Beth Herold, RN, BSN, MBA
Enriching the lives of older consumers and their families since 1984.
The Butler County Area Agency on Aging is a community Service Agency for older Adults that has operated in Butler County since 1984. Its mission is to provide support to Butler County residents ages 60 years and older, and their families, and to help seniors remain independent in the most appropriate setting - ideally, their own homes. Support from the Area Agency on Aging comes in the form of services, programs or information, either provided directly by the agency or subcontracted through various community agencies.
Funding for the agency is provided by the Pennsylvania State Lottery, Federal Older Americans Act and County of Butler, as well as through service fees and private donations by seniors and their families. Governed by the Older Americans Act of 1965 (reauthorized in 2011) and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, the Butler County Area Agency on Aging is one of 52 Area Agencies on Aging statewide. Its programs and services are designed to serve approximately 28,000 older adults who call Butler County Home.
The agency operates nine Senior Centers where active and vital older adults enjoy a full range of programs and activities, including health programs, lecture series, supper clubs, trips and traditional crafts and games. Eligible older adults who are experiencing health or frailty challenges that essentially make them homebound may be provided a range of in-home services that are geared to their specific needs - from light housekeeping to intensive health monitoring services. In-home services require an assessment in your home by a caseworker to determine your eligibility.
PA Department of Aging Waiver Program:
Services offered by this program are available free of charge to eligible older adults. Aging Waiver services are provided through a network of providers who have enrolled and been qualified by the Department of Human Services and the PA Department of Aging.
Aging Waiver is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Office of Long Term Living and provided statewide by local Area Agencies on Aging. It offers a flexiable personalized program of support and services to individuals in their own homes.
Services may include:
Medical supplies and equipment
Adult day services
Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)
Transportation to medical appointments (MATP)
Aging Waiver eligibility requirements:
Age 60 or older
Determined to be medically eligible for nursing facility level of care
Meet financial guidelines subject to DHS regulations
Choose to receive services at the home or other community settings
Require individualized support and services
How does the program work?
Each Aging Waiver participant will have the support and assistance of a service coordinator. Service Coordination is provided by a provider agency based on the participants choice.
Service coordinators can:
Regularly assess particpants' needs
Assist with developing a comprehensive plan of care
Assist with putting together an individualized back-up plan to assure safety during all types of emergencies
Provide choices for what service is provided, when the service is provided, and who provides it
Coordinate all available service possibilities, including Aging Waiver services, community services, and familly supports
Guide participants through challeneges that might limit their independence
Options Services are provided by established and experienced providers who have entered into a contract with the County of Butler through the Area Agency on Aging. The Agency has contracts with multiple providers for each Options Service, and seniors can select a contracted provider for each service for which they are eligible. Options is funded by the Pennsylvania State Lottery and Older Americans Act, as well as through fees and donations. Eligible older adults may have a cost-share fee ranging from zero to 100% of the cost of services. This fee is determined by a sliding scale based on income less eligible deductions.
The goal of the Options program is to give choices to consumers in need. The program provides a comprehensive assessment administered by the Area Agency on Aging staff. Appropriate additional information is obtained from the individual's primary care physician. The assessment information is reviewed, and care alternatitives are indentified and discussed with the consumer. A core plan is developed based on the individual's needs and choices.
Individuals who receive these services are age 60 or older and experiencing some degree of frailty in their physical or mental health. They range in functional need from being clinically eligible for services in a nursing facility to just needing basic personal care services such as assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming.
The Options program's broad range of home and community based services but is not limited to:
Adult day services
Emergency Response systems
Home modifications/assistive devices
Shopping, laundry and light housekeeping
Must be age 60 or older;
Require assistance with daily activities such as bathing, grooming, light house keeping, meals or laundry
With the exception of services funded through Medicaid, there is no financial eligibility requirement of these services; however, a co-pay may be required. Verification of income and assets is also necessary
Individuals contribute to the cost of services based on their total monthly income, and that of the spouse who lives in the same household, if married
Information and Referral:
This is your first point of contact for accessing information and services through the Butler County Area Agency on Aging. The information and referral program is a free and confidential phone service that connects individuals to services in Butler County. Specialists can also help you complete applications for benefit programs such as PACE/PACENET, LIHEAP, Property Tax/Rent Rebate, Medicare Savings Programs and more.
The first step in determining the appropriateness of these programs in relation to your needs is to have an assessment. There are two types of assessments: one for in-home services and another for placement in a nursing facility or personal care/dom care home. An assessment for in-home services is completed on all new referrals, as well as re-evaluations on existing cases. A care manager evaluates the person's unique needs and determines eligibility for appropriate services to meet those needs. Following the assessment, an individual care plan is developed with linkage to home-based community services.
A comprehensive assessment may also determine the appropriate clinical level of care for those seeking medical assistance funding for nursing home care or state subsidy for personal care or dom care. Nursing home assessments also include screening for mental illness, intellectual disability, and other related conditions to determine a need for specialized services. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is responsible for determining financial eligibility.
Apprise Health Insurance Counseling:
This counseling program assists Medicare beneficaries who have questions about their Medicare health insurance and prescription drug benefits. A fully-trained and unbiased Apprise Counselor is available to help you sort through the Medicare options to best fit your needs. For more information on Apprise, see Apprise attachment under Resources and Links.
