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Home >> Housing & Long Term Care Options >> Staying Independent

Staying Independent

Picture of Grandma Charlene on her Harley Motorcycle

Many resources are
Available to help seniors
Remain independent
In their own home.

Bullet Benefits Check-Up - NCOA
A Service of the National Council On the Aging

The NCOA believes that benefits are important and useful tools to help seniors be independent and healthy. NCOA works with national sponsors and government agencies to offer this free service to anyone who wants to see if they may be eligible for public programs and services.

The BenefitsCheckUp is a 50-state (including the District of Columbia) online service to provide public benefit screening. There are hundreds of programs that help seniors in many ways. In fact there are more than 1,000 different benefit programs listed in the BenefitsCheckUp database.

BenefitsCheckUp millions of older adults who are eligible for benefits, but are not receiving them.  Ranging from health coverage to supplemental income to help in paying utility bills, there are millions of older adults who could benefit from a wide array of public programs if the knew about them and how to apply for them.

Using BenefitsCheckUp means that you do not have to spend hours of your time searching government agencies to learn about the programs that match your circumstances. Go to BenefitsCheckUp now and find out about programs that may help you stay independent .Up arrow to top of page

Bullet Multipurpose Senior Centers Can Help you Stay Independent

The Multipurpose Senior Centers (MSC) help seniors and their families maintain and enhance their independent life styles.
The local MSC acts as a resource for many seniors, helping them gain access to information and assistance. The MSC enriches seniors' lives and offers them opportunities for personal growth through stimulating activities, involvement, support and assistance.
Geriatric professionals assess needs of frail clients, work with them and their families to develop appropriate plans and assist them in obtaining needed services and follow-up. They are familiar with resources and housing available in your community.
Your MSC provide essential services to help maintain independence at home such as transportation, meals on wheels and safety checks.
The MSC Caregivers Support Groups help those who care for dependent loved ones handle their conflicting emotions  and the demands on their time.
To review the list of comprehensive services offered by the MSCs, please go to our MSC Services page.
Our Find a Multipurpose Senior Center page can help you find an MSC close to you. Up arrow to top of page

Bullet LILA - Living Independently in Los Angeles
Guide to Resources for People with Disabilities

The LILA Project is a GIS-based interactive information and resource database. Sign-in with a username and password to access this free resource guide and the interactive maps.

According to LILA, over 2 million residents of Los Angeles County have some kind of disability (using national percentages of 20.6% - County of LA statistical data and U.S. Census Bureau, October 1999). Over 900,000 of them have "significant" disabilities, by federal definitions, which means one or more of their daily life activities is impacted by their disabilities. Various governmental programs help many people living with disabilities meet their daily independent living needs. Housing, transportation, personal care assistance and financial subsidies all play a critical role in the survival of people with disabilities.

Learning about and enrolling in programs like these is usually complicated and difficult. The red tape and bureaucratic processes are confusing and discouraging to those who seek to understand how relief programs can apply to their personal situations. Easily locating survival information and resources is usually not an option for individuals who are not fully networked into the disability community. Meanwhile, demand for support programs continues to grow at a rapid pace. Using information technology as a tool to help remedy these needs is still not a widely used or developed option. LILA hopes to help change that for disabled and senior residents of Los Angeles County, their families, caregivers and advocates. Go to the LILA web site and register for this free information service. Up arrow to top of page

BulletCenters for Independent Living

Centers for Independent Living are non-residential, public-benefit corporations to enable people with disabilities and seniors in the Los Angeles community to live more independent, self supporting, and satisfying lives. The Centers achieve this goal by providing a wide range of services, including benefits and housing advocacy, peer counseling, personal assistance services, independent living skills training, job training and placement, and information and referral.


Westside Center for Independent Living (WCIL)
12901 Venice Boulevard, West Los Angeles CA. 90066
Telephone: 310-390-3611; Fax: 310-390-4906
TDD: 310-398-2204; Email: wcil@aol.com


Community Rehabilitation Services, Inc (CRS)
3325 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 850
Central Los Angeles CA. 90010
Telephone: 213-427-9090; Fax: 213-427-0172
TDD: 213-427-0173; Email: crsela@qwest.net


Community Rehabilitation Services (CRS)
4716 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. Bldg B Room 75, Los Angeles CA. 90022
Telephone: 323-266-0453; Fax: 323-266-7992
TDD: 323-266-3016; Email: crsela@qwest.net

bulletCommunity Rehabilitation Services Downtown Office (CRS)
675 S. Carondelet Street, Downtown Los Angeles CA. 90057
Telephone: 213-427-9090; Fax: 213-427-0172
TDD: 213-427-0173

To find more Independent Living Centers in California, please go to the CFILC Online DirectoryUp arrow to top of page

Bullet The Braille Institute

The Braille Institute has been helping people with vision loss for more than 75 years. All programs are free of charge.

Sight loss affects every facet of a senior's life and little things can become big obstacles. Braille Institute can help break down those barriers and help you regain independence. With the support of Braille Institute, seniors can continue to live a full and independent life. Up arrow to top of page

Bullet Transportation

Several free or low-cost transportation programs are available to assist you:

bulletFor meals, medical services, activities, etc...
bulletLift-van program
bulletMTA passes
bulletTaxi coupons.

Your local Multipurpose Senior Center can explain the various services and assist you.

