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Elderly Waiver and Alternative Care Programs Help Seniors Pay for Services to Stay in Their Homes

Do you need services that help older people stay in their homes? You should know about Minnesota's Elderly Waiver and Alternative Care assistance programs. These programs also help pay for services that aid spouses and others who are caring for senior family members.

Both programs assist people over 65 who are at risk of needing nursing home care. The Elderly Waiver program serves people who are eligible for Medical Assistance. Availability is limited, but services are free.

Seniors do not have to be eligible for Medical Assistance to be eligible for the Alternative Care program. Income and assets are considered, however, and there may be a charge for some services.

Determining Eligibility

The first step in qualifying for this kind of assistance is to have a Long-Term Care Consultation. These are available, free of charge, to people of all income levels. They are conducted by county teams made up of at least one social worker and one public health nurse.

During each consultation, the team:

  • provides information about local long-term care options,
  • arranges an in-person visit to assess needs and help plan services, and
  • offers information about public programs that can help pay for services.

To arrange for a consultation, you’ll need to connect with your county or senior services. Make a toll-free call to the Senior LinkAge Line, 1-800-333-2433, to find out who to contact in your area.

Elderly Waiver and Alternative Care assistance applies to a wide variety of services. Among these are:

  • visits by a skilled nurse,
  • home health aide services
  • personal care assistants,
  • companion services,
  • homemaker services,
  • home-delivered meals,
  • transportation,
  • medical supplies and equipment,
  • home modifications,
  • adult foster care services, and
  • assisted living services.

Family assistance includes caregiver support and training, adult day services, and respite care.

For more information about Elderly Waivers and Alternative Care, call your county's health or human services agency. (Look in the phone book in the blue "government" pages for your county's listing.) Or call the Senior LinkAge Line 1-800-333-2433.

Information is available in other forms to people with disabilities at 1-800-882-6262 or through the Minnesota Relay Service at 1-800-627-3529 (TDD), 711 or 1-877-627-3848 (speech-to-speech relay service).

The Minnesota Department of Human Services’ web site,, is a rich source of information about these and other programs. Click on the section labeled AGING at the top of the page.



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