Community Senior Services Squeezed by National Funding Crisis

Community services for seniors living at home are getting squeezed by the national funding crisis, according to a recently released report by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), making it harder for older Americans to maintain independent lifestyles. 

Local Area Agencies on Aging in nine states indicated in a November 2013 n4a survey that a range of community-based aging programs and services for older Americans are suffering from stagnant or reduced federal funding. 

Nearly 85% of survey respondents reported they won’t be able to provide sufficient aging services if federal cuts—including sequestration—continue.

Most leaders of the agencies polled said they were concerned about the ability of seniors in the community to be able to remain living independently at home instead of moving into more costly institutional settings. 

While 60% of respondents were able to partially offset the fiscal year 2013 budget cuts, around three-quarters of those same respondents indicated they wouldn’t be able to do so again this year. The funding situation has led to cuts in many local aging programs, says n4a, with nearly three-quarters of agencies saying they were forced to reduce the number of home-delivered and congregate meals served.

Around half of those surveyed said their agencies had reduced transportation services that help older adults with mobility challenges get rides to doctors’ appointments, the pharmacy, grocery store, or other essential destinations. 

“Unfortunately, we found what we feared: Aging Network leaders are deeply concerned about their ability to meet their communities’ demands for critical senior services,” said n4a CEO Sandy Markwood in a statement. “Sadly, the problem will only grow deeper and more painful if federal budget cuts like sequestration continue.” 

Access the full report, “Squeezing Seniors: Aging Community Fears National Crisis as a Result of Federal Budget Cuts.”  

Written by Alyssa Gerace 

Alyssa Gerace

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