The Heritage Area Agency on Aging, the Agency for Eastern Iowa, is pleased to announce the launch of LifeLong Links™, a statewide service for aging Iowans, Iowans with disabilities, veterans and their caregivers as they begin to plan for long-term independent living.
Administered by the Iowa Department on Aging, LifeLong Links is available to all Iowans who need home and community-based services, as well as their loved ones and professionals who work with aging and disability issues. Through a coordinated network and robust database, LifeLong Links provides access to many of the state’s information and referral resources to help individuals learn which programs are available in their community and connect them with local or regional service providers.
“No matter our age or ability, we all strive for independence,” explained Iowa Department on Aging Director Donna Harvey. “From the time we are very young, doing things on our own and caring for ourselves provides an enormous sense of self-worth – a feeling that grows, rather than diminishes, as we move through life. Maintaining independence at home or in a community of choice is one of the few things a person can control as other aspects of life change, so it’s important to make sure Iowans know how to access services that exist to help them live independently.”
Consumers may access LifeLong Links by visiting www. lifelonglinks.org, calling 866.468.7887 or stopping by one of the LifeLong Links Local Coordination Centers located throughout the state, including the one located at the Heritage Agency office in Cedar Rapids (6301 Kirkwood Boulevard SW). From there, individuals can request information about support services related to a specific topic (e.g., housing, health and medical services, caregiver assistance, nutrition, transportation, etc.) or complete an assessment to allow an information and referral specialist to evaluate the situation and provide appropriate guidance.
Depending on the needs of the consumer, he or she also may be referred to a trained options counselor who can begin a person-centered, interactive planning process to help identify long-term support preferences and develop an individual action plan.
“At Heritage, we have always been dedicated to helping the consumers we serve access the programs and benefits they need to live the highest possible quality of life in the setting of their choice,” said Heritage Interim Director Jill Gleason. “LifeLong Links is a statewide initiative that will enhance our efforts to provide accurate, unbiased information on all aspects of life related to aging or living with a disability and enable more Eastern Iowans to maintain their long-term independence.”