In 2011, United Way 2-1-1, Connecticut’s statewide toll-free information and referral service, received more than 50,000 calls from or regarding Connecticut residents aged 55 and over. A review of these calls offers valuable insight into the needs of older adults in our state.
Among the many calls 2-1-1 receives are those from older adults who suddenly find themselves raising their grandchildren. Frequent requests are for school-related information and benefit programs for their grandchildren. The 2-1-1 website offers an eLibrary paper for Kinship Caregivers which covers custody, guardianship, adoption and other resources and the Kinship Navigator which makes it easy to browse the array of services that these grandparents may need. This information is also available by dialing 2-1-1.
2-1-1 call specialists, on duty 24 hours a day, also handle frequent inquiries for heating assistance, financial assistance, housing and healthcare issues from older adults. Requests for utility and heating assistance topped the list of requests for services from callers age 65+ in 2011.
Recent calls typical of those handled by 2-1-1 call specialists include calls from:
- A 91-year-old woman who is trying to maintain independence and avoid nursing home care, and needed utility assistance to help with winter fuel bills.
- An 82-year-old from woman who needed transportation to her primary care physician.
- An adult daughter searching for physician referrals and help with a hearing aid for her mother who lives alone.
- A 75-year-old couple seeking in-home assistance.
- An 80-year-old man searching for senior housing options.
- A son, caring for his elderly parents, who needed to find adult day care and respite care services so that he could return to work.
In addition to their comprehensive, continually updated database of resource listings, the 2-1-1 website, http://www.211ct.org, includes more than 60 aging-related eLibrary papers summarizing key information on topics ranging from Advance Directives to Handicapped Parking Permits to Veterans Benefits.