In less than one month, vital services to older adults throughout the United States will be dramatically cut. As the holiday season begins, older adults, including the homebound, are concerned that services will stop on January 2, 2013 due to sequestration (a.k.a. the "Fiscal Cliff").
Sequestration is a cut of approximately eight percent of funding to all non-defense Federal programs, which will have a negative impact on seniors. If not solved in the next few weeks, sequestration could have a catastrophic domino effect on our seniors, our communities, our state, and our nation as a whole. The funding reduction would force an already-vulnerable population into an even more dangerous position by leaving our seniors stranded, malnourished, and lacking resources to combat elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
A dramatic eight percent reduction in funding means that the following scenarios become reality:
- The abused senior who is being financially exploited by his family may not obtain the legal advice he needs to try to recoup his money.
- The lonely neighbor who requires assistance with bathing, dressing, and toileting must make do with less care.
- The homebound senior who relies on transportation for medical appointments will scrape by with fewer rides.
- The hungry grandmother will miss more lunches and dinners.
- The frail grandfather will live with increased risk of injuries and falls.
These important services allow seniors to maintain independent lives in their own homes and keep them out of assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. Our communities and state, already resource-strapped, would be unable to handle the new influx and current, pressing needs of our seniors.
It is imperative that you contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives to put pressure on your elected officials during this lame-duck session. We must ensure the Older Americans Act and its amendments are preserved and improved upon so that our seniors can be safe and healthy.
In San Diego, Senior Community Centers’ staff, volunteers and hundreds of low-income senior clients are participating in a Paper Plate Campaign to draw attention to the 45,000 meals which will be cut if the fiscal cliff were to happen. More than 1,000 paper plates will have messages and signatures from local seniors who use our main downtown center and nine congregate dining sites throughout San Diego County. These are seniors who would be devastatingly affected by the arbitrary cuts.
If you’d like to add your message and signature, visit us at our Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center, located at 1525 Fourth Avenue, in Downtown San Diego on Tuesday, Dec. 11 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The plates will then be delivered on Wednesday, Dec. 12 delivering them to directly to the offices of our elected officials.
Ten thousand people turn 65 everyday. As our nation’s population matures, more people are asking for assistance from social service organizations like Senior Community Centers all across the United States. It is imperative to connect with your local congressional representative to let them know they need to quickly move forward and avoid the arbitrary cuts that affect the livelihood of seniors receiving the basic care they desperately deserve. If you are unable to join us and add your messages to our plates, send a message to your elected official via email or on the phone. Click here to easily find your U.S. Congress member and join us in sending them an urgent note today.