Daniel Goodman
Director, Johnson County Area Agency on Aging
Johnson County has a plan in place to handle the aftermath of $2.1 million cut to Kansas’ Senior Care Act which funds services to help older Kansans remain in their homes.
While Johnson County’s Human Services and Johnson County Area Agency on Aging are still waiting to find out how much Johnson County funding was cut, the estimate is $235,000.
Directors of the 11 AAAs in Kansas met in Topeka on Friday to examine the impact of the cuts. The $2.1 million reduction will result in a 30 percent decrease to the program and is estimated to negatively impact more than 1,300 seniors across the state. Seniors will receive letters as early as June indicating if services will need to be terminated or reduced.
Johnson County has implemented a “waiting list” and a “priority list” for area seniors who qualify for services.
“This cut will have a significant impact on the older residents of Johnson County,” said Dan Goodman, director of the Johnson County Area Agency on Aging. “The cut to Senior Care Act funding will severely limit a primary resource which allows Johnson County seniors the independence from nursing facilities through in-home supports and services. We are concerned about the rapidly narrowing options seniors and their families have in Kansas.”
The Senior Care Act program was enacted by the Kansas legislature in 1989. The legislature recognized that many older Kansans may face difficulties maintaining independence in their homes and wanted to avoid premature nursing home stays. Johnson County’s AAA offers information resources and referrals, nutrition services such as Meals on Wheels and hot meals at neighborhood centers, in-home services, legal consultation and more.
“A cut of $2.1 million to the Senior Care Act program will undermine in-home services to senior citizens in Kansas and cost the state significantly more in the end,” said Janis DeBoer, executive director of the Kansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging & Disabilities. “These cuts are shortsighted because nursing homes cost thousands of dollars more than Senior Care Act service that keep the elderly in their homes as long as possible.”