Nevada seniors face more service cuts

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Right now is not a good time to be a senior citizen in Nevada if you have limited funds and poor health, and live in a rural county. Also, if Medicare is your only insurance, you can forget eyeglasses, dental care and hearing aids. Funding for senior programs is at an all-time low while the population of older Nevadans continues to explode.

For the Nevada Rural Counties RSVP Program, it has been difficult to explain to seniors why we can't provide all the transportation services that we used to, and why we can't give 24/7 caregivers more breaks from their care giving, and why our pro bono attorney has no travel budget to get to the rural counties so that her regular visits to help them may end.

This is all due to losing funding of $400,000 from Congress voting down the omnibus bill, a $40,000 cut from Congress when they cut RSVP programs by $13 million, and a cut of $102,000 from 2010-11 levels from Nevada's Aging and Disability Services Division (ADSD). That left us with $26,000 to provide transportation services for seniors in rural counties. RSVP could handle this amount from ADSD before because of the other subsidies, but with those gone, it became impossible to provide the same services. This was explained in our proposal to ADSD asking for more funding for transportation, but it wasn't granted.

Now I see that the long-term and post-acute-care profession is uniting to launch a nationwide informational campaign, "Care, Not Cuts," and will run its first ad in Nevada soon featuring nurses.

The whole campaign is geared to get the message across that after all the cuts nursing homes have endured, deeper cuts targeting them simply go too far. We wish them success, as seniors need quality care when placed in a nursing home, and shouldn't just be warehoused.

I have said it before, and I'll say it again: Congress needs to cease giving millionaires and billionaires outlandish tax breaks and subsidizing huge oil companies. Congress needs to stop playing their political games and start working together for the good of all Americans, especially our seniors who have paid their dues, over and over again. Stay tuned!

* Janice Ayres is president of Nevada Senior Corps Association.


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