According to an article in Senior Housing News, Minnesota is one of nine states surveyed in a recent report by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) that looked at the impact of sequestration and other national budget cuts on services for seniors.
The report, called Squeezing Seniors: Aging Community Fears National Crisis as a Result of Federal Budget Cuts, warns that ‘seniors who are able to remain in their private homes with the help of federally-funded services are at risk of losing their independence.’
While Minnesota Area Agencies on Aging say that they were able this year to off-set some of the stagnant and reduced funding, they are unsureof how they will do so if the cuts continue as expected. Already they report 100% of them have cut nutrition services, 50% have cut their transportation and their caregiver services.
The cutbacks affect Medicare services as well as certified home health providers feel the pinch. Across the Twin Cities metro, Lifesprk staff are hearing that there are significant delays in starting Medicare home health services, taking as long as a week or more to get services in place for discharged clients.
The n4A report states that ‘it is counterproductive to cut the cost-effective, preventive services that help people stay healthy and at home.’ Agencies are finding that they will ‘need to either cut services or more likely . . . reduce the number of people we serve.’
They state that these cuts have occurred at the same time there is greater demand for services, both due to the increasing number of older persons and the poor economy.