Across the board budget cuts affect long-term care for seniors



Posted on October 11, 2010 at 9:22 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 11 at 9:22 PM

SPOKANE-- Budget cuts continue to trickle down across the state. One of the latest effects is long-term care and that means some senior-services will be forced to scale back.

Governor Chris Gregoire has ordered an across the board budget reduction for this fiscal year. In December, some seniors could start to see a reduction in their services.

Aging advocates, AARP, caregivers, and seniors met Monday at East Central Community Center to discuss their future.

Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington has a quarter of a million dollars less in its budget for the first two quarters of next year. In Spokane and the surrounding four counties, that will result in cuts to case management programs, bathing assistance, minor home repair and home care, just to name a few.

Nick Beamer is with Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington. He says the agency can take care of about two or three people at home for the price of one individual in a nursing home and they can do it without having to put people in an institutional setting. 

In addition, people receiving in-home services stand to lose on average 10 percent of their monthly hours with caregivers who assist with dressing, toileting, and feeding.

Susan Young works as a home caregiver. She says she has clients that cannot get out of bed on their own. She wonders if those people will have to stay in bed longer because the state cut hours from them.

Advocates fear the state cuts will force more seniors into nursing homes, which they say is more expensive.

Ingrid McDonald is with AARP Washington. She says, ” this is the theme, there are cuts that are occurring to save the state money in the short run, but will ultimately cost more in the future so it’s penny wise pound foolish.”

The aging advocates asked people to vote no on two initiatives to help generate state revenue: I-1107, which repeals the beverage tax, and Tim Eyman’s I-1053 which requires a two-thirds supermajority vote to raise taxes.