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Program FAQ

What is the OPTIONS Program?
OPTIONS is an array of community-based long-term care provided locally by Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) for the purpose of helping consumers function at the optimal level while remaining in the most appropriate setting, preferably their own home.

This is accomplished through an extensive assessment of the applicant’s condition and circumstance. The assessment determines eligibility, appropriateness, and – if all service slots are filled – the order of the applicant on a waiting list. Once this is completed the care manager, in conjunction with the consumer, matches the identified needs with the appropriate services.

Examples of services which can be obtained are: home health, personal care, home support, medical equipment/supplies and adaptive devices, respite care, counseling, etc.

Can I get financial help from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) to care for my loved one at home?

Yes, through the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s Family Caregiver Support Program. Based on household income and size, an eligible family caregiver can be reimbursed up to $200 per month for expenses incurred purchasing care-giving related supplies, goods and services.

A caregiver may also be eligible for up to $2000 to make home modifications and purchase expensive assistive devices. For further information call your local Area Agency on Aging.

Am I eligible for AAA services?

Eligible individuals include those who are age 60 and older.

How do I apply for PDA long term care services?

Call your local Area Agency on Aging.

Do I have to pay for AAA services?

There is often no fee for AAA services. All third-party payers such as Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance are accessed before AAA funds are used. Also some AAA’s use a sliding fee scale for certain services. Call your local Area Agencies on Aging for more information.

What services can I get at an AAA?

Home support, home health, personal care, day care, counseling, protective services, home delivered meals, transportation services and respite care among others.

Why do I have to go through that long assessment answering all those questions when all I need is a little help with my bath?

The assessment process allows the caseworker to evaluate all your needs and gives the opportunity for you to learn of all AAA available services, not just the particular service you are requesting.

Why do I have to go to a nursing home? I’d rather be taken care of at home.

Even if you are medically eligible for nursing home care, you can be taken care of at home with AAA services if a mutually agreed upon care plan can be worked out and activated.

What if I disagree with decisions for my care made by the AAA workers?

The caseworker will review the care plan with you before it is acted on. If you disagree with decisions made and/or services to be provided, you must let the caseworker know. If a resolution cannot be reached after discussion, you may file an appeal. The caseworker should inform you about the appeal process and how to go about filing. If this does not happen, you need to call your local Area Agencies on Aging for more information.

Can the AAA supply me with incontinence pads?

Yes, medical equipment and/or supplies can be provided by the AAA as part of the care plan for any condition or illness that warrants it. This assumes, of course, that all third party payers have first been accessed.

Can I just get someone to come in and help clean up and get meals?

It’s possible, but the full assessment will first be done to see if there are any other services you might need or want. You have the right to approve and agree or disagree with any and all services outlined on your prospective care plan.

Can’t the AAA just provide care and services without doing an assessment since I already know what I need?

A full assessment is done on everyone requesting AAA services unless the request is for home delivered meals only or transportation only, when an abbreviated assessment may be done at the discretion of the AAA. The full assessment provides the opportunity for individuals to be fully evaluated as to recognized and unrecognized service needs.