is a road test of driver safety, awareness of laws, and training needed.
For more more details, cost information, or to arrange for an evaluation, call 727-893-6710. Staff will arrange for required documents, including the required prescription from the health care provider. To be evaluated the person must have a current driver’s license, 20/40 corrected vision in one eye, and be seizure-free for 6 months.
Bayfront Medical Center
Outpatient Rehabilitation Services
700 6th Street South
St Petersburg, FL 33701
Emergency Alert Response
Provides a system installed in a person’s home which signals the need for assistance by transmitting a coded signal over the telephone to a control station providing 24-hour monitoring and surveillance services. This is available through both federal and state funded programs and through private businesses.
Emergency Home Energy Assistance For The Elderly
EHEAP is a federally funded program that assists low income households containing an elderly individual whose home heating or cooling source has been cut off or is in danger of being cut off and who lack a means to heat or cool the home.
Florida is vulnerable to weather conditions such as hurricanes, wildfires, floods and tornado’s. Heat waves and drought have also taken a toll on the state. People who are frail or disabled (either mentally or physically) are susceptible to severe weather conditions and may need special assistance from family members, friends or social service agencies.
Florida law requires that evacuation assistance be available to individuals with specified “special needs”. If family and/or friends are unavailable to assist a special needs person with evacuation assistance, it is essential for that person to register with his/her local emergency management agency before disaster strikes. Red Cross shelters and special needs shelters are places of last resort for Alzheimer’s patients. Planning ahead so a safe, protective and calm environment is available for a memory-impaired person is essential. In all cases, the caregiver should expect to accompany the Alzheimer’s patient in an evacuation. If an older adult lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, the administrator should be contacted to learn about the disaster plan for that facility.
Home Health Care
Home health care includes a wide range of health or medical services and/or medical supplies provided by a home health agency to an individual on a visiting or continuing basis in his or her home.
Agencies providing home health care must be licensed, and may be certified and/or accredited. There is no qualitative difference in service standards between agencies which are certified and those that are only licensed. The only difference is that certified agencies accept Medicare and Medicaid payment for care, and undergo more intensive review and monitoring. Charges and Medicare reimbursement vary for home health services by agency and type of care provided. The patient’s physician is a good source for agency referrals. Additionally, a requirement for Medicare to cover home health is that there must be a physician’s signed order for such care.
Provides non-medical services such as food shopping, meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry and training in household management to elderly persons who cannot perform these tasks due to physical frailty and/or disability. Homemaker services are provided by federally and state funded programs, by private businesses, and by most home health agencies (see previous listing).
Provides end-of-life medical care and supportive services for terminally ill patients and their families. The services are administered by a hospice agency and coordinated by the hospice nurse assigned to the patient. An interdisciplinary team is used to meet the special needs arising out of the physical, emotional, spiritual, social and economic stresses that are experienced during the final stages of illness, and during dying and bereavement. Hospice services, which can be provided in the home, ALF, or nursing home are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or other insurance. No one is denied services if requirements for need is met.
Information and Assistance
Provides information regarding resources and available services. After determining the needs of the caller, referral is made to the appropriate resource.
Elder Helpline: 1-800-963-5337
An automatic telephone transfer system that connects the caller to an appropriate information and referral service located in counties throughout Florida.
Provides legal advice by an attorney and counseling or representation by a non-lawyer, when permitted by law, to older individuals. Legal services corporations in Pasco and Pinellas County, Florida, use federal and state funding to offer legal assistance at no charge to older clients with economic and social needs. Help is available for many types of legal problems.
An elder law attorney is one whose law practice encompasses all aspects of planning, counseling, educating, and advocating for older clients and their problems. Elder law attorneys believe life’s problems are as important and complex as death problems, especially when dealing with incapacity and the cost of quality care. They deal with both legal and non-legal issues to effectively advise clients about their problems. Elder law attorneys, unless employed by a legal services corporation to provide legal assistance to low-income older persons, generally charge for their services. For more information, see two articles on our web site: What Is an Elder Law Attorney? and Legal Questions When Facing Incapacity.
*Assisted Living Medicaid Waiver
This program uses state and federal Medicaid funds to provide services to frail elders who reside in enrolled Assisted Living Facilities (ALF). Participants must meet functional and financial criteria. The payment made to the Facility will be calculated based on to the residents income.
*Aged/Disabled Medicaid Waiver
This program uses state and federal Medicaid funds to provide Home and Community Based Services to frail elders or disabled adults who are at risk of going into a nursing home. Participants must meet functional and financial criteria.
Recipients in this program will receive case management and any of the following services: adult companion service, adult day health care, attendant care services, case aide, case management, chore, consumable medical supplies, counseling, environmental accessibility adaptations, escort, family training, financial risk reduction, personal care, personal emergency response system, pest control, physical risk reduction, respite, skilled nursing, specialized medical equipment and supplies and physical, occupational or speech therapies.
