A large number of widely available public senior resources makes Massachusetts one of the best states to grow old. Here is a list of programs and organizations that offer assistance for housing, healthcare, elder abuse, support groups, and more.
Senior Resources In Massachusetts
Where To Find Senior Resources In Massachusetts
Here is a list of organizations mentioned in this article for easy reference:
- NAMI Massachusetts
- Area Agency on Aging
- Local Councils On Aging
- Councils On Aging & Senior Centers
- Executive Office Of Elder Affairs (EOEA)
- Resources For Elders At The Attorney General’s Office
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
In addition, the Benefits Checkup from Senior Resources is another helpful tool. Although Senior Resources serves eastern Connecticut, the Benefits Checkup tool offers nationwide information on financial, health, public, and support services for seniors.
Regional Support For Older Adults & Caregivers
Here you can find organizations that provide senior resources in specific areas of Massachusetts.
Aging and Disability Resources Consortium
This directory features the names, contact information, and service areas for over 40 Massachusetts Aging & Disability Resource Consortia member agencies.
Aging Services Access Points
Aging Service Access Points (ASAPs) are “private non-profit agencies with governing boards that serve and represent 51% of people age 60 and older” in Massachusetts. According to Mass.gov, these organizations offer direct and protective services such as:
- Information and referral
- Intake and assessment
- Reassessment of needs
- Monitoring of service plans
- Interdisciplinary case management
- Investigations of abuse and neglect of elders
- Development and implementation of service plans
Click here for a list of ASAP locations in Massachusetts.
The Eldercare Locator is a free tool by the US Administration on Aging that can save time searching for regional or community assistance. You can enter your zip code to find senior resources and caregiver support in your area or call 1-800-677-1116.
FriendshipWorks aims to reduce isolation and loneliness in seniors by connecting them with volunteer companions. This program provides different services, such as:
- PetPals: A visitation program where volunteers bring their pets to long-term care facilities.
- Friendly Helpers: Volunteers spend one to three hours assisting with small tasks such as organization, seasonal activities, or errands.
- Medical Escorts: Volunteers provide comfort, reassurance, and mobility or navigation support to ensure seniors safely leave and return home from doctor’s appointments.
- Friendly Visiting: Volunteers visit weekly to form a close relationship with seniors.
FriendshipWorks is available in Boston, Brookline, Newton, Somerville, and Cambridge.
Healthy IDEAS is a mental health support program from Ethos, a private non-profit that advances the independence, dignity, and wellbeing of the elderly and disabled. Over a three to six-month period, seniors meet with an Ethos member to work on personalized goals based on individual interests.
Senior Resources For Housing
In Massachusetts, 62% of seniors who live alone and about 30% of those in two-person households are economically insecure. Senior resources for housing assistance could make a significant difference in the lives of qualifying individuals.
Senior Housing Resources Program
Supportive housing available through the EOEA “combines housing with services for older adults and people with disabilities.” Participants receive help from Supportive Housing Coordinators, who offer various services such as:
- Arrange meals
- Navigating local housing
- Organize social events and activities
- Access to community resources and support
- Supervise an around-the-clock emergency response
The EOEA also offers Congregate Housing programs, which provide the same services as Supportive Housing. However, unlike Supportive Housing, Congregate Housing is a shared living arrangement that doesn’t provide 24/7 care.
Eligibility criteria are more stringent compared to Supportive Housing. For example, residents must be able to participate in a shared living space, be independent, and be medically stable and aware. You can visit this page to see a list of Congregate Housing sites and connect with a contractor.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
EOEA Continuing Care Retirement Communities support seniors’ ability to age in place by offering housing, services, and care at one location. This program provides different housing and service options based on individual health needs.
Massachusetts Ombudsman Programs
Massachusetts Ombudsman programs advocates for seniors and “offers a way for consumers to voice their complaints and have concerns addressed so they can live with dignity and respect.” Massachusetts offers three ombudsman programs:
- Community Care Ombudsman: Helps local seniors address service complaints for home health care, community-based MassHealth programs, home care funded programs, and federal private pay eldercare programs. Call (617) 727-7750 to contact this program.
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman: An advocate (and mediator) who helps solve issues associated with the health, welfare, and rights of seniors who live in nursing facilities, rest homes, and assisted living.
- My Ombudsman: An independent program available to all MassHealth members. This program helps members get answers to questions or take advantage of MassHealth benefits and services.
Senior Homelessness Program
The Area Agency on Aging (AAA) partners with shelters, community groups, government programs, and religious institutions to ensure housing for seniors. To meet a case manager and get information on senior resources and benefits you may need to secure shelter and stability, find your local AAA or call 800-243-4636.
Housing Counseling Agencies
Housing counseling agencies sponsored by the HUD offer free or low-cost guidance on foreclosures, defaults, renting and purchasing, credit problems, homeless counseling, and more.
The Continuing Care Retirement Communities Consumer Guide offers more information about this program, including questions to ask, financial considerations, and more.
