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Hundreds Rally to 'End the Wait, Fill the Plate'

Not long after the 2011 General Assembly adjourned, AARP Kentucky began reaching out to and mobilizing its grassroots supporters across the state in support of its top 2012 legislative priority: increase the Department for Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) budget. AARP and other senior advocates are calling on state lawmakers to put more money where vulnerable seniors' mouths are, by increasing funding for aging home and community-based services.

See Also: Home and Community-Based Services and Supports for Older People

Increasing the Department of Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) budget is a top priority on AARP’s 2012 General Assembly advocacy agenda. In November, hundreds of seniors packed in the state Capitol calling for increasing DAIL’s budget in the 2012 General Assembly. They delivered a clear message to Governor Beshear and lawmakers in Frankfort – “End the Wait, Fill the Plate.”

Hundreds of messages collected by AARP this past year on ordinary paper plates were delivered to Governor Beshear and lawmakers. AARP has been collecting seniors’ messages on paper plates to raise awareness of lawmakers as part of its “End the Wait, Fill the Plate” campaign. AARP is fighting for more funding to meet today’s needs of 19,000 vulnerable Kentuckians on DAIL’s waiting lists including 8,200 seniors waiting for meals.

Too many seniors and disabled citizens who want care at home are struggling; care is often uncoordinated and people frequently end up in costly institutional care settings. According to a recent AARP survey of its Kentucky members, 69 percent said their top priority is staying in their own homes for as long as possible.

Despite most Kentuckians’ desire to receive care at home, the state spends only 19 percent of its long-term care funds on home and community-based services. According to AARP Kentucky State President James Kimbrough, “Our older citizens send a consistent message when asked – let us stay in our homes; give us the basic services and supports so that we can remain part of our community. Losing their independence remains one of the greatest fears for seniors.”

Increasing funding aging services saves taxpayer dollars and improves the quality of life for individuals who need services to better enable them to live at home – where they want to be. Kimbrough added, “It’s time to end the wait and make these basic support services a priority. AARP is committed using all its resources and mobilizing grassroots activists to make this happen.”
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