July 16, 2010
Cuts in Home Care Put Elderly and Disabled at Risk
By JOHN LELAND
HILLSBORO, Ore. — As states face severe budget shortfalls, many have cut home-care services for the elderly or the disabled, programs that have been shown to save states money in the long run because they keep people out of nursing homes.
Since the start of the recession, at least 25 states and the District of Columbia have curtailed programs that include meal deliveries, housekeeping aid and assistance for family caregivers, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a research organization. That threatens to reverse a long-term trend of enabling people to stay in their homes longer.
For Afton England, who lives in a trailer home here, the news came in a letter last week: Oregon, facing a $577 million deficit, was cutting home aides to more than 4,500 low-income residents, including her. Ms. England, 65, has diabetes, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, arthritis and other health problems that prevent her from walking or standing for more than a few minutes at a time.
Through a state program, she has received 45 hours of assistance a month to help her bathe, prepare meals, clean her house and shop. The program had helped make Oregon a model for helping older and disabled people remain in their homes.
But state legislators say home care is a service the state can no longer afford. Cuts affecting an additional 10,500 people are scheduled for Oct. 1.
For more, see: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/us/21aging.html?_r=3&th&emc=th.
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