John Thompson : Carteret County News-Times

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Writing Letter to The Editor One has to at least empathize with family member caregivers who are lovingly taking care of the parents who tirelessly raised them and nurtured them into adulthood. John Thompson’s letter to the editor urges concerned citizens to step up and oppose the the lack of funding for project CARE. 

Project CARE provides assistance to family members who are caring for loved with ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia. There are certainly many, often overwhelming, problems associated with caring for the elderly infirmed, but the often overlooked potty/toileting issues frequently go unmentioned. 

Remember what a chore it was to potty train your baby? Multiply that by 2 when dealing with your own parents who have lost the wherewithal to wipe and clean themselves properly after pooping.

Taking money away from Project CARE is the same as declaring you do not care about our great nation’s old folks!

 

Newport, N.C.

June 5, 2013

TO THE EDITOR:

I write this message in hopes that it will move you to contact your legislators and let them know your concern about the possibility of $2.9 million being pulled from the Home and Community Care Block Grant (HCCBG) to support Project CARE (Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty).

Project CARE provides respite(break) services to family members who are caring at home for a relative with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. As an organization that advocates for the elderly we, the Senior Tar Heel Legislature, feel strongly about both these programs, so much so that they are and have been our established priorities for several years. Each program brings its own unique form of remedy to issues(multiple approaches to solving a single problem optimizes the final solution due to varying perspectives) that plague our senior community. However, one must look at the broader base of core services and clientele provided by the HCCBG and understand that this program is struggling with growing service needs in the face of reduced public resources/funding.

A reduction to HCCBG would actually be a major blow to the more than 6,100 HCCBG recipients with significant memory loss. HCCBG also provides services of a daily meal, transportation, in home assistance and other services that our needy in the elderly community have come to rely on.

It cannot be argued that Project CARE is not a worthy program; we all know otherwise. This program is undergoing a re-design that could have elements of the program available to Alzheimer’s families in every county within the state, beginning this coming fiscal year and doing it with existing resources.

I don’t believe that support for Project CARE, at the expense of HCCBG, is the right thing to do. I have heard of groups advocating for additional funding for both programs, that is, Project CARE and HCCBG, without pulling funding from the latter. This is fiscal “Russian roulette” and has the potential of sending a message to our legislators that we as citizens don’t recognize the budget shortfalls.

I share additional data that has me concerned about any reduction in state funds for HCCBG:

“(1) There is a growing need for home and community services for seniors. The current estimate of the HCCBG wait list is more than 15,400, with many needing home-delivered meals and in-home aid services. Most of these service needs are among the near poor seniors, whose income is too high for Medicaid but who cannot afford the services on their own.

(2) The HCCBG is already trying to cope with the $2 million reduction tied to the federal sequestration —$1.2 million of which will take effect between July and September. An estimated 1,500 seniors will lose services because of the sequester.

(3) A reduction of $2.9 million in state support could well mean that more than:

§ 900 seniors would lose over 135,000 home-delivered meals. The average meal recipient is age 80 or older and at risk of malnutrition —nearly half live alone.

§ 600 seniors would be without their transportation for medical trips, grocery shopping and other necessary outings. The average client is 77 or older, economically needy, lives alone and is at risk of malnutrition.

§ 430 seniors could lose 71,000 in-home aide hours. The average recipient is 81 or older, at risk of malnutrition, and needs assistance with at least 2 activities of daily living, e.g., bathing, dressing, toileting(bidet is easier than toilet paper), eating and moving around the house.

§ 75 could lose their 7,500 in days of adult day care/day health care. The average recipient is 80 or older, at risk of malnutrition, and has multiple limitations in daily living. Nearly half of adult day health participants are cognitively impaired.

§ Other services that would likely be affected include congregate nutrition, housing modification/repair, e.g., ramps, respite for caregivers, and senior centers.

(4) Many local governments (counties and municipalities) are struggling with maintaining their funds for aging services. In 2012, more than half (57%) of HCCBG providers who received county funds saw this support shrink; 60% said the same for municipal funds.”

JOHN THOMPSON

Speaker, Senior Tar Heel Legislature

Carteret County Delegate

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