Family Caregiver Support Programs:
The Family Caregiver Support Program and Grandparent Program provide services to meet the needs of family caregivers. The program may reimburse consumers and/or caregivers for expenses, such as medical supplies or respoute care to provide the caregiver a break. Reimbursement is provided on a cost-sharing basis determined through a sliding fee scale. For more information on the Family Caregiver Support and Grandparent Program, see Family Caregiver Support Program, and/or Grandparent Program attachment under Resources and Links.
Home Delivered Meals:
The Butler County Area Agency on Aging has a Home Delivered Meal Program for county residents ag 60 and older who are strictly homebound. In the event that individuals cannot be serviced by the local Meals on Wheels Program, (no open slots, too far for delivery, or too expensive), they may be assessed for the Home Delivered Meals Program. Payment for Home Delivered Meals is on a donation basis. For more information on in-home meal programs in Butler County, see In-Home Meals attachment under Resources and Links.
Home Safe Home provides renovations and safety changes to an individual's home so that it is accessible and safe. Stair lifts, access ramps, and bathroom grab bars are examples of the types of renovations available. Eligibility determined by in-home assessment. Your home or apartment may be owned or rented. A co-pay may apply.
Health Promotional Programs:
Community based programs that promote and offer instruction on having a healthy lifestyle are offered at county senior centers, often in partnership with local health and wellness professionals, including a partnership with the Butler YMCA. Programs include Silver Sneakers, Yoga, Functional Walk, and Strength and Conditioning exercise classes, as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Aging's Evidence Based fall prevention program, Healthy Steps for Older Adults.
Legal assistance is available to older adults, including preparing a will or rewriting an existing will, creating advance directives, designating a power or attorney, assisting in settling landlord/tenant disputes or other housing issues, gaurdianship issues (one time consult), protection against civil rights violations, such as age discrimination issues, intervention with public benefit offices, evaluation of a legal concern and advise on consumer rights (one time consult).
Simple notary services are available during regular business hours and by appointment.
Nursing Home Transtion:
Nursing Home Transition is a program designed to assist individuals returning home to the community from a Nursing Facility. The individual must have a barrier to overcome in order to access Nursing Home Transition services.
Call on an Ombudsman to help you sort through issues concerning patient rights in long-term care facilities. The ombudsman investigates and resolves consumer complaints made by or on behalf of residents in nursing homes, personal care homes, boarding homes and dom care homes and other long-term care services. Complaints may include any issue that affects the health, safety, welfare and rights of a resident. Staff and volunteers also perform visits to area facilities and train staff, residents and community residents about residents' rights. For more information on the Ombudsman Program, see Ombudsman Program attachment under Resources and Links.
Protective Services responds to reports of suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment, inappropriate relocation and emergency/crisis situations. A care manager will complete a report of need and, if approved, will conduct an investigation and provide any necessary intervention. Abuse of older adults extends beyond physical abuse. The Protective Services staff investigates and assists older adults who may be intimidated, financially exploited, neglected by a caregiver and/or neglecting themselves. For more information on Protective Services, see Protective Services attachment under Resources and Links.
Public Benefit Programs:
The Butler County Area Agency on Aging offers programs in the community for older adults, including the Farmer's Market Nutrition Voucher Program (June - September), and influenza vaccination clinics (September - October)
Seniors Access to Information:
The Butler Area Agency on Aging helps keep seniors informed about events, activities and important news happening throughout Butler County. Media outlets include the Butler County Senior News - newspaper, The Senior Voice and Senior News radio program on WISR 680 AM, various public speaking engagements offered throughout the year, on Facebook at the Butler County Area Agency on Aging, and via Twitter @Butler_Aging
The Butler Area Agency on Aging operates nine senior centers throughout the county, under a management contract with The Nutrition Group. Once just a place to get a good meal, today's seniro centers have evolved into social hubs with educational and health programs to keep the active older adult just that - active! Senior center activities are geared to the social, intellectual, cultural, economical, emotional and physical needs and interests of adults age 60 and older. In addition, the centers offer helpful information about benefits available to Butler County seniors and a link to Area Agency on Aging resources and programs. For a complete listing of Senior Centers in Butler County, see Senior Centers attachment under Resources and Links
Older Adults who can no longer drive or choose to no longer drive may obtain low-cost transportation services through Butler Area Rural Transit (BART). BART is the County's shared ride system for older adults. Applications can be submitted by contacting the Area Agency on Aging directly.
Many senior center members volunteer for center activities and community sevrices. Additonally the Area Agency on Aging welcomes volunteers for the Ombudsman and Apprise Programs. Trainings for volunteer programs is provided by the PA Department of Aging.
Adult Day Programs
Connect to Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped HERE.
To Request Services or Additional Information:
Toll-free: 1-888-FOR-AGE-INFO (1-888-367-2434)
Call during regular office hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Calls made after working hours and on weekends will be recorded and answered as soon as possible. Please be sure to leave your complete name and telephone number for a return call.
Reports of elderly abuse can be made (anonymously, if necessary) 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling:
Elderly Abuse Report Line: 724-283-6955
Collect calls are accepted and all reports are investigated by a trained caseworker.