Area Agency on Aging: Consumer Directed Attendant Support Services help some family caregivers

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    By Kay Kaylor
    PREVIEW Columnist

    I advocate for residents in extended care and assisted living residences as the regional long-term care ombudsman. I also am a Senior Medicare Patrol and State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselor, all as an employee of San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA). The many aging and care concerns will be addressed here.

    November is National Family Caregivers Month and this year’s theme is “Caregiving Around the Clock.” Many elders and people with disabilities rely on family caregivers to help them remain at home. Colorado Medicaid programs to help people “age in place” include five different types of waivers under the title Home and Community Based Services. People who qualify for this type of long-term care Medicaid, and the qualifications differ from the Health First Colorado health insurance, also may qualify for Consumer Directed Attendant Support Services.

    Consumer Directed Attendant Support Services allow elders or their representatives to direct and manage who provides personal care, homemaker and health maintenance services. In the program, you hire, train and manage attendants of your choice, including family members, using Health First funds. The program offers training, ongoing support, and tools and education for recruiting, hiring and managing chosen attendants. It also has an Attendant Directory to help match clients with caregivers.

    The Archuleta County Department of Human Services determines who is eligible for such waivers and services in this area (264-2182). Once accepted, people in the program receive case management through Community Connections Inc. (249-2464). 

    The case manager works with elders or their representatives to determine the services needed and sends the referral to Consumer Directed Attendant Support Services. Services include personal care, such as bathing, dressing and eating; health maintenance with the flexibility to use staff without a license or certificate; and homemaking, such as housekeeping, meal preparation and laundry.

    SJBAAA offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare; see sjbaaa.org. For further information, please call or text 403-2165 or send an email to leadombudsman@sjbaaa.org.