The Lt. Governor’s Office on Aging (LGOA) is requesting $4.7 million in the fiscal year 2014-15 state budget to serve needy seniors in their homes and $3 million in ongoing resources for respite services for caregivers. The House adopted version of the budget provides a large portion of this funding; $3 million for HCBS services and $2 million for respite services.
Why are these funds needed? The programs and services provided by the LGOA are designed to allow seniors to safely remain at home with independence and good health. Without the LGOA’s services, seniors could experience declining health by improper nutrition, lack of medication, lack of access to health care services and could experience dangerous falls that require institutionalization. Often these institutional services are paid for by the much more expensive taxpayer funded Medicaid program. By allowing seniors to remain independent and healthy at home, the LGOA is delaying the need for a more expensive health care delivery system. There are 8,000 seniors on a waiting list, and these funds may prevent or delay them becoming Medicaid eligible. This will result in a much lower cost for the State and its taxpayers.
What are home and community based services? Services include assistance from in home or personal care aides, adult day services, transportation, home-delivered meals, congregate meals, nutrition education, respite care and other services.
What is respite care? Respite services support the health and well-being of family caregivers of persons with dementia or other debilitating conditions by providing access to short-term respite through in-home care, adult day care or short-term facility stays.