Tag Archive | "elderly care"

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More Seniors May Get Help with Rent Rebates


Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  More seniors may now get help to pay their rent.

That’s because on Monday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and  Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, state Department of Aging Commissioner Edith Prague and other state and local officials announced a proposed increase of about $6.5 million to expand Connecticut’s Elderly Renters’ Rebate Program. He will include this proposal among the many already proposed for the upcoming General Assembly session, which begins on Feb. 5.

Connecticut has a large aging population. And it’s growing. So Malloy said his decision is a strategic one design to alleviate the growing demand for affordable senior housing and support services. Additionally, it is a response to legislation in the General Assembly  that  closed the Elderly Renters’ Rebate Program to any new applicants as of April 1, 2013 or previous applicants who did not receive a grant for calendar year 2011.

This proposal would re-open the program to new applicants, allowing an additional 12,700 senior citizens to apply for the rebate.

“We know that the demand for programs that serve our seniors will increase dramatically in the coming years and I am committed to preparing the state to meet this demand,” Commissioner Prague said.  “The Rebate Program helps some of our most vulnerable citizens – lower income elderly and disabled persons who rent.  This expansion will help so many more senior citizens live with dignity and independence.”

Already, the state’s Elderly Renter’s Rebate program has about 40,000 residents.  This expansion, which amounts to an increase of more than 30 percent, will help thousands of additional senior citizens stay in their communities, officials said.

In existence since 1974, the Elderly Renters’ Rebate Program provides direct, partial reimbursement to lower income elderly or 100 percent disabled renters to help offset a portion of their rent and utility expenses.  The program, administered by the Office of Policy and Management, provides for payments ranging from $50 to $900 for qualifying married persons, and $50 to $700 for qualifying single persons.

The rebate amount is based on a graduated income scale and the amount of rent and utility payments (excluding telephone) made in the calendar year prior to the year in which the renter applies. In order to qualify, married persons must have an annual income not greater than $41,600, and single persons must have an annual income not greater than $34,100.

“Being able to stay in their own home is an enormous priority for so many of our seniors,” said Wyman.  “This program has a direct impact on the quality of life not only for them, but for entire families, and I am proud that our administration is taking steps to reinvigorate it.”

 

 

Eligible persons may apply between April 1 and October 1 each year at either their town Assessor’s Office or social service agency, depending on the town.  Questions about the program and payments should be directed to the Renter’s Rebate Hotline at 860-418-6377.

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Time to Solve a Cold Case and Beef Up Emergency System for Elderly Residents


Updated October 9, 2012, 9:44. a.m.

By Ann-Marie Adams — Op-Ed

On a crisp October night four years ago today, my mother dialed 911. She had a heart attack. So she picked up her small, pink phone and dialed the three digits necessary to signal for help and possibly save her life.

A Hartford police dispatcher reportedly received the call at 8: 25 p.m. But my mother’s phone showed she had to dial again at about 8:45 p.m.

At about 8:55 p.m., a dispatcher called my mother’s phone and sent an officer to the scene at Sands Apartment on Main Street. Supposedly, the officer was dispatched to the scene to ensure that the door to my mother’s apartment was closed after the Emergency Medical Service ambulance rushed her to St. Francis Hospital. EMS took over from the fire department crew that arrived four minutes after her initial call, according to reports. Between the HPD, the Fire Department, EMS and the Sands’ Management team, something precious was lost: her voice.

And what happened in room 713 on the seventh floor of the Sands Apartment building still remains a mystery. However, a bloodied T-shirt, specks of blood on the floor of a patient suffering from a supposed heart attack and was being treated by first responders cannot be ignored. But here’s what is not a mystery: my mother and best friend died that night.

My mother is not the only victim of the allegedly crude and uncaring behavior from city workers: the Hartford Police Department, the Fire Department, the EMS that serves North Hartford, or the Meriden-based Carabetta Management, now under a FBI investigation, that manages apartment building. All seemingly colluded to silence forever a fiercely independent, 69-year-old woman who relished her life.

A faithful believer in the Nutmeg Big Brothers/Big Sisters’ Foster Grandparent Program, my mother had perfect attendance at her job, which included providing personal guidance to at-risk children in the North End. She was such a dedicated and gentle volunteer, she received recognition from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation for civic engagement because she was “demonstrating the best of the American spirit.” She hung her certificate on her wall of many achievements, next to a framed picture of me–another special accomplishment.

At 69, circumstantial evidence showed she had at least another decade ahead of her. Yet, she died while waiting for help. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances of her health and life was. The fact remains the same. City residents pay into these services with hope that when they need medical attention, there will be a quick response with care.

The city’s medical emergency system, in this case, failed. And there’s evidence of this fact all around us.

