New branch hours begin January 2, 2022. Learn More

New branch hours begin January 2, 2022. Learn More

Support & Help

Aging Resources

Older adults may or may not consider themselves “seniors.” As we age, our needs, goals, and priorities change. We’ve pulled together a list of resources for older adults to help you in your search for information or inspiration for yourself or a loved one.

Table of Contents
Learn, Grow, & Connect
Health Insurance
Social Services
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Services
Further Reading

Reach out to a librarian with any questions or for one-on-one assistance navigating these resources!

Call 574-282-4646
Visit any library location


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “As an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age. Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none at all. Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do.” The overall message is move more and sit less.

For articles and how-tos related to exercise and older adults, visit Medline Plus, an online health information resource produced by the National Library of Medicine.

  • SilverSneakers is a health and fitness program designed for adults 65+ that’s included with many Medicare Plans.
  • Access live online fitness classes and an on-demand video library of prerecorded workouts.
  • Take fun exercise classes designed for seniors of all fitness levels led by trained instructors.
  • Go to thousands of gyms, community centers, and other participating fitness locations across the nation.
  • You can check your SilverSneakers eligibility at

In South Bend, SilverSneakers is accepted at O’Brien Fitness Center and YMCA Partnership and The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center. Contact your favorite gym to see if they accept SilverSneakers.Find lots of articles on different types of exercise, getting started, and staying motivated in the SilverSneakers blog.

Learn, Grow, & Connect


What do you want to learn? Find more than 2,000 lifelong learning opportunities—all tailored for South Bend, Indiana! Lots of online learning with more in-person learning opportunities being added as time goes along. Explore learning tracks to improve your everyday life, practice a new language, start your own business, try new hobbies, and learn from other community members.

The Bendable app is available on any internet-connected device – computer, laptop, tablet, phone. Sign up for Bendable using your St. Joseph County Public Library Card or enter a South Bend zip code to get a temporary 30-day access to all of Bendable. Need a library card? Find out how to get a SJCPL card here.

Senior Planet

Senior Planet’s goal is to teach older adults (age 60 and above) around the nation how to use technology in order to improve their lives. Their site offers a wide range of free classes, tutorials, lectures, and articles on using computers, cloud storage, smart TVs, social media, online dating, video chatting, and much, much more. Online classes also cover fitness, art, mindfulness, and other topics relevant to older adults. Membership to Senior Planet is optional. Senior Planet and OATS (Older Adults Technology Services) are charitable affiliates of AARP.

Have a technology question? Call the National Senior Planet Hotline: 920-666-1959 Open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm EDT.

Forever Learning Institute

Forever Learning Institute is offered right here in St. Joseph County for anyone age 50 and up. Take 10-week courses in history, political science, music, foreign languages, creative arts, literature, spirituality, health and wellness, technology and computers, and business. Classes taught by people who are well-versed and passionate about their field. Classes provide plenty of opportunity for interaction. $55 per course but scholarships are offered. During the pandemic, FLI is offering classes virtually through Zoom, but they look forward to returning to in-person instruction in the future. 574-282-1901

University of Notre Dame’s Inspired Leadership Initiative

Make the move from “retired life” to “inspired life” through Notre Dame’s Inspired Leadership Initiative aimed at people who may be at retirement age but are interested in applying themselves in new, challenging ways. Spend a year on campus exploring and discerning how to apply your skills, talents, and interests in the next phase of your life. Check out the FAQ page to see if the program might be right for you or email questions to Lauren Fox at

Listen to the Inspired Leadership Initiative’s Inspired Conversations online series available to everyone through ThinkND, the University’s open online learning community. Inspired Conversations’ guest speakers will share stories, perspectives, and lessons learned from their own experiences as leaders – personally, within their organizations, and in their communities. The spring 2021 conversation, “Transforming Lives and Lives Transformed,” will focus on: pursuing a second act, the intersection of spirituality and leadership, and solving societal problems.

BBC Future: a look at the 100 Year Life

BBC Future’s 100 Year Life series offers a global look at lifestyles that lead to longevity. Here’s an article from the series: “The Ingredients for a Longer Life.” BBC Future describes itself as a home for slowing down, delving deep, and shifting perspectives by offering in-depth evidence-based analysis and deeply researched stories on “almost every topic that matters.”

Next Avenue PBS is a journalism website launched by PBS with advice, information, conversations, and stories curated for people over 50. Read stories online about living with purpose, careers, health, money, family, entertainment, and more. Next Avenues presents original essays by readers in Telling Our Stories. Follow Next Avenue on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, or sign up for their email newsletters.

Health Insurance

Medicare – Who is Eligible and What Does it Cost

According to the US Department of Health & Human Services:

“Generally, Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, younger people with disabilities and people with End Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant). Medicare has two parts, Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medicare Insurance). You are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are age 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years.”

