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A Better Formula for Senior Center Funding

Connell_Sr.Center
Proposed Legislation Would Base Funding on a Community's 65+ Population

AARP Rhode Island testified before a Senate Committee considering a change that would distribute funds to towns and cities based on formula that matches the senior population. AARP submitted a letter of support and Executive Council Member Ann Gardella testified.


 

May 21, 2015

The Honorable Daniel DaPonte
Chairman
Senate Committee on Finance
State House
Providence, RI 02903

Subject: Senate Bill 838 to establish the Community Senior Services Grant Program

Dear Chairman DaPonte and Members of the Senate Finance Committee,

On behalf of AARP Rhode Island, we are expressing our support for Senate Bill 838, sponsored by Senator DiPalma. Senate Bill 838 would establish a senior services grant program and implement a funding formula for Senior Centers based on the 65+ population in a community.

For Rhode Island’s older residents, senior centers are at the heart of many communities. They provide a place where our aging population can socialize and, most importantly, avoid isolation, which can be devastating to a senior. They are a critical point of contact -- a place for services that include meals, case management, health screenings, and seminars on key issues such as Medicare, fraud awareness, and fall prevention. In addition, Rhode Island’s network of senior centers offers enriching activities such as classes, trips, and group activities.
Older adults across the state rely on their senior centers. However, senior centers cannot perform their many functions in the community without assistance. Senior centers are much more than a room for older adults, they have been a necessity in keeping aging Rhode Islanders in their homes, and remaining active in their communities, as well as in contact with their community, and connected to key services.

It is important to examine and understand the integral role that senior centers play in their communities. Across the nation, 1 million older adults participate in activities offered by the nation’s nearly 11,000 senior centers. Research shows that older adults who participate in center activities have higher levels of health, social interaction, and life satisfaction. AARP Rhode Island’s study Raising Expectations 2014, Second Edition, a summary report on Rhode Island’s performance on Long Term Services and Supports finds that Rhode Island voters age 45 and older rated senior centers (75%) among one of the top services vital to creating a robust community for aging adults.

AARP has over 130,000 members in Rhode Island and advocates for members on critical priorities, such as assistances for the state’s Senior Services Grant Program. We urge you to consider SB 838 favorably.

Again, thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,
Kathleen Connell
AARP Rhode Island, State Director


Chairman DaPonte and Members of the Committee:

My name is Ann Gardella. I am here on behalf of AARP Rhode Island. Thank you for the opportunity to submit this testimony and thank you to Senator DiPalma for sponsoring Senate Bill 838.  I would like to share with you AARP’s enthusiastic support for SB 838, which would establish a senior services grant program and implement a funding formula for Senior Centers based on the 65+ population in a community.

For Rhode Island’s older residents, senior centers are at the heart of many communities. They provide a place where our aging population can socialize and, most importantly, avoid isolation, which can be devastating to a senior. They are a critical point of contact -- a place for services that include meals, case management, health screenings, seminars on key issues such as Medicare, fraud awareness and fall prevention. In addition, Rhode Island’s network of senior centers offers enriching activities such as classes, trips, and group activities.

AnnGardella_
Bill sponser Sen. Louis DiPalma and AARP volunteer Ann Gardella.

Older adults across the state rely on their senior centers. However, senior centers cannot perform their many functions in the community without assistance. Senior centers offer more than just a room for the older adults who use their services. Their services often keep older adults in their homes and in their communities by keeping them active; in contact with their community; and connected to key services.

It is important to examine and understand the integral role that senior centers play in their communities. Across the nation, 1 million older adults participate in activities offered by senior centers. The National Council on Aging produced a fact sheet that is in your package.  It gives you a snapshot of the impact that the nearly 11,000 senior centers in our nation are having on their communities and the people they serve.  The fact sheet highlights key information about senior centers and provides some context for future changes. Research shows that older adults who participate in senior center activities have higher levels of health, social interaction and life satisfaction than their peers.

Also included in this package is the related portion of AARP Rhode Island’s Raising Expectations 2014, Second Edition, a summary report on Rhode Island’s performance on Long Term Services and Supports.  This scorecard is a multidimensional assessment of a state’s performance with respect to Long Term Care Supports and Services. The report includes the AARP Rhode Island Caregiving Survey in which registered voters age 45 and older rated Senior Centers (75%) among one of the top services vital to create a robust community for aging adults.

AARP with over 131,000 members in Rhode Island supports Senate Bill 838 and urges you to consider this bill favorably. Thank you for your time and attention.

Ann Gardella
Middletown

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