From the Executive Director
Frail low-income older adults will receive fewer home delivered meals and other vital home care services due to implementation of the federal sequester. As of March 1, funding for Older Americans Act programs across the country was reduced approximately 5%. That means fewer services for struggling older adults who need services the most.
In this region, about $140,000 in service funding will be lost. Unfortunately, the funding reduction is impacting programs that have already taken hits. State funding for meals and home care programs was cut 28% over a recent three year period. State funding for home delivered meals is at virtually the same level as 1997. Obviously, costs have risen significantly during that time frame. And the older adult population has increased by more than 25%. Adding to the challenge of serving older adults is the reduction in senior millage funding due to declining property values.
Consequently, meals and other services have been cut. Waiting lists grow across the state and country. Older adults who have given so much to our communities go without help.
AAAWM staff hopes to offset the cuts for this year by using unallocated funding and reserves. However it will be impossible to continue that in future years if there are additional cuts. According to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Republicans and Democrats are so far apart on budget issues that the threat of more reductions is very real.
So if people tell you that not much has changed due to sequestration, share with them how older adults across the country are trying to get by with less. Also, contact your U.S. Senators and Congressman about the impact of sequestration. Older adults need your advocacy support.