Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to some common questions are available below. Please click on a question to view its answer.

What kind of organization is Resources for Seniors?

Resources for Seniors, Inc. is a not-for-profit agency incorporated in 1973 as the Wake County Council on Aging. We changed our name in 1997 to reflect our guiding mission and better explain what we do. We are not a government agency; however, we are designated by Wake County Commissioners to be the lead agency for a variety of aging and disabled services for Wake County residents with the goal of reducing fragmentation and increasing quality service for all Wake County residents.

Can Resources for Seniors serve a resident of another county?

In most cases, services that are backed by public funding are restricted to residents of Wake County. Private-pay services can be provided outside of the county at the discretion of the department offering the service. To find similar services in other North Carolina counties, or elsewhere in the country, go to the Eldercare Locator.

If I am not sure what services are available for my family what should I do and who can I call?

Call Resources for Seniors and ask to speak to someone in our Information Department. Our phone number is 919-872-7933. These professionals can help you clarify your needs and pinpoint services that may be helpful, as well as educating you about eligibility requirements, application procedures, etc.

What are Adult Day Services?

Many impaired adults, including those who are memory-impaired, spend most of their day with their spouse or adult child. An adult day center can be an alternative. At an adult day center, the individual will spend the day with people who are their age, with similar impairments. Resources for Seniors operates five Total Life Centers throughout Wake County which offer supervision, recreation, caring staff, a safe environment and nutritious meals. The centers are open from 8 AM - 5 PM with extended hours in the evening and early mornings for working caregivers. For additional information, visit our Total Life Center page or call 919-872-7933 and ask to speak to someone in the Information Department.

What does Medicare pay for and what does Medicaid pay for?

Medicare is federal health insurance which is available to Americans 65 years of age and older, and some disabled individuals. It covers routine medical care as well as acute episodes such as hospitalization and rehabilitation after leaving the hospital. Medicare Part A pays for hospitalization, Medicare Part B pays for doctor visits, and Medicare Part D pays for prescription drugs. Parts B and D are optional, and require the recipient to pay a premium. Like all insurance policies, Medicare doesn’t cover 100% of all expenditures. Seniors usually buy supplemental or "Medigap" insurance to cover Medicare copayments and deductibles, and to pay for some non-covered expenditures. Medicare may pay for short-term nursing home care or home health care after an illness. In general, however, Medicare does NOT pay for long-term care, either in nursing homes or in the community. For more information on Medicare, visit the Medicare website. Much helpful information on Medicare and Medigap is also available from SHIIP, the Senior Health Insurance Information Program of the NC Department of Insurance.

Medicaid is a health care and long-term care program for financially needy individuals, paid for with a combination of state and federal dollars. Typically, a person or couple has to have very low income and very few assets (less than $2000 for an individual or $3000 for a couple) to be eligible for Medicaid. For senior citizens, Medicaid serves as a supplement to Medicare, paying the premiums, deductibles, and copays, and offering some services not covered by Medicare, such as long-term care. In most states, Medicaid will pay for nursing home care; in some, including North Carolina, clients also have the option of remaining in their homes and receiving in-home services and adult day services (see CAP/DA). Applications for Medicaid are taken at the county level. In Wake County, call Wake County Human Services Adult Economic Services at 919-212-7000 for information about applying. More information about Medicaid may be found on the NC Medicaid website. You can also call Resources for Seniors for more information, at 919-872-7933.

What do you do if you do not qualify for Medicaid, but cannot afford to pay for in-home care?

There are very limited funds available in Wake County for in-home aides and adult day services. Eligibility for the funds is based primarily upon the availability of funds, and need. Currently there is a 1-2 year waiting list for subsidized in-home aides and adult day services. Call the RFS Information Department to be placed on the waiting lists.

My relative lives alone, and our family does not think she can take care of herself. What can we do to help keep her in her home?

