Rural elderly face several issues, such as:
Yes, each state has an agency on aging. These agencies can help you locate information and assistance on a variety of issues in your local area. These services serve people age 60 and over.
The Meals on Wheels Association of America is the oldest and largest organization in the United States representing those who provide meal services to people in need. This program provides one hot meal per day to seniors. The guiding principle to which it subscribes is to help those men and women who are elderly, homebound, disabled, frail, or at risk. It also gives cash grants to local senior meal programs throughout the country to assist in providing meals and other nutrition services. The Meals-on-Wheels website allows you to search by city and state to find a listing of all programs in your area.
Some Meals-on-Wheels programs provide congregate meals in addition to home delivered meals. Congregate programs are simply programs that serve at senior centers, where seniors can come and eat their meal in the company of others. While this is not a rare type of program, it is certainly less common so you should check with your local program to see whether or not they have a congregate program.
Seniors living in rural communities have limited resources and services, including getting meals delivered due to time, distance, cost, and labor. Meals On Wheels Association of America’s Rural Initiative is working to find solutions to address these challenges. The development and dissemination of a blueprint for the model rural Senior Nutrition Program is anticipated to address this situation.
Information on transportation options for the disabled and the elderly should be available at local human service offices, local transit authorities, community and faith-based organizations, and regional planning organizations. Contact your local county social service agency, your community action agency, and/or call 2-1-1 if this service is available, to find out what programs are in your area. If at the local level you are not finding out sufficient information, call your state Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) manager.
The National Volunteer Caregiving Network (NVCN), formerly called Faith in Action, has over 1,000 programs throughout the country. This volunteer program provides many services, including transportation to doctor appointments, errands, and picking up groceries. NVCN provides a searchable database of programs throughout the United States. Each state has a transportation office. These offices can assist in helping answer questions and locating what transportation programs are in your area. The U.S. Department of Transportation provides a state-by-state directory to provide contact information for each of the state transportation managers and associations.
Citizens or groups wanting to implement a transportation program in their rural community should visit with their state office listed above. Your state representative can tell you what can be done and how to do it. They may also have the means at the state level to offer grants to purchase vehicles. Community Action Agencies can also provide citizens with information on transportation in rural areas.
The American Public Transportation Association contains a listing of local public transportation systems. This listing provides a state-by-state display of state, regional and county transportation services available. They also provide a listing of public transit in your community.
For further information on rural transportation programs, please see the RAC Transportation Topic Guide, particularly the frequently asked questions section.
Financial abuse is the illegal or improper use of an elderly person’s funds, property, or resources. This is a serious problem and is on the rise. There are many reasons an elderly person might fall into a financial abuse situation.These might include not realizing the value of their assets and being unaware about financial matters, being dependent on others for help, being taken advantage of and being embarrassed to report a scam or financial abuse situation, and not understanding advances in technology which makes managing their finances more complicated. Here are a few resources regarding financial abuse and elders:
Last Reviewed: 5/20/2013