Senior agencies brace for cuts - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Senior agencies brace for cuts

Meal programs, other services, to be reduced

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Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 12:00 am

Mike Bennigson would like to correct - at a minimum - whoever calls retirement the "Golden Years."

The retired Coeur d'Alene man has had meals delivered to his home through the Lake City Center for about a year to help him make ends meet and as a result of hip surgery

"It's a little disheartening when you work all of your life, and Social Security doesn't go far," he said. "It's tough."

It's going to get even tougher with the looming federal cuts aimed at trimming the national debt.

The cuts, known as sequester, represent a little more than 2 percent of the federal budget and equate to $85 billion for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year. They will impact local agencies such as the Area Agency on Aging of North Idaho, which passes on federal funds to assist area senior centers.

Pearl Bouchard, the Area Agency on Aging's local director, said she has been told by those at her agency on the national level to prepare for a 5 percent cut. The cuts will affect senior meals programs - both home deliveries and at the centers - and services such as in-home care.

Bouchard said there's uncertainty about the cuts, but she's hearing they would be retroactive to October 2012 when the fiscal year started and be permanent. Nearly halfway into the fiscal year already, that will make budgeting difficult, she said.

"It's a double whammy," she said.

Bouchard estimates the cuts will be a $47,000 hit to the 12 North Idaho senior centers the agency serves, including $16,000 to the meals programs. She estimates that equates to 5,000 less senior meals served in the Panhandle per year.

Bouchard estimates the agency will lose 770 hours of caregiving service with the cuts.

Bouchard said the cuts themselves are only part of the picture, considering there are waiting lists of 86 seniors who are seeking homemaker assistance, nine in need of caregivers and 82 social workers.

"Those waiting lists will most definitely go up," she said. "It's obvious that we have a demand for service that we already can't meet."

Bouchard and Rick Currie, Lake City Center director, said the cuts will have a ripple effect.

Their agencies' programs, whether providing seniors nutritious meals or in-home care, are aimed at keeping seniors healthy and out of nursing homes longer.

"Seniors tend to snack a lot because fixing a meal for just one or two is a pain," Currie said. "If the meals are reduced, more snacking is inevitable and that leads to medical problems."

Currie said the center has been operating on reserve funds for several years and the cuts will further deplete those funds. He said the quantity, but not the quality, of the meals will be reduced.

Currie said he expects the senior center board to make a decision on how the cuts will be implemented in two to three months.

For seniors such as Bennigson, the cuts will be tough to swallow, especially when there's already an income shortfall.

"The income just doesn't cover the needs," he said. "It doesn't stretch."

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  • The Simple Truth posted at 8:46 am on Wed, Mar 6, 2013.

    The Simple Truth Posts: 563

    That's right, do the conservative thing and lash out at those you disagree with. No wonder the conservative movement is losing so many people.

  • max power posted at 6:26 pm on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    max power Posts: 559

    To bad Simple Truth that your stupidity isn't painful. You would find yourself in an intensive care unit 24/7/365...

  • idahoguy posted at 3:08 pm on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    idahoguy Posts: 932

    Right on. No one is getting less just less of an increase. Gawd are people freaking dumb....we are still spending way way way more than we take in. It WILL crash and you ain't seen no real die off like you will then.

    You all best get your own house in order and be well stocked for a long season of real lack.

  • Keven Johnson posted at 2:58 pm on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    Keven Johnson Posts: 1490

    I only got to the 4th paragraph before I was engulfed in BS so deep it surprised me, even for the Cda Press. "It's going to get even tougher with the looming federal cuts aimed at trimming the national debt."
    NO, IT ISN'T! THERE ARE NO "LOOMING FEDERAL CUTS" with the budget sequestration, only very slight cuts in the rate of INCREASE in federal spending. Federal spending is still going up. That is ONLY a cut if you work for the government - - or the news media.

  • The Simple Truth posted at 2:31 pm on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    The Simple Truth Posts: 563

    Well, since the elderly voted for GOP austerity, it's only right that their benefits should be cut.

  • milburnschmidt posted at 1:32 pm on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    milburnschmidt Posts: 1160

    Lets see the proposed sequester is 2.5 percent of the budget. The president wont accept a solution to make the cuts where they wont hurt but its supposed to be across the board.. So the area of aging is getting a 5 percent cut thats interesting. It seems by closing the white house tours on Saturdays and things like this the whitehouse is ensuring vocal groups are cut. Thats the political gamesmanship we are seeing these days. