Vermont is experiencing a significant demographic shift resulting in a population profile of older adults that are living longer than ever before. That’s good news! But it also brings with it a slew of lifestyle, housing and care issues.

Seniors are asking: What are my choices? Can I/Should I continue to stay at home? How much does it cost? Who pays for it? Who can I talk to?

The emotional and financial concerns of a move to senior housing – or staying at home with care supports – can be daunting. Fortunately, there are many sources for guidance and information in Chittenden County. (See resource list) 

Where Do I Begin?

Organize and list your priorities, circumstances and goals. If possible, plan ahead to determine what supports would make life easier, safer and more enjoyable.

Ask yourself:

  • What am I able or willing to spend if needed?
  • What activities are important to maintain in my daily life environment?
  • Am I willing to have services brought into my home?
  • If I move, what size community would best suit me?
  • Will I be relying on Medicaid or other subsidized support immediately or possibly down the road

If you have immediate need due to an unexpected illness, physical limitation or hospitalization, you may need to make quick decisions. A hospital or rehab discharge planner or an agency social worker is often a guide in this process.

A sampling of local agencies that assist during transitions, whether to senior living or adding care services in to your life, are:

  • Age Well (our local area agency on aging)
  • Alzheimer’s Association of Vermont
  • BAYADA Home Health Care
  • DAIL (Vermont’s Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living)
  • SASH (Support and Services at Home)
  • Vermont 2-1-1
  • Vermont Office of Veteran’s Affairs
  • VNA of Chittenden & Grand Isle Counties (Home Health Care and Hospice)
  • Download the PDF with a full list of resources.

These agencies offer information and assistance hotlines, social workers, case managers, in-home care services, guidance and more. Local elder law attorneys, guardians, daily money managers and elder care consultants can assist on a one-time or on-going basis.

In-home care can include non-medical services such as check-ins, Meals on Wheels and assistance with household chores. Medical services can include nursing, physical, occupational and speech therapies. Various payment methods include Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and private payment. Chittenden County has many senior living communities offering light to quite comprehensive care and supports. Senior housing and in-home care options have dramatically improved over the past several years.

The bottom line is that there are many services, supports and information are available to assist you in determining your options. Take advantage of them! Living longer does not have to mean losing your autonomy and independence. With planning and realistic evaluation of your goals, your senior years can reflect your living choices and care preferences.

This information was presented as part of a HealthSource Class given on April 30, 2018 by the following presenters:

Stephanie L. Parker, Community Outreach, Pillsbury Senior Communities

Liza Rixon, LPN, Executive Director, Pillsbury Senior Communities 

Deb Gaylord, RN, Director of Care & Services Coordination, Age Well

Laura Wilson, Director of Operations, Cathedral Square

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