office aging

Huffaker

For more than 40 years, Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) have provided meaningful, cost-effective options for adults age 60 and over to live healthy, engaged, secure lives in their homes and communities. Our communities need strong, integrated supports to make connections for individuals as they age. All of these supports are needed to effectively prevent more expensive services and address elder abuse and neglect.

AAA’s work with public and private partners to provide the right supports, promoting independence and healthy aging, and enable people to stay connected and engaged as they age. Transportation, meals, home care, senior centers, adult day care, and other types of support prevent social isolation and connect people to their communities. AAAs leverage federal, state and local resources so they have the flexibility to ensure their communities’ local needs and preferences are taken into consideration and the resulting local delivery system is tailored to their communities.

The older adult population in Pennsylvania continues to grow, the Census predicting individuals over age 65 will comprise 21% of the total Pennsylvania population by 2030.

Of those served by AAAs, 30 percent have incomes below the federal poverty level, and 78 percent would financially qualify for Medicaid Long Term Care if based on income alone. The majority of these individuals do not have the level of need that would require the type of care provided by a nursing home, however they still have significant needs that necessitate services from AAAs. Those In-Home non-Medicaid services support the older adult, delaying and/or diverting them from Medicaid enrollment. Due to limited funding, many services have been reduced or eliminated. Statewide there are approximately 3,000 people on waiting lists for services because of inadequate resources.

In February 2017, our local agency was forced to start a waiting list for services due to lack of funding. Presently we have 60 people waiting for services in Adams County. Due to the combination of flat funding, the increase in the number of older Pennsylvanians, and the significant needs of these older residents, the Adams County Office for Aging, Inc. (ACOFA) is advocating for critical increases in funding.

ACOFA relies on lottery funding to provide valuable services to ensure that seniors can age at home and in their communities. Over the past ten years, $3.4 billion has been transferred from the Lottery Fund to the General Fund for Medicaid funding. Please help preserve the Lottery fund designated for seniors aging at home by reducing the transfers and fund all aging-related services at a level sufficient to eliminate waiting lists and assure continuity of care.

There has also been a significant push for increased funding for Older Adult Protective Services. In Adams County we have had a 400 percent increase in protective services reports and consequent investigations of neglect or abuse and providing or arranging services to alleviate and prevent further abuse. Unfortunately this funding has also not been increased proportionately.

Bottom line, ACOFA needs your help to advocate with our local state Rep. Dan Moul (717)334-3010 and Rep. Torren Ecker (717)259-7805 and state Sen. Doug Mastriano (717)259-4169. We need increased funding to keep up with inflation while helping to meet the ever increasing needs and growing numbers of older Adams County residents. We need additional funding for Older Adult Protective Services. Finally, we need help to preserve Lottery proceeds in order to fund all aging-related services at a level sufficient to eliminate waiting lists and ensure that valuable services continue.

Vicki Huffaker is the executive director of the ACOFA Inc. and can be reached at (717)334-9296 or vhuff@acofa.org.

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