Senior Resources For Health Care
Healthcare spending across the country is rising. The Commonwealth offers some of the most robust health programs to support older adults in their homes or facility settings.
Serving the Health Insurance Needs Of Everyone (SHINE)
Massachusetts residents can receive free guidance and counseling from the SHINE program. In addition, low-income Medicare recipients (or those who are almost eligible) can talk with a counselor to discover their benefits and options.
Click here to find a SHINE counselor or call MassOptions at 1(800) 243-636.
Qualifying seniors may receive health and dental care through MassHealth and long-term care services. Available health plans and programs for long-term care such as:
- Senior Care Options (SCO) is a program that provides health and social support services through a single health plan.
- Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a program that supports seniors’ desire to age in place in their communities.
- Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver programs provide various programs that promote aging in place.
- A Managed Care Organization (MCOs) is a health plan comprising various health professionals, institutions, and providers to facilitate access to care and health outcomes. MCOs are only available to HCBS members. Call MassHealth Customer Service at (800) 841-2900 to ask about your eligibility.
- Primary Care Clinician Plan is a type of managed care plan available throughout the state. Members must designate a doctor or nurse practitioner as their primary care physician. Call MassHealth Customer Service at the number above for enrollment details.
Home Care Programs
Seniors, people with disabilities, and those with early-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s can receive in-home services through the EOEA’s Home Care Program.
This program facilitates aging in place by delivering care management and support to eligible individuals. Eligibility is determined by age, residence, and ability to complete activities of daily living (ADLs).
Prescription Drug Assistance
Prescription Advantage is a state program available to adults 65 and older and people with disabilities. Eligible recipients can receive financial assistance to offset medication costs. This program is also open to Massachusetts residents who don’t qualify for Medicare.
Mass Home Care
Mass Home Care (MHC), a non-profit trade association, represents the state’s ASAP and Area Agencies on Aging networks. MHC provides community-based services and coordinated care in the home to more than 60,000 Massachusetts residents each month.
Click here to find a list of MHC member agencies and their service locations, or call (617) 972-5635 for more information.
Massachusetts Home Care & Enhanced Community Options Programs
Massachusetts offers two home care programs to support aging at home: the Home Care Program (HCP) and Enhanced Community Options Program (ECOP). Both provide care and non-medical assistance in the house, but ECOP is reserved for people who need a greater degree of care.
The AAA uses a sliding scale for co-payments and fees. Once enrolled, a social worker will work with family caregivers to develop a plan of care, which may include the following:
- Grocery shopping
- Home modifications
- Adult day programs
- Medication reminders
- Transportation assistance
- Meal preparation and delivery
- Light housework, such as laundry
To apply for one of these programs or to learn more, contact your local AAA or call 1 (800) 243-4336.
Senior Medicare Patrol Program
Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is a nationwide program sponsored by the Administration on Aging. SMPs provide culturally competent care to underserved communities and limited English-speaking seniors.
Participants can receive assistance with navigating Medicaid and Medicare Advantage health plans. In addition, at-risk individuals, the homeless, and low-income adults can receive individual health plan counseling.
Visit MASMP.org or call (800) 892-0880 to learn how to apply.
Veterans Directed Care Program
The Veterans Directed Care (VDC) program helps veterans age in place by providing self-directed long-term services. Participants manage costs, choose their preferred services, and employ their care team with help from an options counselor.
Senior Resources For Elder Abuse And Neglect
Elder abuse is a serious problem that unfortunately goes unreported far too often. Senior resources to prevent elder abuse are available on the state website.
Reporting Elder Financial Abuse & Fraud
The Division of Banks provides a detailed page on Mass.gov to protect seniors from financial abuse, including how to report suspected fraud. Visit the Mass.gov elder financial abuse and fraud page to see more.
Senior Resources And Support Groups
Support groups for older adults keep seniors connected to their communities and reduce the risk of loneliness and isolation. Massachusetts has one of the country’s largest populations of older adults, which means there are many opportunities to find a group and support.
Family Caregiver Support Program
The AARP and NAC 2020 Caregiving in the US Report found that 12% of US caregivers are between the ages of 65 and 74, while 7% are older than 75. The EOEA’s Family Caregiver Support Program offers free assistance to family caregivers 55 and older, such as:
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Boston
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Boston (DBSA-Boston) aims to support the health and dignity of its members by creating safe, welcoming environments for people to exchange stories and experiences.
DBSA offers between 70 to 80 monthly support groups, including Senior Strength, a group for adults 55 and older to discuss their mental health challenges and experiences. Sessions are hosted via Zoom every Tuesday from 11:30 AM to 1 PM.
Visit DBSA’s Zoom Update page for information and scheduling, or call (617) 855-2795.
Women 65+ Discussion Group
The Women 65+ Discussion Group is a once-monthly event held on the third Wednesday of every month from 3:30 PM to 5 PM EST. Sessions are available in-person and on Zoom. For more information, email email@example.com.
