Finding free things for seniors and the elderly can help make life a lot easier for those at a tender age, especially if they are living off of a low income.
Luckily, free things for seniors and the elderly abound as long as you know the right place to look. Many of the freebies senior discounts for seniors come from the U.S. Federal Government or state government programs, while others are provided by Non-profits (NGOs) and charities and can range from assistance in legal matters to free money.
Below we list some of the best resources for finding free stuff for seniors and the elderly.
The elderly and seniors can receive help from a number of community resources or assistance programs that specialize in meeting their needs. Find free government money for seniors, prescription medications, home delivery of food or meals, employment and more. Resources are offered by your state or the federal government, Area Agency on Aging offices, charities or social service organizations.
The exact type of senior citizens resources available near you will vary by state, county, and agency. Examples of some of the programs that are offered for low-income senior citizens and the elderly include government benefit or grant money programs, Medicare, financial help, home care and grants for paying for medications or other bills. Assistance programs help the elderly, retirees, and older Americans, whether they have medical issues or not.
There are other resources that help the elderly as well as senior citizens. Other assistance is provided from free senior centers, home care programs, employment resources, free pantries as well meal on wheels programs, and much more. With the population of the country continuing to age and more individuals reaching the so-called senior “status”, the demand for assistance, information, and advice continues to increase.
Some of the best general resources are:
1. The Area Agency on Aging (AAA)
“AAAs” are available in most major cities to provide services for seniors. Services at each office will vary so you’ll need to contact your local office to see what they provide.
Typically, AAAs offer free counseling on long-term care, health and other insurance, nutrition, minor home repair, and help with applying for government assistance programs. AAAs are also an excellent source of services for free in your local area that may not be widely advertised, such as public transportation and other city and county services, adult day care, and food banks that provide meals for seniors.
2. Eldercare Locator
Another way to find free local services specifically for seniors is through the Eldercare Locator website. This program is funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging and can help you find options such as transportation, legal assistance, elder abuse resources, and more. Some services may just be discounted but many can be found in your location that are free. You can also call them at 1-800-677-1116 for assistance.
Congregate meals are offered in all states. Individuals can choose from meal sites including churches, senior centers, religious facilities, area on aging offices, food pantries, soup kitchens or housing facilities. Not only can a senior citizen get a free, nutritious USDA-approved hot meal or lunch or grocery bag of Ensure nutritional supplements, but they can also have the opportunity to socialize with their peers.
Homebound people (seniors or those with health care issues) who can’t make it to a feeding site and who are homebound can look into free home-delivered meals. The home-delivered meal programs are also commonly referred to as Meals on Wheels, however, the name can change by local state.
Volunteers will bring food and meals to homebound seniors, which can help them to remain in their homes for as long as possible. Some of the volunteers will also bring the client a free, special holiday meal at Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Another source of free food is offered to seniors over 60 years of age from the federal government-funded Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). Healthy meals and groceries are offered in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and your state.
For seniors struggling to feed their pets, free dog or cat food may be available too. Some Meals on Wheels services now provide this for low-income elderly and the homebound. It is not yet offered nationwide, but an increasing number of providers are implementing this program for those elderly households that have a very low income.
If you are a lower-income senior, Donated Dental Services (DDS) provides free senior dental care. The program is entirely staffed by volunteer dentists and is available in every state. Their website has a listing of facilities by state and their application process.
You may also be able to get dentures for free by contacting your state’s dental association. They will be aware of any free services offered by dental schools and others in your state. You may also be able to find local free denture programs through your local AAA.
Seniors have options when it comes to health insurance, such as Medicare and government programs that can help people pay their medical bills and offset medical premiums. With many retirees living on a fixed income, paying for health care is very difficult if not impossible. So there is information and resources offered to help the elderly deal with escalating medical costs.
The Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a great source of information. The specialists that are part of this program can help seniors understand their health insurance benefits, plans that are available, medical bills and rights. The elderly can learn about grants or vouchers for buying prescription medications as well. This program supports Medicare beneficiaries, including people who are under 65 years old.
One great option that seniors have when it comes to healthcare is Medicare. The federal government Medicare service is a national social insurance program. Millions of households currently receive assistance from this benefit. It operates similarly to a free health insurance plan in that it allows senior citizens to get the comprehensive medical and dental care they need.
