Indiana’s Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled (CHOICE) ProgramContributed by Marci Wheeler
The CHOICE (Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled) Program is a resource that eligible individuals are using to receive support services in their homes. Services provided may include case management, transportation, attendant care, home delivered meals, homemaker services, various therapies provided in the home, respite care, access to adult day programs in the community, medical supplies and other services necessary to prevent residential placement into nursing homes, group homes, state hospitals and other large group living facilities. The state of Indiana has funded CHOICE for all 92 counties since July 1, 1992, as part of a statewide IN-Home Services Program. The IN-Home Services Program brings together funding from CHOICE, Title III of the Older American’s Act, Social Services Block Grant, Older Hoosiers Account, Medicaid Waivers and local funding.
The program serves those who are 60 years of age or older and persons with disabilities of all ages who are eligible due to long term or life long limitations such as dependence on others to bathe, dress, eat, or go to the bathroom; limitations in ability to express personal needs and/or understand the communication of others; limitations in learning and maintaining self care, communication, social and/or domestic skills; limitations in the ability to move purposefully between environments; and limitations in the ability to make decisions, show acceptable judgment, and/or recognize the consequences of one’s actions. The program is available regardless of income, but there is a basic fee or cost share for services based on a sliding fee scale.
The CHOICE program is accessed by contacting the local Area Agency on Aging office for the county in which the applicant resides. Eligibility is based on meeting the conditions listed on the Long-Term Care Services Eligibility Form. The Eligibility Form first looks at previously determined severe, complex and unstable medical conditions. In addition, other substantial medical conditions are assessed which may limit Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Activities of Daily Living include tasks such as bathing, eating, dressing, using the toilet, taking medication, and ambulation and mobility.
Significant deterioration in the previous six months is also taken into consideration. Beginning in 1995 with the passing of House Act 1382, individuals limited in two Activities of Daily Living are eligible for the CHOICE Program.
If you are interested in more information about and/or applying for CHOICE, or any of the other IN-Home Services (including Medicaid Waivers), please contact the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Office for your county or the state office at 1-800-986-3505. To complete the application process, make an appointment with the appropriate staff at the local AAA. The actual appointment can take place in your home, at the AAA office, or at any agreed upon community location.
Services through the CHOICE Program are only one component in an array of IN-Home Services that contributes to the ability of Hoosiers who are elderly and/or disabled to live in their own homes and maintain successful lives in their local communities. Unfortunately, most of the 16 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) have waiting lists. The good news is that there are statewide commissions, task forces and other advocacy groups committed to addressing this issue.
Wheeler, M. (2003). Indiana’s Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled (CHOICE) program. The Reporter, 8(2), 17.