What can be said about the great state of Pennsylvania?
One of the original thirteen American
colonies, the state holds a wealth of information about the state itself and that of the United
States – the iconic Liberty Bell resides in Philadelphia, while several famous people have come
from the state, such as Robert Morris, Thomas Paine, and of course Benjamin Franklin.
Pennsylvania has one of the largest populations of elderly and with such a large population, the
state has done a lot to address the needs of those individuals who may need help. There are
several different options that residents can take when the time comes to look into assisted living
facilities, including that of the Aging Waiver Program, the Living Independence for the Elderly,
and other Medicaid waivers.
Aging Waiver Program
The aging waiver program provides a long term living solution for older residents of
Pennsylvania who would like to stay in their own homes or communities, instead of having to go
into a nursing home. The program has the support of the Area of Agency on Aging department,
along with staff that regularly assess needs, helps develop appropriate plan of care, assists
in selecting medical assistance programs with approved services and providers, as well as
monitoring those services.
The waiver allows for various services to be conducted within the home, offering a variety of
home health and personal care services, many of which the individual can chose from. Home
health and personal care services include home support, attendant and respite care, adult day
care, transportation, modifications on the home, specialized medical equipment and supplies,
any type of counseling, and others.
To be eligible for the waiver, individuals need to be residents of Pennsylvania, be at least
sixty years of age, be clinically and financially eligible for the services, meets the financial
requirements, as well as agreeing to the requirements and the responsibilities set by the
Living Independence for the Elderly
The living independence for the elderly or LIFE is an another option that also allows for
individuals to live independently on their own, but still receive services and support that meet
the needs of the individuals. The program is managed and provides a comprehensive all
inclusive package of both medical and supportive services and is nationally known as PACE –
the Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly.
The LIFE program provides services such as adult day health care, audiology, dental,
emergency, end of life services, in home supportive, lab and x-ray services, meals, nursing
care, and many more. To be eligible for LIFE, individuals must be fifty-five or older, meet the
level for skilled nursing or special rehabilitation facilities, meet the financial requirements, and
reside in an area that LIFE services.
For individuals who have been resting in a nursing home and would like to move back to their
own residence, there’s the Nursing Home Transition or NHT program. The program also helps
to rebalance long term living facilities so that individuals have the choice of where they would
like to live and receive services; the program also provides the opportunity to fully inform
individuals, their families, or their caregivers in regards to long term living options, home and
community based services, and providing that information.
The NHT looks to help states like Pennsylvania to enhance the opportunities for individuals
to choose the area and residence of their choice, empowering individuals to be involved
in possible planning and directing their transition from a nursing home to that of their own
Additional Medicaid Waivers
While the Aging Waiver, LIFE, and NHT programs are choice for those looking for assistance,
but there are several other different waivers that can be chosen, such as the OBRA, the
Independence, and COMMCARE waiver. All three service those individuals who have some
form of disability and to be eligible, individuals must have income or resources that are within
the limits of Medicaid, have a disability that is likely to continue throughout life, and be a resident
The OBRA waiver is a program for those with developmental physical disabilities that require
intermediate care, with injuries that have resulted in substantial functional limits in three or more
life activities, such as self-care, communication, learning, mobility, and more.
The Independence waiver is for adults with severe physical disabilities, which help individuals
continue to live in their communities and remain independent.
The COMMCARE waiver is for those individuals who have suffered from traumatic brain injuries
and help those individuals remain as independent as possible within the community.
Each waiver, while directed to residents of Pennsylvania, does have certain restrictions within
its own program, including being of a certain age – above the age of eighteen – cannot have
mental retardation, have a major mental disorder, and must be eligible for a nursing facility,
special rehabilitation, or intermediate care facility.
Pennsylvania not only has a large elderly population, but also strives to provide the services
in order to take care of them, while also helping to give that information to individuals and their
families. If you’re a resident of the state, look into several or all of the programs listed here to
see which work for your loved one or yourself.
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Pennsylvania’s Aging & Medicaid Waivers
Pennsylvania Dept of Aging
2014 by Regina
- Article by Regina
Woodard exclusively for Assisted Living Directory