After contracting COVID-19 and spending 21 days on a ventilator at a Denver hospital, Gloria’s string of misfortunes continued after recovering from the virus.
Shortly after being discharged, Gloria — an undocumented older adult who is a monolingual Spanish speaker — was greeted with a medical bill totaling nearly $350,000 because she didn’t have insurance.
With nowhere left to turn to for help, Gloria began working with Brothers Redevelopment’s Aging in Place senior services program — a resource that empowers older Coloradans to age in place by bundling all the information they need to know about services under one roof. And thanks to the work of Brothers Senior Services Spanish Coordinator Eden Armendariz, the hospital waved $329,000 off Gloria’s medical bills. Armendariz also helped Gloria set up a payment plan to pay the remaining $20,000 balance over the next three years.
Without Brothers, Gloria and her family would’ve gone into debt and struggled paying for necessities during a time when prices continue to rise throughout the country.
Gloria’s success with the Aging in Place Program is an example of Brothers fulfilling its mission of being a compassionate organization that stands in the corner of Colorado’s most vulnerable residents. Her story is also an example of the kind of impact the Aging in Place Program aims to achieve.
Since the program’s inception in 2017, Aging in Place has connected thousands of older adults to resources like Medicaid, Social Security, food assistance, rental/mortgage assistance and more. From July 21, 2021, to May 22, the program has provided 42,096 services that amount to a program wide cost savings of $1,864,424.72.
Cost savings is by far the biggest success that the program has brought to older adult households. When we say that the program has provided cost savings of $1,864,424.72, we mean that in 2022, clients are receiving monthly benefits or other services that amount to a total savings of $1,864,424.72.
These benefits and services are resources that our clients have a right to access. But often times, we’ve found that our clients simply did not have information about benefits and resources they are entitled to.
Brothers’ ability to connect older adults to additional income, rent and utility assistance and other services has been vital for many residents who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising costs of necessities.
According to a 2021 survey conducted by The Commonwealth Fund — which works to promote a high performing health care system — older adults in the country have suffered the most economically from the pandemic compared to their counterparts in other surveyed countries. Around 19% of Americans age 65+ either used up all or most of their savings or lost a job/source of income because of the pandemic, the survey says.
“During this time of escalating costs, the Aging in Place staff is continuing its commitment to offering services to all older adults. Many older adults do not know that there are benefits that they are missing or are eligible for,” said Brothers Resident Services Manager Gary Olson. “Our program offers a benefits checkup which reveals areas that may increase income. This year we have helped over 3,000 people, which is our best year yet.”