Advocacy Programs for Blair County Seniors
and At Risk Residents
Information and Advocacy in Long Term Care
The word “Ombudsman” is a Swedish term that means “citizen representative.” An Ombudsman advocates for the rights of all residents in personal care homes, nursing homes, long term care facilities, domiciliary care homes and adult day care centers. Blair Senior Services, Inc.’s Ombudsmen visit over 45 long term care facilities in the area. They investigate and mediate complaints related to the health, safety, and rights of long term care consumers. They also visit with residents to proactively determine whether care providers are respecting their rights, meeting their needs, and resolving their concerns.
To get in contact with an Ombudsman, call 814-296-6336. Or, click here to learn more about Pennsylvania’s Ombudsman Program.
Power of Attorney, Will Preparation, Guardianship, and Legal Services
Blair Senior Services, Inc. can provide a referral for consumers to have a Power of Attorney documents or a Will prepared by an agency-contracted attorney, at no charge to the consumer. Making legal preparations for the future is one of the most important tasks for seniors to accomplish. However, many seniors don’t fully understand the nature of these documents, don’t grasp the urgent need to prepare, or they can’t afford to hire an attorney to help. In each of these situations, Blair Senior Services, Inc. can help by providing guidance, information, and assistance.
There are two main types of wills: a Last Will and Testament and a Living Will. A Last Will and Testament is a document that allows you to provide instructions on how your property should be distributed when you pass away. Through a Last Will and Testament, you can distribute real estate, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and vehicles and possessions by specifying who should receive what, and when they should receive it. You can also choose the executor of your will, who is charged with making sure that the instructions are followed accurately. Without a Last Will and Testament, it is up to the government to dictate how your property will be distributed and who will serve as executor.
By contrast, a Living Will is a legal document that only has power while you are alive. A living will becomes necessary when a person is incapable of making medical decisions and is either permanently unconscious or in the end-stages of a terminal condition. Your living will gives instructions to your physician outlining what, if any, life-sustaining treatment you desire. This way, you can direct your treatment, even though you are unable to give instructions directly. And, it will spare your family from making those difficult decisions for you.
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a signed document appointing someone you trust to handle your affairs in the event that you are unable to do so. In that situation, your POA ensures that someone who understands your desires and wishes is acting on your behalf, rather than a court-appointed agent who might not be the person you would have chosen. In addition to advocating for your care and well being, an agent with POA can pay bills, make deposits, sell real estate if necessary, make business decisions, and prepare your income taxes. In Pennsylvania, you are required to put your POA in writing. POA documents should be signed, have two witnesses, and be notarized. Given this heightened scrutiny, it is always advisable to have a POA prepared by an experienced attorney.
Given the complicated nature of these legal services, let alone the onerous expense of legal fees, many seniors are ill-equipped to fully prepare for the future. Blair Senior Services, Inc. is here to help with legal services, so you can have peace of mind. Please contact Blair Senior Services, Inc. at 814-946-1235 to get started.
Power of Attorney and Guardianship Services
Blair Senior Services, Inc. provides Power of Attorney and Guardianship Services on an as-needed basis for older persons who have no other responsible party to manage their personal and/or financial needs.
Housing Assistance for Blair County Residents in Crisis
Blair Senior Services, Inc. provides financial assistance to help resolve housing crises involving rent, mortgages, utilities, temporary shelter, and security deposits. The Agency administers several local, state, and federal programs with Housing Case Managers coordinating intake, eligibility, and assistance based on funding availability. To be eligible, you must reside in Blair County, be facing an imminent housing crisis, provide documentation of recent expenses and income, and approved assistance must resolve the immediate crisis. These programs are available to residents of any age; however, most are limited to household incomes at or below 150% of federal poverty levels. In addition, Housing Case Managers develop individualized consumer plans to avoid future crises. Plan areas stress budgeting, education, and self-responsibility. The Agency’s Housing Assistance Program is designated as a Local Recipient Organization for the Emergency Food & Shelter Program.