How Sequestration Will Impact Seniors in Connecticut

The Connecticut Association of Area Agencies on Aging (C4A)

The five Area Agencies on Aging in Connecticut provide Older Americans Act funding to community based service providers to serve seniors across the State. The National Council on Aging estimates that sequestration would result in cuts of Older Americans Act funding for Connecticut seniors of $1,314,216. These funds are currently used to provide community based services such as meals, transportation, in-home assistance, adult day care, health services and assistance for caregivers. In Connecticut, this would result in estimated losses of the following services:

Nutrition programs would provide 117,500 fewer meals to 1,650 fewer people.

  • Older Americans Act funds support home delivered meals for individuals who are home bound and unable to shop and cook for themselves as well as community café meals at senior centers, housing complexes, and community centers across the State. These are nutritionally balanced meals that assist seniors to remain healthy. In addition, home delivered meal drivers provide a daily check up on homebound seniors.

Transportation programs would provide 10,765 fewer rides to 300 fewer people.

  • Transportation providers provide seniors with rides to medical appointments, to Senior Centers and nutrition sites, to grocery stores and banks, and to visit loved ones in nursing homes or hospitals.

Social Service programs would provide 6,815 fewer hours of services to assist 1,600 fewer people.

  • These programs connect older adults, individuals with disabilities, and their caregivers to the most appropriate and necessary community based services. Without these linkages, many of your constituents will enter the long term care system prematurely through acute care settings; unaware that cost-effective options were never more than a phone call away.

In-Home Service programs would provide 6,375 fewer hours of service benefitting 300 fewer seniors.

  • Essential in-home care services such as homemakers, home health aides, and chore services allow a person to stay safe and comfortable in their own homes and avoid or delay nursing home care.

Adult Day Centers would provide 4,600 fewer hours of care to 30 fewer seniors.
Adult day care services provide a safe and stimulating environment for frail seniors during the day and provide much needed respite for their caregivers. Older Americans funds assist people who are unable to afford all the services they need to keep their family member safe each day.

Legal Service providers would provide 485 fewer hours of assistance to 80 fewer seniors.

  • Legal service providers assist low-income seniors in addressing complex legal issues relating to access to essential income, adequate shelter, health care, consumer rights, etc.

Senior Centers would provide 5,400 fewer hours of programming to 75 fewer seniors.

  • Senior Centers are central locations where seniors can obtain information, education, health services, and participate in a wide variety of activities that help them remain active and healthy.

Health Service providers would provide 2,875 fewer services to assist 520 fewer seniors maintain good health.

  • Health screenings, dental services, and access to evidence-based health promotion workshops help seniors stay healthy longer and reduce future Medicare and Medicaid expenses.

4,200 fewer Caregivers would receive 7,975 fewer support services.

  • Older Americans Act projects provide caregivers of seniors and seniors who are raising grandchildren with supports such as information, training, and counseling as well as much needed respite to help them continue to care for loved ones at home.

What does the Affordable Care Act do for Seniors?

By now I’m sure many seniors have heard that the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.  So much has been talked about, written about and expounded on for the past two years that many of us have lost sight of what this law will do to help vulnerable people, especially seniors.  Here are just a few highlights of the law that are of benefit to older adults.

  1. Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition, such as asthma, cancer, diabetes or heart disease.
  2. Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to charge women more then men for the same coverage.
  3. Preventive care will be covered free of charge for mammograms for women and wellness visits for seniors
  4. 5.3 million seniors will save approximately $600 a year on prescription drugs
  5. Efforts will continue to protect Medicare by cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse
  6. You continue to have a choice of insurance coverage

These are just a few of the benefits to seniors.  For more information on the Affordable Care Act go to www.whitehouse.gov.

– By Marcia Hickey, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives