Finding Help for Yourself or a Loved One

Finding Help

Most older adults and people with disabilities say they would prefer to live independently in the community, and we know that most can do so if they have access to the high quality services and supports they need.

The Administration for Community Living was created to make that possible for more people. Although ACL does not provide services directly to consumers, we fund a wide range of programs that are managed by states and communities to best meet the needs of the people who live there. 

Unfortunately, it often can be very challenging to know where to begin. People often have questions about things like what programs are available in their states or communities, which will best meet their needs, whether they or their loved one are eligible and how to sign up.

There are a variety of resources available to help. These include everything from centers that provide one-on-one counseling to help with your specific needs to online tools that may help answer initial questions or help you with planning.

Getting Started

Not sure where to begin? In every state and territory, ACL funds aging and disability organizations that can help.

Aging and Disability Resource Centers can provide information about the full range of available options; provide objective advice, counseling and assistance to help you make informed decisions; and help you access public and private programs. ADRCs provide unbiased, reliable information, and counseling to people with all levels of income. 

Area Agencies on Aging, often referred to as "Triple As," coordinate and offer services that help older adults remain in their homes, if that is their preference, aided by services such as home-delivered meals, homemaker assistance, and whatever else it may take to make independent living a viable option.for them and their loved ones.

ACL's Eldercare Locator can connect you to your local ADRC or AAA and to a variety of other services. Visit or call 800-677-1116.

For people with disabilities of all ages, Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are another great first stop. These community-based centers are run by and for people with disabilities and offer a broad range of services to empower people to live independently, fully integrated in their communities. This interactive map provided by ILRU (Independent Living Research Utilization) can help you find contact information for your local center. 

Note: "Aging and Disability Resource Center," "Area Agency on Aging," and "Center for Independent Living" are all general terms, and the actual names of these organizations may vary.

Connecting to Specific Programs or Services

If you are looking for a particular service or information, the following may be able to help:

Abuse Prevention and Response

National Center on Elder Abuse provides resources on elder abuse prevention, including information on reporting a suspected case of elder abuse.

Protection and advocacy systems (P&As) work at the state level to protect individuals with developmental disabilities by empowering them and advocating on their behalf. There are 57 P&As in the United States and its territories, and each is independent of service-providing agencies within their states. P&As provide legal support to traditionally unserved or underserved populations to help them navigate the legal system to achieve resolution and encourage systems change. P&As ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to exercise their rights to make choices, contribute to society and live independently. Visit here to find state protection and advocacy systems contacts.

Related information:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline
is a nonprofit organization that provides crisis intervention, information and referral to victims of domestic violence, perpetrators, friends and families. You can reach the Hotline 24 hours at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology (AT) is any item, device, or piece of equipment used to maintain or improve the independence and function of people with disabilities and seniors, in education, employment, recreation, and daily living activities. AT devices can be “low tech” like a built-up handle on a spoon to improve the ability to grasp, to “high tech” computers controlled with eye blinks. AT devices can be do-it-yourself, or even consumer electronics like home automation solutions that are more than just a convenience for a person with a disability! AT includes the services necessary to get and use the devices, including assessment, customization, repair, and training.

The Assistive Technology Program gives grants to every state to offer help to people with a disability in finding and acquiring the assistive technology that best meets their needs. You can get information on a wide variety of devices, help with acquiring devices, and even "try it before you buy it".

Contact information for state assistive technology programs can be found in the State Assistive Technology Program Directory.

Hurricane Response

Do you or a loved one need help after a storm? Get information and resources to help connect you to services in your area.

Limb Loss

The National Limb Loss Resource Center reaches out to and empowers people affected by limb loss and limb differences to achieve their full potential through education, support, advocacy, and the promotion of limb loss prevention. Services offered include information and referral, a robust peer mentoring program and information on assistive technology such as prosthetics and orthotics.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Long-Term Care Ombudsmen are advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, assisted living facilities and similar adult care facilities. They work to resolve problems of individual residents and to bring about changes at the local, state and national levels that will improve residents’ care and quality of life.

Thousands of local ombudsman staff and volunteers work in communities throughout the country as part of the statewide ombudsman programs, assisting residents and their families and providing a voice for those unable to speak for themselves.

Locate an ombudsman.

Long-Term Care Planning

At some point in our lives, about 60 percent of us will need assistance with things like getting dressed, driving to appointments, or making meals. Planning is critical, but many people are not sure what is covered by insurance, and people are often misinformed about what is covered by Medicare. In fact, in a 2015 survey of Americans over the age of 40, 36% mistakenly believed that Medicare would pay for ongoing care at home by a licensed home-health aide.

National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information provides information to help people better plan for long-term care needs. Information on in-home and facility-based long-term care options is provided.