“While most people do not have to pay a premium for Part A, everyone must pay for Part B if they want it. This monthly premium is deducted from your Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or Civil Service Retirement check. If you do not get any of these payments, Medicare sends you a bill for your Part B premium every 3 months. Since January 1, 2006, everyone with Medicare, regardless of income, health status, or prescription drug usage has had access to prescription drug coverage. For more information, you may wish to visit the Prescription Drug Coverage site.”

If You Are Not Eligible for Medicare

Hoosier Care Connect is a health care program for individuals who are aged 65 years and older, blind, or disabled and who are also not eligible for Medicare. This is an Indiana Medicaid program.


According to the US Department of Labor, the average American spends roughly 20 years in retirement. Experts estimate that you will need 70 to 90 percent of your pre-retirement income to maintain your standard of living when you stop working. For most workers, a multifaceted approach to retirement savings includes Social Security retirement benefits.

Social Security Administration

Full Retirement Age
Full retirement age is the age when you will be able to collect your full retirement benefit amount. The full retirement age is 66 if you were born from 1943 to 1954. The full retirement age increases gradually if you were born from 1955 to 1960, until it reaches 67. For anyone born 1960 or later, full retirement benefits are payable at age 67.

Early Retirement Age
You can get Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62. However, your benefit is reduced if you start receiving benefits before your full retirement age.

Delayed Retirement Age
When you delay collecting benefits beyond your full retirement age, the amount of your retirement benefit will continue to increase up until age 70. There is no incentive to delay claiming after age 70.

Ready to retire? You can submit your SSA benefits application online at SSA warns of long wait times, but the SSA phone number is: 1-800-772-1213

Publications on Retirement Planning

If you are approaching retirement, find publications in English and Spanish produced by the US Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, on topics of “Retirement and Healthcare Coverage” and “What You Should Know About Your Retirement Plan.” Or visit the US Department of Labor’s Consumer Information on Retirement Plans.


Veterans age 65 and over may be eligible for a wide-variety of benefits available to all U.S. military Veterans through the US Department of Veterans Affairs. For helpful tips, reminders, and explanations for retiring veterans, visit

Social Services

Area Agency on Aging/Aging & Disability Resource Center

If you search the internet for information related to seniors, you often run across the phrase, “contact your local Area Agency on Aging” to find local resources and social services for seniors. Websites might also direct you to find your local “Aging and Disability Resource Center.” According to, Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging/Aging and Disability Resource Centers have been designated to cover 16 geographic regions within Indiana and are charged with providing a comprehensive array of services to, and advocating for, the needs of Hoosiers residing in their areas.

If you live in St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, Kosciusko, or Marshall County in Indiana, your Area Agency on Aging/Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) is located at REAL Services in South Bend. The ADRC at REAL Services provides options counseling for individuals and their caregivers. Certified care managers talk with you to learn about your situation, answer your questions, and present you with options according to your needs and circumstances.

REAL Services, Inc.

1416 E Mishawaka Ave
South Bend, IN 46601

  • Serves 5 Indiana counties; St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, Kosciusko, and Marshall
  • Certified Care Managers speak with you one-on-one to learn about your unique situation and tell you about services that might meet your needs.
  • Takes applications for the Aged & Disabled Medicaid Waiver

Aged & Disabled Medicaid Waiver
The Aging and Disability Resource Center at REAL Services also accepts applications for the Medicaid Waiver that may help pay for services that a person needs in order to remain in an independent living setting. According to, the Aged & Disabled Medicaid Waiver “allows individuals who are aged, blind, or disabled to remain in their home as an alternative to nursing facility placement.” Individuals must meet eligibility requirements to qualify for the waiver. You can call REAL Services for helpful information about this.

Meals on Wheels
REAL Services is also home to the Meals on Wheels program that provides nutritious noon and evening meals for homebound individuals aged 60 and above who can no longer prepare meals for themselves. Phone: 574-256-1649. A printable intake form is available online that you can print, fill out, and mail in or scan to email to

Transportation Assistance
REAL Services offers transportation assistance to people aged 60 and up for essential appointments and meetings. The service is not income based and there is no charge although donations are encouraged. Phone: 574-284-7174. A printable intake form is available online that you can print, fill out, and mail in or scan to email to

Saint Joseph Health System Telecare Program

This is a free telephone reassurance service sponsored daily (Mon.-Sat.) by the Saint Joseph Health System Auxiliary and supported by Mishawaka Medical Center. Speak to a volunteer caller daily to hear a friendly voice and connect with someone outside your home. Great for people who live alone because you call in or receive a call every day. For more information or to request an application, call Volunteer Services at 574-335-1125.

