Would You Know What to Do?

A few months ago my mom was visiting from out-of-state. She had been asking me for advice about a family member who was in a bit of crisis about their housing and finances when her phone rang. It was the family member we were talking about.

Mom put her phone speaker on, and I was able to counsel this relative about housing options, applying for early Social Security and encouraged them to act now (this relative had been indecisive for several years). Several months later, my mom informed me this relative had applied for Social Security and put in their application for a subsidized housing facility with a year+ long waiting list.

Most families don’t have a gerontologist in the family. But, seniors and their families living in Washtenaw County are fortunate. The Housing Bureau for Seniors (HBS) has an array of services to assist seniors to find and maintain appropriate living arrangements. For families in similar situations as we had, our Housing and Care Counseling program is for you.

Thanks to an Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation grant, family caregivers who live in or have an older family member living in Washtenaw County have a resource to support and enable them to make informed decisions regarding housing and long-term care needs.

Approximately 19% of the adult U.S. population (43.5 million) provides unpaid care for an adult family member or friend over the age of 50. Over 55% of these caregivers are employed and more than 37% share households with children or grandchildren under the age of 18.

Seventy-seven percent (77%) of caregivers report needing more information or support with issues including:
• Long-term care needs (such as supportive housing and in-home supports);
• Keeping loved ones safe at home; and
• Choosing home care agencies.

The Housing Bureau for Seniors assists caregivers and seniors who need assistance with decision-making around housing options and long-term care services to support aging in place. Specifically, we:
• Provide tools to evaluate the older adult’s functional, in-home supports and housing needs;
• Prepare the caregiver with tools to evaluate and analyze housing options, long-term care options and financial resources;
• Evaluate the older adults’ financial resources, housing and home safety and caregiving and social supports;
• Identify contributing factors that will impact how in-home supports and needed housing will be paid for and how they will be accessed; and
• Determine if there are adequate financial resources and if there are private or public options to maximize resources.

If you’re a caregiver and have questions about an aging family member, give us a call! We can be reached at (734) 998-9339 or housingbureauseniors@umich.edu.

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