The LIFE program is an amazing way to keep people out of skilled nursing facilities, and in their homes. The LIFE program is great for seniors who need some type of long term care, but are still able to stay at home. I was recently joined on my radio show by Emily Stumpner of LIFE Butler County who shared what the LIFE program offers. LIFE stands for Living Independence For the Elderly.
Emily is the Community Outreach Marketing Manager for the LIFE program. She visits people in their homes, who are potentially in need of some form of long term care, or who may be needing it at a later stage. She talks to them about the LIFE program, and explains how she can help these seniors become eligible for the LIFE services.
What the LIFE Program Offers
The LIFE program is my preferred program to get people into, and I have often helped families get into the LIFE program. It has kept them at home for years after their need for this type of care, where the only other alternative would be a nursing home. There are three main components of the LIFE program. The first is that LIFE becomes your medical provider, and second is the adult day center that is available. The third component is the home care services that LIFE provides.
In terms of medical care, the clinic is held at the LIFE center and the primary care physician as well as eye doctors, dentists and other healthcare providers who are available to assist participants. In addition, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy are all provided at the centre. The LIFE program also provides transportation to and from the centre, for any medical appointments, as well as for the participants spending time at the day centre.
The Day Centre
The adult day center is open Monday to Friday from 8:30am – 5pm. If the LIFE team transports the participant to the day center, they will arrive at 9am. They are provided with a continental breakfast, a hot lunch and a snack. Healthcare services are provided as needed, including physical therapy or any other medical treatment. If it is not safe for the senior to bathe at home, they can do so with assistance while at the center. There are many activities provided for participants, including live entertainment, bingo, crafts, baking and more. There are also one-on-one activities available, and this interaction is so important for the participants.
Home Care Services
Each participant also has an individual care plan that is determined by the LIFE team, including nine interdisciplinary team members who decide what the participant needs. This team partners with family and friends to provide care at the participant’s home. The team can assist the participant with bathing, dressing and grooming, while also offering basic housekeeping and laundry services. They can also assist with shopping and preparing meals. The LIFE team determines what type of assistance is needed and provides the required services.
Essentially, for the participant of the LIFE program, it is like going to the nursing home for the day. Both the participant and the caregiver benefit, particularly in the case of married couples. The caregiver is able to take a break, since caregiving can be exhausting. They may even have their own health problems as a result of being a caregiver. This break allows them to tend to their own health needs, visit the grandkids or friends, and even get to the store without worrying about the safety of the spouse at home. Living with and caring for somebody who needs care, can be overwhelming. However, being able to stay in their home is what is important to most senior couples. This is why the LIFE program is so great.
What if my Spouse needs a Nursing Home?
Of course, it may happen that a senior has a stroke or similar health concern, and needs to go to a nursing home. The LIFE team may recommend that with the sudden change in your loved ones health, placement in a nursing home is essential. Since you’re probably already on Medicaid, the team can transition your loved one to a nursing home to get the care they need. This can be done without having to qualify for Medicaid again since you are already eligible for the LIFE program.
The eligibility criteria is that you must be 55 years or older, and to attend the Butler LIFE program, you must live in Butler County. The next step is that you be assessed medically by the Area Agency on Aging. You can rest assured that the LIFE team will assist you with this process. Lastly, we look at financial eligibility which is similar to the financial eligibility rules with nursing homes. You need to meet the asset and income limitation requirements. If you are financially overqualified, you need to work with us or another elder law attorney who can advise you. It takes about four to six weeks to enroll an individual in the LIFE program. The enrollments are only done at the beginning of each month.
Where You Can Enrol for LIFE
There is a LIFE Program in every county and they all work together, so there’s no competition. Allegheny County has three or four locations where they have day centers. Most of the other counties only have one center. It is based on where you live, which determines which LIFE program you’re eligible for. If you don’t live in Butler County, Emily and her team can help you to find the appropriate LIFE program. Call them at 724-287-5433 at LIFE Butler County. If you are interested or somebody in your family may need this care, visit the website and watch the videos. You can get a real feel for what goes on there.
If you need the assistance of an elder law attorney, call the Sechler Law Firm at 724 546 4227 or visit sechlerlawfirm.com