Milton Adult Day Services

“Milton Adult Day Services, a service of Center for Hospice Care, provides a structured setting to adults who need health, social, and support services during the day. This community-based service is designed to meet the individual needs of functionally impaired adults who require supervision during the day. Milton Adult Day Services promises to be respectful, offer opportunities for an enhanced quality of life, and assure your loved one’s safety.” Call to schedule a visit to see if Milton Adult Day Services would be a good outlet for you or if it could help enrich the life of a loved one. 574-232-2666. Located at 922 E. Colfax Ave., South Bend

SAGE, Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders 

24/7 SAGE Hotline: 877-360-LGBT (5428)

SAGE “makes aging better for LGBT people nationwide.” Offers a hotline for LGBT older people and their caregivers to talk with friendly responders who are ready to listen and certified in crisis response. Hotline responders provide information about community support resources such as healthcare, transportation, counseling, legal services, and emotional support programs. Offered in English and Spanish, with translation in 180 languages.

US Department of Health & Human Services – Healthy Aging

Visit this site for lots of educational information and nationwide resources on healthy aging as well as caregiver resources, retirement planning, elder justice, mental health, disease specific information, prescription drugs, nutrition, and more.

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Services

“Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease and the most common form of dementia. Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a group of symptoms.” -The Alzheimer’s Association

“More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease.” -The Alzheimer’s Association

“It is estimated that over 110,000 Hoosiers are living with Alzheimer’s disease while over 338,000 care partners provide unpaid care and support.” -Alzheimer’s & Dementia Services of Northern IN

If you have Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia or are helping care for someone who does, you can reach out to the following organizations for free expert advice, education, and training from compassionate professionals. Discover ways to connect with a community of professionals, caregivers, and people living with dementia who understand what you are going through and can support you along the way.

The Alzheimer’s

24/7 Helpline 800-272-3900
This is a totally free helpline that provides 24/7 in-the-moment support whether you are struggling with something happening in your home right now, grappling with an on-going issue, or simply feeling confused, overwhelmed, or in need of information. They also follow up your phone call by emailing you information sheets or educational material directly related to the issues you discussed on the phone. They also can connect you with support groups (currently virtual) that fit your schedule., powered by the Alzheimer’s Association®, is a free online community for everyone affected by Alzheimer’s or another dementia, including: people with the disease; caregivers; family members; friends; individuals who have lost someone to Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Services of Northern IN, a Division of REAL Services

922 E. Colfax Ave.
South Bend, IN 46617

  • Hotline: 888-303-0180 staffed 8am-5pm, Mon.-Fri. Call for information on Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, referral to local services, troubleshooting, long term care planning, and assistance with challenges you are facing right now.
  • Website: Find Alzheimer’s and dementia related disease information that is concise and well-organized. Quarterly newsletter posted here.
  • Support Group: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Services of Northern IN holds a drop-in online support group on the 1st & 3rd Wednesday of every month at 2pm – no registration or invitation required. Find the link to join the session posted here or call 888-303-0180.
  • Education: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Services of Northern IN offers a monthly calendar of virtual classes through their Care Partner Academy. Visit their website to see a current list of classes and email to register. Find downloadable educational booklets here on topics such as “Things to Know and Do After the Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease or a Related Dementia” and “Caring for the Caregiver.”
  • One-on-One Care Consultation: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Services of Northern IN continues to meet with people in-person or through Zoom to help you and family members coordinate care, learn about resources, and discuss long term care planning.


“A caregiver gives care to someone who needs help taking care of themselves. The person who needs help may be a child, an adult, or an older adult. They may need help because of an injury or disability. Or they may have a chronic illness such as Alzheimer’s disease or cancer.” –Medline Plus Trusted Health Information for You by the US National Library of Medicine

“About 1 in 4 Americans are caregivers. Most caregivers also have other jobs and spend an average of 24 hours a week caring for a loved one.” –My Healthfinder Office of Disease Prevention & Health Promotion, US Dept. of Health and Human Services

Eldercare Locator

A public service of the US Administration on Aging connecting you to services for older adults and their families. Enter your zip code to get started or call 1-800-677-1116 Mon-Fri 9am-8pm ET.

INConnect Alliance

“We understand that caring for a loved one can be hard, but we’re here to help! Throughout Indiana, there are programs and services to support caregivers. We have listed resources to help you be the best caregiver you can be.” Find resources for families, spouses, partners and disease/disorder specific support.


Resources for caregivers and their families whether you have just begun the caregiving process or are a caregiver veteran. Connect with other caregivers from all walks of life.

LGBT Senior Guide: Key Considerations and Resources

Provides a detailed review of issues that LGBTQ older adults may face when seeking housing, healthcare, and support services. Helpful to keep in mind if you are coordinating your own affairs or those of a loved one.

St. Joseph County Public Library

SJCPL patrons – search our catalog for material on caregiving including ebooks, e-audiobooks and physical books. Find out how to get a library card here. (You can apply for a digital access library card without leaving your home!)

Further Reading

Getting Started with Long-Distance Caregiving by the National Institute on Aging

Caregiver Stress & Burnout
Understand caregiver stress and burnout and what to do about it from

Caregiver Stress: Tips for taking care of yourself by Mayo Clinic

Caregiver Burnout: Steps for Coping with Stress by AARP

Caregiver Stress by Alzheimer’s Association

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