Elderly Kansans Losing In-Home Services
Joyce Clark, 82, takes pride in cooking her own meals and living independently. Clark cites volunteer work and voracious reading for keeping her sharp. It also helps that a home care worker spends about five hours a week cleaning Clark’s Topeka apartment, doing her laundry, and helping her with grocery shopping. But funding meant to keep seniors like Clark out of nursing homes by offering them in-home services soon will be cut. It’s one of the steps the state is taking to eliminate a $151 million shortfall in the state’s $16 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Opponents say the move will drive the elderly into nursing homes and onto Medicaid, which will cost the state more money in the long run. Democratic Rep. Nancy Luck, of Overland Park, called the cuts “foolish” and “harmful to seniors.” She blames a 2012 tax policy that exempted over 330,000 business owners and farmers from income taxes.
Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, said it’s unlikely that more seniors will resort to nursing homes as a result of the cuts, because most of the clients receive only two to four hours of service per week. Instead, she said that family and community members would likely take up the slack and help those seniors. The in-home services that cost Clark about $35 a month are offered through the state-funded Senior Care Act, created in 1989. Seniors pay for the services on a sliding scale based on their income.
Source/more: Associated Press via Lawrence (KS) Journal-World
David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.