Aging in America: Seniors Will Be Stranded Without Needed Services

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) released the results of a national survey in June of this year which looked at the impact of rising costs and operations to programs coordinated by Area Agencies on Aging. The survey showed “that the approximately eight million older adults who are helped annually by Older Americans Act programs will suffer in 2009 if the costs borne by aging services programs continue to escalate while funding remains static.” Discouraged SeniorThe study identified that older adults and family caregivers will experience reduced access to services such as transportation for medical appointments, home-delivered meals, home health and adult day care and other in-home and community-based services. This will impact their ability to live independently, increase caregiver stress and could increase others governmental costs, for example, lead to increases in hospitalizations and nursing home placements. The demand for these higher cost services will impact the already stretched Medicare and Medicaid programs. The other repercussions will be upon the workplace, with caregivers stretched to meet these added needs financially and with time resulting in loss of productivity, absenteeism and more.

The survey did not take into account the current financial crisis at both the Federal and State levels. Many states supplement their Older Americans Act funds with their own resources. These tax revenues are in significant decline related to issues of the current economic downfall and will result in additional cuts in funding to these services. The study concludes that failure “to support aging services is a lose-lose proposition for older consumers, their caregivers and for governments.”

During this election season, I repeat what Tom Mann said in his previous post regarding dementia and lack of readiness, “Young or old, democrat or republican, we should all be concerned. It is time to act.” We hope whoever lands in the White House and Congress will see these issues and address them. It will not be an easy task.
In the meantime, you may ask, “What can I do?” This reminds me of the famous quote by the late President John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” We can contact our local Area Agencies and see if there is anything we can do to help. Maybe we could take a senior to a doctor’s appointment? How about deliver a meal?
Source: National Association of Area Agencies on Aging; http://www.n4a.org/news-room/?fa=view-article&id=150 July 15, 2008.

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One Response

  1. Reblogged this on Aging in America and Florida and commented:

    Thought I’d reblog this post as we near. These programs continue with the need for assistance as the society grows older.

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