What services and support are available for aging parents of disabled adults?
People with disabilities are living longer, as are their parents, who may have been their family caregivers for many years. As those parents’ age and need help themselves, what do they do about their older child with disabilities? Parent caregivers may be in her 80s and have health problems of their own. Their son or daughter needing help may be in their 60s.
Thousands of people are waiting for services for Medicaid. If the individual or family can’t afford to pay for services on their own, under the federal-state Medicaid system, the person with the disability could end up in an institution.
Thousands of the names of people with disabilities may be listed on waiting lists for services for years. Names often stay on these “interest lists” as they are called in Texas until services are available or until a caregiver falls ill or dies. A sudden chronic illness, including worsening dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, may cause an immediate need.
With medical, technological and public health advances, people with disabilities are living longer than even before. With family size shrinking over the years, fewer siblings are around to assume care of their brother or sister with disabilities as their parents’ age.
Caregivers need help to transition out of their role — finding the person with disabilities in-home services, money, benefits, placement in residential homes, day services, transportation, and a new guardian. Long-term legal and financial planning becomes critical.
When state services are limited and aren’t able to provide services for everyone, focus shifts to providing more support for family caregivers. These services may include high-quality case management and respite (relief) services to help provide more independence.
The following Texas programs have interest lists:
- Community Living Assistance and Support Services (CLASS)
- Deaf Blind with Multiple Disabilities (DBMD)
- Home and Community-based Services (HCS)
- Texas Home Living (TxHmL)
- STAR+PLUS Home and Community Based Services Program (STAR+PLUS HCBS)
For more information and to be added to the interest lists, contact the local MHMR; find out more about state services by calling 1-877-438-5658,
- Call 211 for the area agencies on aging and the ADRCs (Aging and Disabilities Resource Center). With growing needs, be prepared to leave a message.
- Apply for services,
- Visit: https://apps.hhs.texas.gov/contact/search.cfm
Sources: Disability Scoop, by JenFifield and Texas Health and Human Services Interest List Reduction.
We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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