(SACRAMENTO) – Assemblyman Manuel Pérez submitted a request today to the Assembly Budget Subcommittee 1 on Health and Human Services for the restoration of funds for community-based services in the Older Californians Act and urging the subcommittee to take the matter up at its hearing on March 26. The full letter is attached, with an excerpt provided here:
Over the last ten years, state funding for senior programs within the Older Californians Act has been slashed to the bone. Since 2004, approximately $25 million has been cut, resulting in the elimination or dramatic reduction of critical community-based programs and services,including Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Centers, Senior Companion, Linkages, Respite Care, Brown Bag, Caregiver Resource Centers, and the Long-term Care Ombudsman.
Community-based programs through the Older Californians Act enable seniors to remain independent in their own homes, avoiding costly placement into institutional settings. These programs provide seniors with nourishing meals, home visits, respite care, caregiver support, and case management, among other critical supports. Prior to the funding cuts, these services were delivered through a robust network of culturally competent and community-based organizations.
Unfortunately, the drastic cuts of the last ten years have done serious harm to the infrastructure of the aging services network, devastating the ability of Area Agencies on Aging to fulfill their mission to serve California’s older population. Especially now with the state’s older population on the rise and projected growth over the next three decades, we must make essential state investments to repair and revitalize this network of flexible, locally driven, person-focused services.
Advanced by the California Association of Area Agencies on Aging (C4A), the budget restoration request has so far gained support from the Congress of California Seniors, California Long Term Care Ombudsman Association, California Association of Public Authorities, California Health Advocates, American Association of Retired People, and the Los Angeles Aging Advocacy Coalition.
According to the Riverside County Advisory Council on Aging, the county has 357,560 residents over the age of 60, one-third of whom are disabled. Most rely on modest social security earnings as their sole source of income. Community-based services are essential to keeping this population healthy, active, engaged, and living independently.