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Safety Net Programs Bear the Burden of Budget Cuts

Older adults are capable of reshaping the future of this state. They can control the vote and have a powerful voice to be heard. What is the future of social services, education and the quality of life expected. As the fastest growing demographic for the next several decades, what will be the legacy of the boomers?

Many boomers have become the caretakers of elderly parents. These transitions are not easy. Think about losing your independence when you have always taken care of yourself and others. At this time there are services available to help these families and individuals, such as adult day health care facilities, which provide necessary social interaction and recovery services for its clients and a break for family caregivers.

One of the interesting things about the boomer generation is they never think old. However, no one can stop the aging process. What types of social services will be available for aging boomers and future generations? Reality can be a tough pill to swallow especially without water.

Particularly vulnerable are services provided by our Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) facilities. Just as recently as the last few months, the ADHC program was on the chopping block for elimination but with strong lobbying efforts by organizations like AARP and others funding was cut but not eliminated. However a significant gap in funding still exists because of across the board budget cuts.

If the funding is not found to bridge this gap some adult day health care facilities will have to close and/or reduce its client base. In the long run it will cost the tax payers more money because the only viable alternative is costly long term care facilities and nursing homes which far exceed the daily cost of ADHCs.

Mary Martin, a client at the Robertson Adult Day Health Care Center, lives with her daughter and son-in-law and would have no social life or community without this center. “We’re a family here,” Martin said. “For some people here this is the closest to family they get, we look after each other.”

Another client, Dawn Hatten, would not have the use of her hands and her speech would be greatly impaired without the center’s support. “After my stroke I thought I would never paint again,” Hatten said, while showing her latest work of art. “This place saved my life.”
Maybe it’s time for some ethical dilemma solving. Has the past and present governing body done the job that they were hired to do? Using ends-based thinking is the greatest good being done for the greatest number people in California?

It’s your time, think about the community where you want to live. How you want to age? Lawmakers are deciding your fate with every vote they cast. Be involved. The power of a phone call, e-mail or office visit has impact. While ADHCs may not be on your radar, AARP is fighting to protect the program so it is around for current and future generations. The decisions being made by lawmakers in Sacramento will affect you the rest of you life. What kind of life do you want?

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