Senior Resources For Mental Health
Mental health is just as crucial to overall wellbeing as physical health. But unfortunately, the cost of mental health services (or a lack of knowledge of where to find help) can limit people from seeking support. Here are a few organizations to consider for those wishing to find senior resources for mental health.
Elder Mental Health Outreach Teams
Elder Mental Health Outreach Teams (EMHOTs) are located throughout Massachusetts and assist with managing and short-term counseling for various mental health issues affecting seniors. Check out the list below to find a team near you:
Older Adult Behavioral Health Network
The Older Adult Behavioral Health Network (OABHN) supports access to quality mental health and recovery services for seniors. For more information about OABHN and upcoming events, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Resources For Finances
For some older adults, finances can be challenging. Cognitive decline, financial illiteracy, and other reasons can make it difficult to manage money or find help during a crisis. The following senior resources can direct older adults to the support they need.
Massachusetts Money Management Program
The Massachusetts Money Management Program (MMMP) is a free program sponsored by the EOEA and ASAPs. This program aims to empower seniors by teaching them how to manage everyday finances to facilitate independence.
Each month, participants work with volunteers to ensure on-time bill payments, resolve debt collection calls, handle shut-off notices, and more. All volunteers are trained, and most are insured by AARP.
For more information, call (508) 949-6640, extension 3376.
Economic Empowerment For Older Adults
Attorney General's Elder Hotline
The Attorney General’s Elder Hotline is available Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM EST. Call (888) 243-5337 to talk to a senior volunteer about financial concerns such as fraud.
Senior Resources For Employment & Education
Many look forward to their golden years as an opportunity to rest and relax. However, some older adults wish to continue employment, whether for financial reasons or simply to stay busy. Regardless, ageism, skillset, and other factors can hinder seniors’ ability to find gainful, steady work. Here is one program in Massachusetts that can help.
The Senior Community Service Employment Program
The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a collaborative initiative between the Massachusetts AAA and the Department of Labor. Through these programs, low-income, unemployed, qualifying older adults 55 and above learn new skills and develop their confidence to find work and achieve financial self-sufficiency.
To apply, visit your local MassHire Career Center.
Colleges With Free Tuition For Senior Citizens
Several academic organizations throughout the country provide free college courses for seniors. To learn more, check out this list of 20 Colleges With Free Tuition for Seniors from BestColleges.com. These programs are a great chance to discover new interests while staying cognitively and intellectually engaged.
Senior Resources For Legal Matters
In Massachusetts, several organizations provide free or low-cost legal services to eligible older adults. These services can assist with evictions, foreclosures, public benefits, and many other complex legal issues.
Senior Citizen's Law Project
Eligible adults age 60 and older can receive free legal services such as representation, advice, and education. The Senior Citizen’s Law Project (SCLP) provides most of the financial assistance.
In addition to the multiple services, staff members check in on seniors in their homes, care facilities, or hospitals as needed. Legal aids can help recipients apply for public benefits, deal with evictions, and much more.
Volunteer Lawyers Project of Boston
Adults 60 and older can receive legal information and referrals for free through the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Boston. The helpline is available Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 12 PM EST.
Program recipients can work with an advocate to see if they qualify for other legal services offered through the Commonwealth. Aids can assist with foreclosures, unemployment, public benefits, MassHealth, and more.
To check your eligibility and learn more about available services, visit Mass.gov.
Senior Resources For Transportation
A lack of transportation can leave older adults isolated, putting them at risk of the harmful effects of loneliness. However, several transportation options are available throughout the state to promote independence and mobility.
The RIDE is a paratransit service provided by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. This service offers door-to-door public transportation for those unable to use other public transit due to a disability.
The RIDE provides services from 5 AM to 1 AM 365 days a year in 58 cities in the greater Boston area. To apply, visit the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
MassMobility is a program that aims to improve mobility for seniors, people with disabilities, low-income commuters, and others with limited transportation access. While MassMobility doesn’t offer services directly, an advocate can connect you to local transportation resources.
Health Care Transportation
MeetCaregivers Can Help You Find Senior Resources
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- Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (n.d.). Seniors. Mass.gov. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://www.mass.gov/topics/seniors
- FamilyAssets Group LLC. (n.d.). Senior Resources in Massachusetts. FamilyAssets.com. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://www.familyassets.com/massachusetts
- Galvin, W. F. (n.d.). Citizens’ Guide To State Services. Sec.State.MA.us. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/ciscig/o/o1o2.htm
- McNamara, J. (n.d.). Massachusetts Agency on Aging Senior Assistance Programs. NeedHelpPayingBills.com. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/massachusetts_agency_on_aging.html
- NAMI Massachusetts. (2022, May 12). Resources For Older Adults. NAMIMass.org. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://namimass.org/olderadults/#1650831434071-181c92c8-4198
- Springfield Technical Community College. (n.d.). Community Resources: Seniors. LibGuides.STCC.edu. Retrieved August 4, 2022, from https://libguides.stcc.edu/c.php?g=595233&p=4242720