Related information:

- Guide to Long Term Care for Veterans
The Guide provides information about long term care options - home and community based, and residential care. Website:

- Nursing Home Compare
The primary purpose of this tool is to provide detailed information about the past performance of every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in the country. Website:

Meals and Nutrition Programs

ACL's Administration on Aging provides grants to states to help support nutrition services for older people throughout the country.  The programs provide health-promoting meals in a variety of group settings, such as senior centers, and faith-based settings, as well as in the homes of isolated older adults.

These nutrition programs also provide a range of related services through the aging network’s home-delivered meal providers and congregate meal providers. There are related nutritional services which include nutrition screening, assessment, education and counseling. Nutrition services also provide an important link to other supportive in-home and community-based services such as homemaker and home-health aide services, transportation, physical activity programs, chronic disease self-management programs, home repair and modification, and falls prevention programs.

The Eldercare Locator can help you find meals programs in your area. Visit or call 800-677-1116.

Related information:

- Dietary Guidelines for Older Americans
The Dietary Guidelines provide authoritative advice on how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases.

- The American Dietetic Association
The ADA website contains a section specifically designed for older adults who are interested in learning more about nutrition.

- NIHSenior Health – Eating Well As You Get Older
This easy-to-use website features basic nutrition information for older adults from the National Institutes of Health.

A federal resource that provides easy access to all online federal government information on nutrition. Website:

- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
This site provides information on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, including eligibility and application information. Website:

Medicare and Medicaid Options

Get counseling on your Medicare coverage options: The State Health Insurance Assistance Program uses local volunteers to help people with Medicare understand and select from their various Medicare coverage options including Part D drug plans, managed care (HMO), and Medigap plans.

Preventing and Reporting Medicare fraud: The Senior Medicare Patrol uses local volunteers to help people with Medicare protect, detect and report Medicare fraud.

Related Information:

- Official U.S. government site for Medicare beneficiaries.

Information on Medicaid programs from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Federal government website providing resources on health insurance including information on the Affordable Care Act.

Quick guides to healthy living and a variety of tips and tools.


The Paralysis Resource Center provides comprehensive information for people living with spinal cord injury, paralysis and mobility-related disabilities and their families. Resources include information and referral in multiple languages; a peer and family support mentoring program; a military and veterans program; multicultural outreach services; and a free lending library.

State Developmental Disability Councils

DD Councils work to promote the inclusion and independence of people with developmental disabilities

Online Tools and Resources

In addition to the above programs that provide specific help, there are a number of information resources available online. We have included some that are not owned and operated by the federal government. Linking to these sites is not an endorsement of the content found there.

Benefits - Understanding Federal Government Benefits
This site is the official government benefits website. It is a free, confidential tool that helps individuals find government benefits they may be eligible to receive. Website:

Behavioral and Mental Health
Suicide Prevention Resource Center or call hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
Caregiver Resources

There is a wealth of information on the Internet designed to assist family members and caregivers of older adults. Here are a few useful links to get you started.

Alzheimer’s Association CareFinder
This site assists those who care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease in finding good care in their community.

ARCH –The National Respite Locator Service
This service helps parents, caregivers, and professionals find respite services in their state and local area that mach their specific needs.

Ask Medicare
This initiative offers information, tools and materials to assist the caregiver and their loved ones in making informed healthcare decisions.

Family Caregiver Alliance
This site features information on programs at national, state and local levels that support and sustain caregivers.

National Alliance for Caregiving
This site features publications and resources for caregivers, including the Family Care Resource Connection, where you can find reviews and ratings of more than 1,000 books, videos, websites and other materials on caregiving.

Healthy Living

HealthFinder is a government Web site where consumers will find information and tools to help them and those they care about stay healthy.

This website features basic health and wellness information for older adults from the National Institutes of Health.

This website, produced by the National Library of Medicine, brings consumers information on diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in easy to understand language.

Health Information for Older Adults – CDC
This section of the CDC website promotes health, chronic disease prevention, and quality of life among older Americans.

Go4Life, an exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging at NIH, is designed to help adults 50+ fit exercise and physical activity into your daily life. Website:


U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
The HUD website offers housing financial assistance resources and guides for making informed decisions.

Information for Disabled Persons

Information for Senior Citizens

Non-Elderly Disabled (NED) Vouchers

LeadingAge website contains information about housing and long-term care services and facilities.

Preparing for Emergencies

Older adults and people with disabilities often have unique needs in emergency situations. They and their families and caregivers should take steps to prepare for emergencies.

With advance planning, it is possible to accommodate issues such as mobility limitations and the need for battery or electrically powered medical devices or durable medical equipment. Without it, these limitations could negatively impact a person during a crisis.