It was created and is administered by the U.S. federal government. The program guarantees access to health insurance for seniors and Americans ages 65 and older, many of them who recently retired. Younger people can also benefit from Medicare, and the program can help individuals with disabilities as well as patients with end-stage renal disease.
Low-income older adults can also receive medical services for seniors through local free clinics run by the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics. If you need help with medication, pharmaceutical companies operate Patience Assistance Programs that provide seniors with free medication. Some of these programs are run by states and can be found on the National Council on Aging website.
Many local municipalities have free public transportation waivers for senior citizens. Your local AAA or government offices can let you know what is available in your community.
Some cities and counties even offer free transportation services specifically for seniors, such as RideATA in Pennsylvania and AGIS in multiple states. Churches and local community organizations may also offer free car services run by volunteers who can take you on shopping trips, doctor appointments, and even entertainment.
The Lifeline program, funded by the Federal Communications Commission, provides low-cost and free cell phone or landline services for low-income seniors. The program is available through various phone service providers, such as QLink and AT&T, and options will vary.
Some providers include a free phone while others do not so it’s best to shop around. Likewise, many local cable companies offer free internet service for the elderly. Some of these include Comcast, Cox, and AT&T. These services may be discounted or completely free for seniors, so you’ll need to call and research the best options in your service area.
Free home care can be provided to the elderly. This can be an option of going to a nursing home or assisted living facility. The PACE program is for lower-income seniors on Medicare and/or Medicaid, and it pays for some or all of the care they need in their own homes or apartments. It provides the assistance that allows senior citizens or retirees to continue to be independent.
Senior Centers operate in many towns, cities, and counties. Various resources and programs are administered from the locations. For example, they can provide free and low-cost health screenings. Examples may include checks and health care for issues such as vision testing, blood pressure, cholesterol, thyroid, depression, glucose (for diabetes), hearing, stroke, osteoporosis, foot and screenings for several types of cancer.
Additionally, pharmacists often offer their time and services at the centers. They will frequently provide consultations to discuss affordable prescription medications, nutritionists will assist with a personal nutrition plan, and nurses provide individual guidance and discuss specific health concerns. Flu or pneumonia shots are often given during the fall months to keep seniors well. Also, health education seminars and disease prevention are offered throughout the year.
Not only can medical needs be met, but Senior Centers also offer other services. This can include a place for people to stop by to get a meal or pick up an emergency food box or lunch. It is a place to go for social activities and companionship. Also, many centers will hold workshops and provide seminars on issues such as low-cost housing, medical bill programs like Medicare, and budgeting classes.
Lions Clubs International provides free eyeglasses, exams, and glaucoma screenings for seniors. While specific services will vary depending on your local Lions Club, this is a great option for seniors to check out if they are in need of eye care.
Depending on your eligibility status and need, many agencies provide assistance each tax season. A community center or senior center would be the best place to look for information. Tax Counseling for the Elderly provides free preparation services for seniors. You can find a TCE office near you by calling 800-906-9887 or on the AARP website.
These programs are normally sponsored by local charities, the government and/or the AARP Foundation as well as Aging and Adults. Services will often include money management advice to help low-income senior citizens and adults with physical disabilities that have difficulty paying routine bills, budgeting and keeping track of financial matters and credit card bills.
The goal of this resource is to also promote independent living for individuals and senior citizens. It is targeted at those who are at risk of losing their independence due to inability to pay their bills on time and in general manage their financial affairs.
The program uses a combination of credit counselors and volunteers to assist individuals who may not have relatives or friends who are willing to help. There are even government benefit programs for the elderly.
Sadly, many older Americans are the targets of scams or fraud, even when it comes to medical bills, health care, and prescriptions. A free service known as Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) was created by a group of specialists.
It can help individuals detect billing errors and fraud, even when it comes to Medicare. Most of the counselors operate out of agency on agency offices in towns and cities across the nation. Another great source of financial assistance is the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program which provides financial assistance for seniors with disabilities.
This article has contained a lot of information, and it is quite possible that you are not sure where to start. Below we have listed the Department of Aging websites for each state. If you don’t know where to start, these links are a great first step.
It’s no secret that aging can be difficult. Luckily there are a ton of resources available for seniors and elderly people to get free stuff. The barrier often has to do with a lack of information, and we sincerely hope that this article has helped to bridge that gap.