Living A Better Life

Signs & Symptoms that You or Your Loved One May Need Help

“My life is in a rut. Each day is the same.
I want to make changes, but don’t know where to start.”

  • Changed eating habits, resulting in losing weight, having no appetite, or missing meals?
  • Neglected personal hygiene, including wearing dirty clothes and having body odor, bad breath, neglected nails and teeth, or sores on the skin?
  • Neglected their home, with a noticeable change in cleanliness and sanitation?
  • Exhibited inappropriate behavior, such as being unusually loud, quiet, paranoid, or agitated, or making phone calls at all hours?
  • Changed relationship patterns, causing friends and neighbors to express concerns?
  • Had physical problems, such as burns or injury marks, which may result from general weakness, forgetfulness, or misuse of alcohol or prescribed medications?
  • Decreased or stopped participating in activities that were once important to them, such as bridge or a book club, dining with friends, or attending religious services?
  • Exhibited forgetfulness, resulting in unopened mail, piling of newspapers, not filling their prescriptions, or missing appointments?
  • Mishandled finances, such as not paying bills, losing money, paying bills twice or more, or hiding money?
  • Made unusual purchases, such as buying more than one subscription to the same magazine, entering an unusually large number of contests, or increasing purchases from television advertisements?

Small positive steps can lead to big victories over time. What do you aspire to change in your life? Here are some goals:

  • Organize personal document and share storage site with a trusted person
  • Request an occupational therapy consult
  • Maintain a consistent exercise program
  • Create a long term care plan
  • Develop an emergency disaster plan and share it with trusted family and friends


Government housing assistance is available to low-income elderly through several programs in the form of affordable housing or rental assistance. Many government housing assistance for the elderly are over-subscribed, with waiting lists that vary in length. Types of government housing assistance include:


Some Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) administer the Homeownership and Opportunity for People Everywhere (HOPE) program which provides a combination of HUD Section 8 rental assistance with case management and supportive services to low- income elderly persons. The aim is to expand access to Section 8 rental assistance to the frail elderly tenant population and help them avoid nursing home placement or other restrictive settings when home and community-based options are appropriate. Contact the local PHA for availability and more information about the program. To locate the local PHA, refer to the blue pages of the local telephone directory or call HUD at (202)708-1112.

Eligibility: Elderly persons, aged 62 or older, who have difficulty performing at least three activities of daily living (e.g., eating, bathing, grooming, dressing) and home management activities (e.g., housekeeping, laundry, shopping or getting to and from one place to another).


The Housing Choice Voucher (or “Section 8”) program, administered locally by PHAs, provides very low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disability affordable, decent, and sanitary housing in the private market. Participants are free to find their own housing that meets the requirements of the program. Housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual to locate the local PHA, refer to the blue pages of the local telephone directory or call HUD at (202)708-1112.

Eligibility: In general, the family’s income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live. This is determined by the PHA based on the total annual gross income and family size and is limited to U.S. citizens and specified categories of non- citizens. The local PHA can provide information about income limits for the area and family size.


Local rental assistance may be available through the HOME Investment Partnership Program. Contact the local Community Housing and Development office by referring to the blue pages of the local telephone directory.


Public housing provides affordable, decent, and safe rental housing for eligible low- income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Tenants typically pay no more than 30 percent of their monthly income for rent. Local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) that receive funding from the federal governmentown and operate public housing complexes. For more information about public housing and to locate your local public housing authority visit or call HUD at (202)708-1112.

Eligibility: Public housing is limited to low- income families and individuals. The local PHA determines the applicant’s eligibility based on: 1) annual gross income; 2) status: elderly 62+, a person with a disability, or as a family; and, 3) U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status. If eligible, the PHA will check references to ensure that applicant and family members will be good tenants.


For rural America, rent subsidies under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s RHS Rental Assistance Program (Section 521) ensure that elderly, disabled, and low-income residents of multi-family housing complexes financed by RHS are able to afford rent payments. With the help of the Rental Assistance Program, a qualified applicant pays no more than 30 percent of his or her income for housing.

Eligibility: To determine eligibility or to apply, please contact the Rural Development State office. The closest one can be found by visiting or calling the Rural Housing Service National office at (202)720-4323.

The Section 202 Program is provided by private, nonprofit housing and service- oriented organizations that have received capital advances from the government to finance the construction and rehabilitation of structures. These structures serve as supportive housing for very low-income elderly persons. The Section 202 program provides rent subsidies for the projects to help make them affordable. Supportive services provided under the Section 202 program include meals, transportation, and accommodations for residents with disabilities. Contact the local housing authority (see above).

Eligibility: The program benefits low-income residents age 62 years or older.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, Washington DC 20201
Phone: (202) 619 – 0724
Fax: (202) 357 – 3555

Sometimes our monthly income is not enough to cover all expenses. So many of us are forced to choose what daily requirements we will forego. There is help available. 

Feeling StressedSocial Isolation