*Please note that the Medicaid Waiver Programs with the exception of PACE, that are listed above transitioned to the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term Care Program on February 2014 for Pasco and Pinellas County.
Federal and state funded programs provide nutritious, well-balanced meals at congregate dining sites and to home-bound elderly persons. Outreach and nutrition education services are provided for the program participants. Private businesses also provide meals that are delivered to the home.
Personal care is provided by home health aides or certified nursing assistants and can include assistance with eating, dressing, personal hygiene, and other activities of daily living. Meal preparation, light housekeeping, escort to medical appointments, and shopping assistance may also be provided. Personal care may be provided by federal and state funded programs or by private businesses.
This sub-component of the Florida Department of Children and Families Aging and Adult Services Program has as its primary goal the protection or prevention of elderly or disabled persons from abuse, neglect or exploitation. Aging and Adult Services protective investigators are responsible for conducting assessments of alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation and reporting actual cases to the State Attorney’s Office for further handling. Through the use of Temporary Emergency shelter funds, elderly or disabled adults who are in danger of abuse, neglect or exploitation may be placed in protective living arrangements on a short term basis. Referrals may be made 24 hours a day by calling the state wide toll-free number 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873). For more information, see Elder Abuse and How to Report It, Prevent It.
Many caregivers find that some type of respite care is essential to obtain occasional relief from the pressures of continuous caregiving. A variety of options are available for respite care. Respite care may be provided in the patient’s home or outside the home through an adult day care center, assisted living facility (ALF) or nursing home.
The Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Family Organization provide a limited amount of financial assistance to members for respite care of their loved one. In addition, these organizations keep lists of nursing homes and assisted living facilities which provide respite care to Alzheimer’s patients. Many home health agencies offer in-home respite care for a charge. Some residential facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, accept seniors for short-term overnight stays to provide respite to the caregiver. Many facilities have special care units for Alzheimer’s disease patients and also provide respite services. Caregiver are encouraged to contact and visit sites to determine the quality and suitability of the care.
Federally and state funded programs also provide respite services. Respite is one of the major services provided by the National Family Caregiver Support Program.
Each senior center provides a place where older persons can gather to socialize and maintain involvement with their community. These centers are sometimes located in a community center, with a focus on seniors as well as other age groups. They provide a program of activities and offer a variety of services for elderly participants. Senior Centers usually require that participants function fairly independently and be continent of bladder. Additionally, some senior centers are meeting sites for support groups and adult day care programs. For senior centers in Florida’s Pasco and Pinellas counties, see Senior Centers.
Serving Health Insurance Needs Of Elders (SHINE)
“SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) is a free program offered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and your local Area Agency on Aging. Specially trained volunteers can assist you with your Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance questions by providing one-on-one counseling and information. SHINE services are free, unbiased, and confidential.” Call 1-800-963-5337 for more information. Calling from outside the area: 727-217-8111.
Support groups offer encouragement, good information, suggestions and ways to learn how to care for loved ones and how to cope with the emotional strain that accompanies caregiving.
Support groups consist of family members who are or have been caregivers themselves and provide a sharing, non-judgmental support network. Too often, caregivers isolate themselves with their patients, thinking they are the only ones who are experiencing the overwhelming demands on time and patience. The heavy financial and emotional burden for caregivers is made easier to live with as persons come together to share concerns. Family, friends and other caregivers are encouraged to participate.
Each support group has a different personality. You may need to try out several to see which one feels comfortable. Some organizations provide care for the patient during meetings. Some meetings are targeted for specific groups including spouses, adult children, school age children or families.
Support groups are provided by a variety of sources including disease specific foundations, social service agencies, local nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities or churches.
Transportation through federal and state funded programs may be available for several purposes, including medical treatment, shopping and attending congregate dining sites and adult day care programs. Eligibility requirements, fees, application processes, and waiting periods are common. Most of these services require advance notification and reservations. For resources in Pasco or Pinellas County, Florida, see Transportation Options.
Provides comprehensive veterans affairs assistance. Assists and counsels former and present members of the Armed Forces, their survivors and dependents in preparing and filing claims for benefits to which they are entitled under federal, state, and local laws. Benefits such as pensions, education, hospitalization, outpatient treatment, home loans, insurance, nursing home care, and burial benefits are determined. Assistance is provided through personal office visits, by telephone interviews, and by outreach visits.
The Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs operates the Baldomero Lopez Veterans’ Nursing Home in Land o’ Lakes, Florida. The home is a 120 bed facility, with 60 beds dedicated to serving mobile Alzheimer’s patients. Veterans who have been Florida residents for at least one year, honorably discharged, and need nursing care are eligible.
Veterans Respite Care Program: The Veterans Administration Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, provides respite care for eligible veterans being cared for by a caregiver in the community. Respite care is provided for a maximum of 14 days, once every six months. Only Alzheimer’s/Dementia patients requiring custodial care are accepted for respite services.
Older veterans and their families may not realize that they may qualify for some services offered by the Veterans Administration today.