Ninety percent of seniors want to age in place.
There are many resources available to help make this possible, but evolving circumstances of aging may require plans to change and adapt.
Tax Relief and Tax Freeze Programs for Senior Homeowners
Seniors may be entitled to the various discounts listed below.
Tennessee law allows a property tax rebate for those 65+ who live in their own home. Income guidelines apply. Property tax relief is also available to disabled veterans determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to have a service connected disability. Contact your County Trustee’s Office for information and application. If you live in a city that collects property taxes, call the city collecting official’s office. If a seniors is in a nursing home or living with relatives and property is rented long term, there is no tax break. If a senior rents property month to month wit the intention of returning home, or leaves the property empty with the intention to return home, tax relief would apply.
For more information, please see our Tax Freeze and Relief Guide Black and White
The Tennessee Constitution permits taxing jurisdiction to “freeze” property taxes at current levels for seniors 65+. Local governments (county and/or city) can choose to approve the tax freeze for their area. There are income limits to qualify. Contact your County Trustee’s office for details. County Trustee’s office numbers can be found in the Key County Telephone Numbers Chart at the beginning of this chapter.
Staying at Home: Aging in place
Aging in place is a term used to describe the situation where a senior lives in the residence of their choice as they age safely and independently. This includes having any services and supports required as needs change.
A home can become difficult to maintain or even unsafe, but there are a several options to help seniors stay in the their homes longer.
Assisted Care Living Facilities (ALF)
Assisted Care Living Facilities (ALF)- A licensed residential setting that offers a variety of support services such as meals, housekeeping, activities, transportation, and assistance with bathing, dressing and medication
Assistive Technology – Certain items or devices that help you do things easier or safer in your home like grabbers to reach things
CHOICES – TennCare CHOICES
CHOICES – TennCare CHOICES in Long-Term Care (or “CHOICES” for short) is TennCare’s program for long-term care services. Long-term care includes help doing everyday activities that you may no longer be able to do for yourself as you grow older, or if you have a disability—like bathing, dressing, getting around your home, preparing meals, or doing household chores. Long-term care services include care in a nursing home or care in your own home or in the community that may keep you from having to go to a nursing home for as long as possible.
Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists (CAPS)
Certified aging-in-place specialists help people who want to make their homes a home for a lifetime, regardless of their age, income or abilities. Rather, it ensures that people of all ages and ability levels can live comfortably and safely in a home. The universally-designed home accommodates all family members at all stages of life…. from infants to grandparents, all of whom benefit from homes that impose fewer restrictions on daily activities and maximize independence and safety.
Care companions or elder companions
Care companions or elder companions provide company for people who live alone, especially for, but not limited to, those who are homebound because of frailty or dementia. In addition to providing assistance with daily activities, they provide valuable social benefits, decreasing isolation and improving quality of life.
Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
Durable Medical Equipment (DME) – Any medical equipment used in the home to aid in a better quality of living. It is a benefit included in most insurance plans and in some cases Medicare may pay for the item if ordered by the physician.
Home Health Care Agencies – These agencies provide health and personal care workers in your home and are licensed by the state. To receive home health care through Medicare, an individual has to be homebound and require either skilled nursing or rehab services. A physician has must order the services.
Home modifications are changes made to adapt living spaces to meet the needs of people with physical limitations so that they can continue to live independently and safely. These modifications may include adding assistive technology or making structural changes to a home. Modifications can range from something as simple as replacing cabinet doorknobs with pull handles to full-scale construction projects that require installing wheelchair ramps and widening doorways.
Homemaker Services –Help with your household chores or errands like laundry, sweeping, mopping or grocery shopping. Personal Support Service agencies and individuals provide these services.
In-Home Care Agency vs. In-Home Care Registry
An in-home care agency is responsible for hiring and paying the caregiver, including providing training, screening, and supervision of the individual caregivers.
By contrast, an in-home-care registry is a referral service that will match you with a caregiver who is an independent contractor.
Live-in care refers to arranging round-the-clock care for a loved one. The caregiver usually stays with a loved one for 24 hours a day, providing peace of mind for family members and for the person who wants to remain at home but needs care.
Occupational Therapists (OT)
Occupational therapy (OT) is the use of assessment and treatment to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living and work skills of people with a physical, mental, or cognitive disorder. Occupational therapists also focus much of their work on identifying and eliminating environmental barriers to independence and participation in daily activities.
Respite Care– Respite provides time off for the caregiver. This help can mean someone comes into the home through Personal Support Services agencies or as individual sitters. In addition the person needing help can receive services at adult day centers, assisted living facilities or nursing homes.
The decision to help an aging adult move out of a current home is a complex one — both emotionally and practically. Above all, you want the person to be safe and well. There are many options for housing available for seniors.
Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) – A continuing care retirement community provides several different levels of housing and care. This makes it easier to transition from one level to another, either short-term or long-term. The levels may include independent homes or apartments, assisted care living, and nursing home care.
Critical Adult Care Home
Critical Adult Care Home – A home where you and no more than 4 other people live with a health care professional that takes care of special health and long-term care needs.
Hospice – Hospice is a program, generally paid by Medicare, for persons with life-threatening illness when the life expectancy is six months or less. A team approach is utilized to meet the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of the patient and family. Hospice services can be provided in the home, in an assisted living or nursing home, in a hospital or a special hospice facility.
The Directory of Services for Seniors© lists every Middle TN-based provider of assisted living, home care, nursing home care, and senior or geriatric care management researched by COA.
Independent Senior Living
Independent living senior communities are typically reserved for seniors 55+. Apartments, owned- homes, assisted living facilities and nursing homes are other common types of senior living. Rented apartments provide flexibility in terms of a long term commitment and social activities are often included. Owned homes are available in 55+ communities. The senior will own their home/townhome. Maintenance will continue to be the responsibility of the homeowner.
Long Term Care (LTC)
Long Term Care (LTC) – Refers to a continuum of medical and social services designed to support the needs of people living with chronic health problems that affect their ability to perform activities of daily living.
Nursing Homes or Facility
Nursing Homes or Facility– Patients generally rely on assistance for most or all daily living activities (such as bathing, dressing, and toileting). They provide 24-hour licensed skilled nursing care (level II) for the more acute patients. Nursing homes may provide care by nurses, physical therapists, speech therapists, or occupational therapists.
Personal Support Services
Personal Support Services– These agencies, listed by the state, provide services for those living at home as well as in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Services provided may include personal care, household assistance, sitters, medication reminders, and transportation. They do not provide medical services.
Resources for Additional Help
The following website can provide helpful information for aging in place:
Area Agency on Aging & Disability (615) 255-1010 or Toll Free 1-877-973-6467 Call for information on a wide range of services for seniors in Middle Tennessee.
Eldercare Locator (800) 677-1116
Toll-free help in identifying community resources for seniors nationwide.
National Council on Aging Online help for seniors with financial matters and suggests ways to end debt.