With the population of Mississippi living longer and longer each year, specialized services for persons more than 60 years of age become increasingly important. The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) 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 more than 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 - DAAS coordinates the delivery of many services available to adults 60 years of age and older through Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) located across the state. Our programs work to assure quality of life and continued independence for the state's older citizens.
For more information about available services for seniors, including transportation and home delivered meals, go to the Area Agency on Aging that services your county.
Nutrition (Congregate and Home Delivered Meals) - The Older Adult Nutrition Program (OANP) provides a well-balanced meal which includes no less than one-third of the nutrient-based Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for older adults and follows the food-based Dietary Guidelines for Older Americans. The OANP provides fellowship for the 29 percent of seniors who participate in congregate meal programs at senior center sites and vital nutrition for the 71 percent of frail elderly residents whose meals are delivered to their homes.
Transportation - Continued independence of older adults in the state is facilitated by transportation services offered in their communities. Nearly 300 vehicles (from vans to minibuses) take older adults where they want to go, whether to dental and medical appointments, shopping areas, senior centers, recreational areas, MDHS county offices, Social Security offices or educational facilities. Transportation is provided by local civic or community groups and Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) 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 DAAS or the AAAs. These points for information and assistance usually are the AAAs, senior centers, adult day care centers or community action agencies and link older adults to needed services and follow up to ensure that needs are met. Visit www.AoA.gov.
Legal Assistance - For those times when older adults need legal advice, consultation or representation, lawyers or paralegals provide services to the state's elderly. Many of these services are available at no charge from legal services programs. In other cases, private attorneys have agreed to accept reduced fees for referred elderly clients. Older persons with a legal problem should contact their local AAA for more information.
Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) Adults 55 and above are working throughout the state through assistance from the Senior Community Service Employment Program. The program identifies employment opportunities for older persons whose incomes place them at or below the federal poverty level; who are unemployed or underemployed; or who have difficulty finding a job. Adults in the program generally work an average of 20 hours a week, receiving at least minimum wage.
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 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 more than age 65 must file for homestead exemption with their county tax assessor's office.
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 through the Division of Aging and Adult Services Volunteer Program. Contact your Area Agency on Aging for more information about how you can become a volunteer.
Call Vulnerable Person Abuse Hotline at 844-437-6282 to report abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult or click https://fw2.harmonyis.net/MSLiveIntake/ to make a non-emergency report. Call local law enforcement agency or 911 if the situation is a life threatening emergency.
Mississippi Department of Human Services
Division of Aging & Adult Services
601-359-4929 | 601-359-4577 | 800-948-3090
Child Support, SNAP/TANF and Aging Services Call Center
750 North State Street | Jackson, MS 39202