Finally, some recognition of elderly needs | NevadaAppeal.com

Finally, some recognition of elderly needs

Janice Ayres
Special to the Nevada Appeal

On June 5, Nevada Appeal featured an Associated Press story, “Elderly to Benefit from New Legislation,” by Rachelle Gines, and it spelled out some of the benefits seniors will be given in the next biennium.

You may recall that last year some long-time senior advocates formed a new association, the Nevada Senior Corps Association, to advocate for senior issues. There are 40 members who operate programs that count on Tobacco Settlement Funds (TSF) to help seniors remain independent and in their own homes as long as possible, and would cease to exist without the TSF.

They have successfully accomplished this for eight years for more than 15,000 seniors for about $4.5 million a year. The funds remaining would cover 17 more years!

The TSF were a critical issue in the past two special legislative sessions and also in this regular session when both Lt. Gov. Krolicki and Gov. Gibbons attempted to securitize the

$1.5 billion left in the TSF for Independent Living grants. They were willing to give this up for $340 million to plug up the hole in the state budget.

This makes no fiscal sense at all when it can cost around $80,000 a year to institutionalize one senior. That is not only penny wise and pound foolish, but seniors deserve to remain at home as long as possible.

The Legislature turned it down every session as a bad deal, thank goodness. Our seniors of today are the “Greatest Generation,” and in case anyone has forgotten, it was their many sacrifices and contributions that helped to build this great state. I believe they deserve better treatment for their efforts than losing their ability to remain at home as long as they can.

We learn every day that many seniors are unaware of the services available to them, so here are some answers:

The RSVP Web site http://www.nev

adaruralrsvp.org has many links to senior services as does the Nevada Division for Aging Services, http://www.nvaging

.net.

In addition there is a program called Nevada 211 that provides phone assistance to help seniors find the help they need in their area. You can go to http://www.neva

da211.org or simply dial 211,

24 hours a day! These three resources will provide most of the senior services now available in Nevada.

In about three weeks you also can go to the Senior Corps Association Web site to learn about legislation at all levels – nevadaseniors.org.

• Janice R. Ayres is president of Nevada Senior Corps Association and executive director of Nevada Rural Counties RSVP program.