Helping Seniors Stay At Home: Community MassHealth
Updated: Oct 22
Most seniors wish to stay in their own home as long as they possibly can. For some, it isn't safe for them to stay at home without assistance. Hiring private home care aides to help can be very expensive and many seniors cannot afford to pay for this care.
In Massachusetts, MassHealth (also called Medicaid) offers a variety of programs to help frail seniors continue living in the community, rather than in nursing homes. With proper guidance, you may be surprised to find that you or your spouse may be able to get the care needed to stay at home.
In order to qualify for Community MassHealth programs, you must meet certain medical and financial criteria.
Most seniors that need help with one or more activities of daily living, will meet the medical criteria to qualify for MassHealth programs. Examples of activities of daily living include the following:
Bathing and Grooming.
Dressing and Undressing.
Meal Preparation and Feeding.
Safe Restroom Use and Maintaining Continence.
Memory Care and Stimulation (Alzheimer's and Dementia)
In order to meet the financial criteria to qualify for Community MassHealth programs, the person in need of the care must have income of $2,349 per month, or less. However, in cases where you need significant care, you may be able to qualify for help even if your income is over this limit. In 2020, the asset limit for an individual to qualify for Community MassHealth programs is $2,000 or less. If you are married your spouse living at home is limited to $128,640. Even if your assets exceed this amount, our attorneys may be able to devise a plan to help you reduce your assets within the rules. This allows you to protect your assets so that they are preserved to the greatest extent possible. We have helped many clients who never thought that they would be able to qualify, take the steps necessary to afford the care they need to continue living at home.
Description of Community MassHealth Programs:
Here are three programs available to individuals that qualify for Community MassHealth:
Frail Elder Waiver Program:
This program provides services for frail elders that may include personal care services. house-keeping and chore services, laundry, home health aide, skilled nursing, companion services, supportive day program, delivered meals, grocery shopping, transportation, wander response system, respite care, environmental accessibility adaptation, and transitional assistance. This program may provide up to 42-hours of service per week.
Community Choices Program:
The Community Choices Program is a special program for frail elder waiver members who are at risk of entering a nursing facility unless they get extra help at home. Case managers develop service plans, arrange for services, and monitor progress.
PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly)
The PACE program provides comprehensive care to help elders remain living in the Community. They have a day program and provide transportation each day. You must switch your primary medical providers to the PACE program. The medical staff is on site at the day program. This can be a very helpful program that provides help both at a day program and at home. In some instances, PACE can also help pay for care in an assisted living facility.