According to LILA (a free resource guide for people with disabilities) more people than ever are using paratransit services to assist them with their mobility. Access Services, Incorporated (ASI), the LA County paratransit service, reported over 38,000 enrolled riders in 1999, a growth of 5,000 users from 1998. As yet, there is not an online registration process to assist applicants in obtaining paratransit service. (If you have Adobe Acrobat, You can download the ASI application form here and take it in person to your interview.) LILA is working with County and City agencies to obtain and map up to date information about access points to public buildings, no stopping zone locations and other information of importance to ASI users when they book their reservations. Up arrow to top of page

BulletMobile Medicine Outreach

Receive comprehensive care in your home. You no longer need to travel to your doctor's office for appointments. Mobile Medicine Outreach offers medical care from a personal physician at home. Up arrow to top of page

Bullet National Association of Home Builders Research Center NAHBRC - For Seniors

The NAHBRC has been seeking innovative ideas for senior-friendly housing addressing problems such as narrow doorways, dangerous stairs, inaccessible kitchens and bathrooms.

For practical information about aging-in-place including simple structural adaptations, helpful products and related literature, visit the NAHBRC Website Senior ResourcesUp arrow to top of page

Bullet Home Secure

If you are elderly, disabled or homebound with fixed or limited income, you may qualify for FREE home safety and security services from Home Secure. Up arrow to top of page

Bullet Home Care

Home Care may provide a senior with the assistance needed to remain at home and stay independent.
The Department of Social Services Adult Services may provide these services for seniors who qualify for the program. In-Home Supportive Services and Personal Care Services Program may also allow a person you know and trust to provide home care for you.

For seniors who are not eligible for this program, many agencies are available to provide home care services.
A word of caution: You should be extremely careful when selecting private home care services. Unfortunately, there is an increasing trend for experienced criminal predators to attempt to place themselves in these positions of trust.
In addition to past employment checks and bonded agencies, you might want to consider the agencies recommended by your local Multipurpose Senior Center (MSC).
All MSCs have a relationship with one or more home care agencies. MSCs usually do not have commercial ties and may give you a sincere referral based on their experience with the agency. If a problem arises, the continuing relationship between the MSC and the agency may be helpful to resolve a difficult situation. In most areas, the MSC has established a close relationship with the local police department. In the L.A. Metro Area, MSC Case Managers also meet on regular basis with representatives from the City Attorney and the District Attorney Elder Abuse Units. Our Find an MSC page can help you find an MSC close to you.

A very relevant column written by Denise Nelesen for the San Diego Elder Care Directory highlights the difficulties of conducting a thorough background check of caregivers in California:
" Caregiver history can be mystery. "

The Older Women's Issues Committee of the Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council has updated and published Suggestions on How to Hire and Supervise In-Home Help. The guide is available in English and SpanishUp arrow to top of page

Bullet Multipurpose Senior Services Program MSSP

The Multipurpose Senior Service Program (MSSP) sites provide social and health case management for frail elderly clients who are certifiable for placement in a nursing facility but who wish to remain in the community. The goal of the program is to arrange for and monitor the use of community services to prevent or delay premature institutional placement of these frail clients. The services must be provided at a cost lower than that for nursing facility care.

MSSP is funded by the State of California Department of Aging and the Federal Government. Under a federal Medicaid Home and Community-Based, Long Term Care Services Waiver, the MSSP provides comprehensive case management to assist frail elderly persons to remain at home.

To find out more about the Multipurpose Senior Services Program, please go to our MSSP page. Up arrow to top of page

Bullet Linkages Program

Linkages is for people who need help managing their lives because of an accident, illness or other disability. The goal of the program is to prevent or delay the premature or inappropriate institutionalization of at risk, frail elderly and functionally impaired adults 18 years of age and older.

Linkages is designed to be a "gap filler" by serving individuals who are not eligible for other services. the program provides case management as well as information and assistance regarding appropriate community resources.

To find out more about the Linkages Program, please go to our Linkages page. Up arrow to top of page

Bullet Adult Day Care

This is a good option to consider in conjunction with home care if a caregiver is available in the evening.
Most Multipurpose Senior Centers (MSC) provide supervised daytime care for physically and mentally limited seniors, including those with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, who benefit from organized activity and socialization in a safe environment. Many MSC Day Care programs are subsidized and most provide transportation. Your local MSC will also be familiar with other resources in your community.
Our Find a Multipurpose Senior Center page can help you find an MSC close to you.
D.S.S. Community Care Licensing regulates, inspects and investigates Adult Day Care Facilities. Up arrow to top of page

Bullet Conservatorships

A conservatorship is a court proceeding to appoint a manager for the financial affairs or the personal care of a person who is either physically or mentally unable to handle either or both.

This includes assessing what level of care an individual might need by evaluating:

Mental and physical condition,
Ability to perform daily activities of living,
Isolation and need for socialization.

The Public Guardian and most private conservatorship agencies strive to find a situation that maximizes a client's independence and autonomy, including helping an individual remain at home.

For more information, please go to our Conservatorship page. Up arrow to top of page

Bullet Freedom Clearinghouse
Advocacy for people with disabilities

Freedom Clearinghouse is a nationwide network dedicated to free people with disabilities from institutions to live in the community. Up arrow to top of page


Inside This Page

bullet Benefits Check-Up
Multipurpose Senior
  Centers can help you
  stay independent
bullet LILA - Guide to resources
  for people with 
  disabilities in Los Angeles
bullet Centers for Independent
bullet The Braille Institute
bullet Transportation
bullet Mobile Medicine
bullet National Association of
  Home Builders
Home Secure
Home Care
MSSP Program
Linkages Program
Adult day care
bullet Conservatorships
bullet Freedom Clearinghouse
  Advocacy for people
  with disabilities

Useful Links

bullet Find a Multipurpose
  Senior Center
Help a senior in need

Related Stories

bullet Get involved!
Volunteers are needed
Events, Training and jobs
Hollywood calendar of
  events welcoming seniors
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This site was first published in April, 2001.

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