Division of Aging & Adult Services
With the population of Mississippi living longer and longer each year, specialized services for persons over 60 become increasingly important. The Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services is dedicated to keeping pace with the needs of the state's older citizens and to improving their quality of life.One of every six adults in Mississippi is over 60. In this population segment, about 79 percent own the homes in which they live. Their independence does not separate them far from their families, for more than two-thirds of this older generation live within 25 miles of relatives. As their numbers continue to grow, so does the need for providing specialized services for older adults.
How Services are Provided - for the most part, the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services coordinates the delivery of services available to adults 60 years of age and older. Our programs work to assure quality of life and continued independence for the state's older citizens.
Transportation - continued independence of older adults in the state is facilitated by transportation services offered in their communities. Nearly 300 vehicles (from vans to mini-buses) take older adults where they want to go, whether to dental and medical appointments, shopping areas, senior centers, recreational areas, food stamp offices, social security offices or educational facilities. Transportation is provided by local civic or community groups and Area Agencies on Aging in coordination with programs funded by the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
Information, Assistance, Outreach and Local Focal Points - knowing where to turn for help is the first step toward getting it. That first step is made easier through information, assistance, outreach and local focal points designated by the Division of Aging and Adult Services or Area Agencies on Aging. These points for information and assistance usually are the Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers, adult day care centers, or community action agencies. They link older adults to needed services and follow up as necessary to ensure that needs are met. Visit www.AoA.gov.
Services For The Frail Elderly
Case Management - The frail elderly need special assistance to remain independent as long as possible. They receive it through case management - the planning, arrangement and coordination of appropriate community- based services. A network of public services is established, along with an informal support system of family members, friends, neighbors, churches, civic clubs and concerned citizens. Case managers identify the needs of frail elderly adults through a comprehensive assessment completed in the homes of clients. The assessment is followed by the development of a care plan, with the input of family members. The case manager arranges for appropriate services and does ongoing monitoring and adjustment to ensure proper care.
In-Home Services - Many older adults get the help they need to stay in their homes through the In-Home Services Program. The Homemaker program gives older citizens the option of having homemakers perform the housekeeping tasks they can no longer do or need assistance in doing. Homemakers perform routine household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, mending, grocery shopping, laundry, consumer education, bathing, dressing, safety education and oral hygiene assistance. The amount of time spent in homes depends on the needs of the older adult and the availability of the homemaker service. This service is provided at no cost to the older person, although contributions are solicited to help expand the availability of the service. Home-delivered meals provide basic nutrition for the frail homebound elderly. In some areas home health and respite care are also provided in the home.
Adult Day Care - Adult day care centers specialize in supervised care for functionally impaired elderly adults. Their programs focus on health maintenance, prevention/intervention and rehabilitation needs of older adults capable of only limited self-care. The centers care for adults four or more hours a day while their family members work or enjoy a respite from their role as caretaker. Center services are individualized, based on a systematic evaluation of each person's needs and strengths. Care is guided by an individual plan which outlines long and short term goals. The plan is reviewed periodically with family members for refinement and adjustment.
Ombudsman Program - The Ombudsman Program provides... A Voice for Residents. The ombudsman serves as a resident advocate and supports residents' highest possible quality of life and care and is responsible for investigating, and attempting to resolve concerns and complaints and by, or on behalf of, residents of long-term care facilities. Additional ombudsman services include answering questions and providing information and referral about long-term care residents; coordinating efforts with other agencies and organizations concerned with long-term care, while respecting the privacy and confidentiality of residents.Ten (10) local ombudsman programs are located throughout the state in the 10 Planning and Development Districts. Within each local ombudsman program, a full-time certified ombudsman is responsible for program components. Volunteers are also an integral part of the ombudsman program.
Homestead Exemption - Persons in the state who are 65 or older do not have to pay taxes on their homes and land if the assessed value is $7,500 or less. An older person with property valued on the market at $75,000 or less does not have to pay taxes. For the older person with homes and land market valued at more than $75,000, taxes are required only on the amount above $75,000. To get this tax advantage, residents over 65 must file for homestead exemption with their county tax assessor's office.
Recreation - The state's mild climate, with an average temperature of 63 degrees and yearly rainfall of about 50 inches, facilitates outdoor recreation year round. Mississippi has 17 state parks offering boating, camping, fishing, nature trails and refreshment facilities. Historic sites, arts and crafts shows and festivals featuring everything from Blues to strawberries offer additional opportunities for Mississippians to relax and have fun. Fresh and salt water fishing provides another recreation or outlet, as does hunting small game, deer and wild turkey. Persons 65 and above may obtain a free hunting and fishing license from their circuit clerk's office. Recreation in the state also includes various sporting events of the Southeastern Conference, the Southwestern Athletic Conference and professional baseball and hockey.Older adults also have special opportunities to participate in events such as Senior Olympics, a statewide athletic event designed for this age group.
Volunteer Program - The person delivering meals to homebound elderly adults, assisting at community focal points, providing insurance counseling and assistance, or serving as an ombudsman to residents of long-term care facilities could very well be a volunteer. In fact, many older adults are volunteering to perform services such as these and many, many more. They are doing so through the Division of Aging and Adult Services Volunteer Program, finding satisfaction in donating time to others. Contact your Area Agency on Aging for more information about how you can volunteer.
Mississippi Department of Human Services
Division of Aging & Adult Services