Earlier this year, Mayor Pedro Segarra, Chief Edward Casares and the Commission on Aging implemented the Hartford-Are-You-OK Program, a free computerized telephone reassurance service designed for citizens 65 years and older. The program is already in 45 states and provides a daily call to those who live alone. The program was in memory of Roberta L. Jones, a lifelong resident of Hartford and the first African American State Marshal. Jones died in August. She was 68. Unlike my mother, Jones died at 68 surrounded by her family.

My family feels robbed of that opportunity Jones and her family had. And that was always my fear of mine when my mother decided to live in the city.

In Hartford, its unclear how many of the 11,825 people 65 and older live alone like my mother. But the program is a welcome service for the the 40 million U.S. residents over 65.

My family and I hope that for the sake of those residents in Hartford, there is a stronger emergency system in place to support the ‘Are You OK’ program for the elderly. Their golden life should not end because of people who lack empathy. It’s now time to turn a slogan (Hartford Cares) into reality by solving this mystery.

My mother’s death, and that of others that go unreported in Hartford, should not be in vain. She gave to the city. Now, it’s time for the city to give her family what she deserved: answers.

Until then, I will be her voice.

Editor’s Note: The author decided to leave her mother’s name out of this article. However, details are mentioned to help authorities identify the victim.

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‘Healthy Hartford’ Focuses on Seniors


 In an effort to increase the availability of health-related information for seniors, Hartford’s Senior Services Division will continue its Healthy Hartford program this month.

The  wellness campaign begins July 22  from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the NEAT Marketplace at 33 Coventry Street.  

“By reaching out to Hartford seniors, the Healthy Hartford campaign aims to give them the tools they need to lead a healthy, productive, and longer life,” said Carlos Rivera, director of the Hartford Department of Health and Human Services.

The NEAT Marketplace is a program of Oak Hill, anonprofit provider of services for people with disabilities in Connecticut. 

The event will focus specifically on seniors and it will include lunch, door prizes, free health screenings, brain games, exercise and tai-chi classes, oral health education, free mammograms, screenings for benefits, etc.

The goal of this campaign is to increase the availability of health-related information designed to influence the choices that Hartford seniors make in their daily lives.  Highlighted themes include physical activity, disease prevention and management of resources.

Free transportation will be available for seniors who want to attend and need assistance to get to the event.  To secure transportation, participants must call (860) 724-5340 at least one day ahead.

For more information, please contact Iris Nieves-Cross with the City’s Department of Health and Human Services at (860) 547-1426 ext: 7426 or go to www.hartford.gov

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State Delays Launch of New Agency


HARTFORD — The elderly will have to wait a bit longer for a state agency dedicated to their needs.

Gov.  Jodi Rell  announced that she has reached agreement with state Senator Edith Prague – the leading proponent of establishing a new state Department on Aging – to push back the launch date of the new agency from July 1 of this year to July 1, 2010.

The delay will allow more time for a smooth transition of programs currently operated by the Department of Social Services over to the new agency, according to the press release. It also avoids any expenses associated with the transition during the first year of the next two-year state budget.

“Connecticut’s growing population of senior citizens makes clear the need for an effective, flexible state agency that will provide the services and programs they deserve,”  Rell said. “We want to make sure that agency is established properly from the start.”

“When the state decided years ago to make the then-independent Department on Aging a part of DSS, I believed it was the right decision for the time,” the Governor said. “I also believe it is the right thing to do now to make the agency a separate office again. There are over 473,000 people age 65 or older in Connecticut now.

Nationwide, people age 65 and older will make up 20 percent of the population by 2030. This is a large and growing need we must address. We will do that by re-establishing our Department on Aging in a smart, customer-focused way.”

Sen. Prague added, “Our plan to breathe life into my long-standing vision for a new Department on Aging is the responsible thing to do for Connecticut’s growing number of senior citizens, and I’m grateful to the Governor for her steadfast support. Postponing its launch until next summer is also a responsible step, given our state’s precarious budget circumstance. I’ll eagerly look forward to that date, when a dedicated state agency and cabinet-level commissioner will be on-the-job to help seniors with all the challenges they face.”

Once the Department on Aging is fully operational, it will take responsibility for the existing network of services, regional administration and funding allocated under the Older Americans Act. Other programs the new agency will manage include CHOICES, Connecticut’s program for health insurance assistance, outreach, information and referral, counseling and eligibility screening; the Alzheimer Respite Care Program; nutritional programs for needy elderly persons; and the Long Term Care Ombudsman program, which investigates and resolves the complaints and concerns of long term care residents.

Other programs, such as ConnPACE, the state prescription drug assistance program, will remain under the purview of DSS but the two agencies will coordinate outreach and other efforts.

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