At a minimum, each individual (with the assistance of his or her caregiver, if necessary) should create a kit of emergency necessities. This should include medication, food, water, batteries or chargers, and any supplies that pets or service animals may need. Individuals should also talk to friends, family, and neighbors to create a support network that can help with communication, transportation, and essential care during periods of time when other community-based services and supports are not available. Most important, they should learn the locations of the nearest Functional Needs Support Shelters appropriate to their needs.  The following websites have additional information: Emergency Management Resources for Seniors:

Emergency Management Resources for People with Disabilities

ACL National Family Caregiver Support Program-Just in Case Emergency Readiness for Older Adults and Caregivers

CDC Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults 

CMS Emergency Preparedness Checklist

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline (1-800-985-5990)

FEMA Mobile App for phones and tablets

Red Cross Disaster Apps for phones and tablets

Aging and Disability Advocates and Service Providers

The aging and disability networks include government organizations and government funded programs, as well as private organizations that advocate and/or provide services for older adults and people with disabilities. This list is not necessarily all inclusive, and linking should not be considered endorsement of the content found on these organizations' sites.

Aging Organizations

AARP is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to addressing the needs and interests of persons 50 and older. Site provides useful information and resources on topics such as: health and wellness; economic security and work; long-term care and independent living; and personal enrichment.

Alliance for Retired Americans
The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security

American Geriatrics Society (AGS)
AGS is a not-for-profit organization of over 6,700 health professionals devoted to improving the health, independence and quality of life of all older people. AGS provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policy makers and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy.

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) SeniorSite
The American Foundation for the Blind has developed an online information center that provides common sense solutions to living with vision loss. It offers hope, help and encouragement to both people experiencing vision problems and their family members and provides links to local agencies that can help.

American Society on Aging
The American Society on Aging is a nonprofit organization committed to enhancing the knowledge and skills of those working with older adults and their families. Site offers useful resources on a variety of aging-related topics.

Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO)
LCAO is a large coalition of the nation’s non-profit organizations serving older Americans. LCAO’s 56 member association is diverse and dedicated to preserving and strengthening the well-being of America’s older population.

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A)
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) is the leading voice on aging issues for Area Agencies on Aging and a champion for Title VI Native American aging programs. Through advocacy, training and technical assistance, we support the national network of 650 AAAs and 240 Title VI programs.

National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD)
Founded in 1964, the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD) is a non-profit association representing the nation’s 56 officially designated state and territorial agencies on aging.

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
The mission of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, a membership organization, is to protect, preserve, promote, and ensure the financial security, health, and the well being of current and future generations of maturing Americans. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare acts in the best interests of its members through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts, and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff.

National Council on the Aging (NCoA)
NCoA is an association of organizations and professionals dedicated to promoting the dignity, self-determination, well being, and contributions of older persons. The Senior’s Corner section of the site contains health related resources and tips.

Disability Organizations

American Association of People with Disabilities
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities.

Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living
The Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) is a national grassroots, nonprofit membership organization consisting of over 260 members from centers for independent living, their satellites and branch offices, statewide independent living councils, other organizations and individuals concerned with the independent living issues of people with disabilities living in rural America.

Association of University Centers on Disabilities
The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is a membership organization that supports and promotes a national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs. These programs serve and are located in every U.S. state and territory and are all part of universities or medical centers. They serve as a bridge between the university and the community, bringing together the resources of both to achieve meaningful change. 

Autistic Self-Advocacy Network
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement with regard to autism. ASAN believes that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which Autistic people enjoy the same access, rights, and opportunities as all other citizens. We work to empower Autistic people across the world to take control of our own lives and the future of our common community, and seek to organize the Autistic community to ensure our voices are heard in the national conversation about us. 

Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities
The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities is a coalition of approximately 100 national disability organizations working together to advocate for national public policy that ensures the self determination, independence, empowerment, integration and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society.

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), founded in 1979, is a leading national civil rights law and policy center directed by individuals with disabilities and parents who have children with disabilities. They work on the core principles of equality of opportunity, disability accommodation, accessibility, and inclusion.

National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD)
Founded in 1964, the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD) is a non-profit association representing the nation’s 56 officially designated state and territorial agencies on aging.

National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
The National Council on Independent Living is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. Founded in 1982, NCIL represents thousands of organizations and individuals including: individuals with disabilities, Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), and other organizations that advocate for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the United States. NCIL advances independent living and the rights of people with disabilities.

National Organization on Disability
The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a private, non-profit organization that promotes the full participation and contributions of America’s 57 million people with disabilities in all aspects of life. NOD focuses on increasing employment opportunities for the 80-percent of working-age Americans with disabilities who are not employed. 

TASH is an international leader in disability advocacy. Founded in 1975, TASH advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs. They work to advance inclusive communities through advocacy, research, professional development, policy, and information and resources for parents, families, and self-advocates.

The Arc
The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.

Last modified on 11/02/2018

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