We would like to assist you in keeping her at home. Sometimes, a variety of services must be put into place to help an older adult remain independent. For instance, Meals on Wheels may provide a hot noon meal, a personal emergency response system can provide a way to call for help, a companion/homemaker may come for a few hours a week to help with errands, shopping, and housecleaning, and transportation services may be put in place to get the older adult to medical appointments. Our trained Consultation and Referral Specialists are familiar with the variety of services that are available in Wake County, and may be able to help you find what you need to help your relative preserve her independence.

What is the difference between Assisted Living and Nursing Home care?

Understanding the levels of care will assist in your placement decision. Some facilities are licensed to offer multiple levels of care. Other facilities may only offer one level. Levels of care provided in long term care facilities are described below:
  • Nursing Care is appropriate when the patient needs ongoing nursing intervention and supervision following illness or for chronic conditions. It is also appropriate for short term intensive physical, occupational or speech rehabilitation therapy. The patient’s care is under the direction of a physician.
  • Adult Care Homes (Assisted Living) provide custodial care for persons who do not need medical intervention. Medical transportation, assistance with personal hygiene, and 24 hour supervision are provided. This level of care can be provided in a nursing facility, adult care (or assisted living) home, family care home, or DDA home (group home for developmentally disabled adults). In North Carolina this level of care is licensed as "adult care".

For a list of facilities in Wake County, see our Long Term Care Resource List, or see the Medicare website Nursing Home Compare page (nursing homes only).

If I am not a senior but I am disabled, what services are available for me?

If you are Medicaid-eligible and at a nursing home level of care, the Community Alternative Program for Disabled Adults (CAP/DA) offers a variety of in-home and community support services to help you remain at home. If you are not Medicaid-eligible, the Wake Independence at Home program may be able to assist. Other programs in our system that can help support adults with disabilities include the Total Life Centers, the Weatherization Assistance Program, and the MEDS program. Contact the Information Department at Resources for Seniors for more information about program requirements and eligibility.

Who provides transportation for older adults?

In Wake County, there are several transportation operators. Resources for Seniors offers limited transportation for persons 60 and older to nutrition sites, grocery shopping and medical appointments in selected areas.

Accessible Raleigh Transportation (ART) is a transportation program for City of Raleigh residents with permanent mental or physical disabilities which prevent them from driving a vehicle or using the city bus service. Call ART at 919-996-3459 for details.

Wake County also provides door-to-door public transportation services in some parts of the county under the TRACS program. See our Community Resources Database, for more information or call Information Services at 919-872-7933.

In Cary, the C-Tran program (also called Cary Transit) provides door-to-door and fixed route transportation services. See www.townofcary.org/ctran/ctranoverview.htm for more information.

What is the difference between a home health aide and a companion?

A home health aide receives up to 120 hours of health care training and must pass a competency test. They are called Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). In North Carolina only CNAs can provide personal care. If you call an agency for assistance with personal care, such as providing a full bath, the agency must send you a CNA.

Companions are individuals hired by you or through an agency to provide supervision and socialization of your family member, as well as running errands, doing light housekeeping and meal preparation, providing transportation, etc. There is no required training or licensing for companions.

Companions and Home Health Aides do not provide heavy cleaning services. They will clean up after the care recipient but usually refrain from doing extensive cleaning.

If you are interested in hiring a companion, call the Resources for Seniors office and ask for a Companion Registry or download our online Companion Registry. These workers have been through a training program offered by Resources for Seniors, including first aid and CPR certification, and have had basic background and reference checks.

How can I support the work of Resources for Seniors?

We are always seeking volunteers -- see our Volunteer Opportunities page for details.

We also accept contributions. We are a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. You can mail your contribution directly to Resources for Seniors, at 1110 Navaho Drive, Suite 400, Raleigh, North Carolina 27609. Please visit our donation page for more options, including online donations.

We are a Triangle United Way Agency. United Way funds support four services of Resources for Seniors, enabling us to provide affordable and accessible services. The four services are: Total Life Centers, In-Home Aide services, Senior Activity Centers, and our most popular program - Home Repair.

In addition, corporations can be sponsors of our Directory of Resources for Older and Disabled Adults in Wake County, published annually.