Options Counseling Program can help navigate health care system
June 1, 2020

Joan Hatem-Roy, Chief Executive Officer

Q: My grandmother fell and broke her hip and has been in a rehabilitation facility following surgery for a broken femur. She soon will max out on the days Medicare and her private insurance will cover which means she will need to pay for her remaining stay at the facility. The facility is recommending placement in their long term care unit instead of my grandmother returning back to her home. One of my siblings think this is because the facility knows she would be private pay. My grandmother wants to return to her home. I realize she would require a lot of assistance in her home with daily tasks if she did return. My parents are currently living out of the country so it is up to her grandchildren to assist in this process. This is something we are totally unprepared for and have no idea what we should be doing. Is there anyone who could work with us to understand what her options are?

A: Navigating the health care and elder care system can be confusing and challenging. The average person should not be expected to be aware of what services are available, eligibility guidelines, costs involved or how to go about putting together a safe plan for someone who requires assistance in the community. Fortunately you do not have to go through the process on your own. No cost help is available.

In 2010 the Options Counseling Program was established to assist older adults (60+), individuals with disabilities, family members and caregivers in making decisions regarding supportive services. The goal is to evaluate all options available allowing the individual and/or family to pursue the possibility of remaining at home or finding the most appropriate placement. The program is administered by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.

An Options Counselor can provide assistance by telephone, email or in-person. If a face to face meeting is a possibility this can be conducted at home, in a hospital, rehabilitation or nursing facility. In some instances a decision could be made at the initial contact or subsequent follow-up consultations may take place. Through their extensive knowledge of resources the Options Counselor makes every effort to support the consumer in finding the best available outcome. If the individual is located outside of the Merrimack Valley or North Shore area other agencies offering Options Counseling may be found at or calling 1-844-422-6277.


Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our experienced staff are available to offer assistance. Call 1-800-892-0890 (for the 23 cities and towns of the Merrimack Valley) or 978-750-4540 (for the 5 towns in the North Shore).

Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Direct correspondence to or
Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of Elder Services of Merrimack Valley and North Shore.

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