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Services For Independence

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where do I begin when looking for services for myself or my elderly loved one?

    LifeLong Links can connect you to Iowa's aging and disability resources, serving as a single point of entry to local resources. Modeled on the "no wrong door" approach, LifeLong Links provides a single coordinated point of entry to many of the state's information and referral resources, including COMPASS, the Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and Iowa 2-1-1. Connections Area Agency on Aging and any Iowa Area Agencies on Aging, as local sites for LifeLong Links, are a good starting point for anyone looking for more information on services for themselves or their loved ones. There are many resources and organizations able to assist in meeting your needs, and our Information and Referral Specialists and Options Counselors can help you to determine where to look first, and this website is intended to be one of those tools.

  • A senior is in need of services to remain in their home, but they cannot afford to pay for these services, are there any options?

    There are multiple options available for seniors on fixed incomes. The first step is to contact Connections Area Agency on Aging/LifeLong Links and speak with our Options Counselors. We can instruct the senior about how to enter our network of clients. Once the physical and financial needs have been established, we can refer seniors to appropriate payment options, which include private pay, long term insurance, or public assistance. For more information about in-home services or to begin the process of entering our network of clients please call us toll free at 800.432.9209.

  • First of all, you need to determine at what age you'd like to retire. You are eligible to begin drawing your Social Security benefits at 62 years of age. Keep in mind that if you retire before the age of 65, you will receive less money per month than your full retirement benefit. To begin receiving your Social Security benefits you must phone your local Social Security office six months prior to your retirement date. They will instruct you as to what steps you must take to begin receiving monthly payments.

    If you retire between the ages of 62 and 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare at age 65, and you will receive your card in the mail about 3 months prior to the month of your birthday.

    If you delay your retirement past the age of 65, you will need to talk with your employer regarding your health care coverage to determine your optimal options. As is the case in earlier retirement planning, you will need to alert Social Security of your intentions six months prior to the date of your determined retirement. You can apply for Social Security and/or Medicare on-line at or make an appointment at your local Social Security office. To find your local office:

  • The State of Iowa has a Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) with trained volunteers to assist seniors with their health insurance decisions. Connections Area Agency on Aging is a local sponsor this program in Council Bluffs and Sioux City. These volunteers do not sell, endorse or promote particular companies or agents,presenting unbiased information in order for you to make an informed decision. Welcome to Medicare Seminars are held on a regular basis throughout the state and are beneficial for people starting Medicare, caregivers, and professionals who would like to know more about Medicare. More information regarding the SHIIP program is available at, or to speak to a SHIIP counselor directly call 800.351.4664. To set up an appointment to meet with a counselor in your area, call Connections Area Agency on Aging at 800.432.9209.

  • Information to help you decide on a Medicare approved drug plan is on-line at, click on the "find health and drug plans" button, and walk through the Plan Finder step by step, answering the questions and adding your prescription information, until your best drug coverage is shown to you. Our SHIIP counselors can help you with this process or you can receive help by calling Medicare at 1-800-Medicare, and also through Iowa's Senior Health Insurance Information Program at 1.800.351.4664. Once you determine which plan is your best fit, then you can enroll on-line with the Plan Finder on the Medicare website or contact one of our SHIIP counselors.

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