EL CENTRO — Imperial County Area Agency on Aging had their budget request for $632,989 approved by the County, Tuesday.
The state and federal funds will provide 11 various services for the elderly community, among them Alzheimer care to the afflicted and their caregiver, and to Catholic Charities which plays a major role in food distribution for the shut-ins and those that can make it to the charity’s dining areas. Catholic Charities have been providing food for the elderly for 27 years according to Cheryl Viegas-Walker, Area Aging manager.
The Area Agency on Aging is the county’s main resource to provide for the senior citizens in the Imperial County, the care also extends to the caretakers, by mainly sending a replacement for a few hours to give the caretaker a much needed break.
Norma Saikhon, Public Administrator, reminded the board that the state and federal funds have been cut in half the last few years, yet the numbers of elderly that require their service continues to rise.
“We’ve fallen asleep in lobbying for funding. I didn’t realize how much state cut your budget. We need to do a better job in finding your department money,” said Supervisor Jack Terrazas, Dist. 2.
Saikhon informed the board there is a “huge waiting list for respite care for Alzheimer caregivers. They can’t leave their loved ones alone safely. The need is greater than our funds. It is not unusual to lose the caregiver before the patient.”
Walker added that “there is no designated Alzheimer facility in the valley. If families need to place loved ones in a facility that accepts medicare, they have to go out of county. That is hard on families.”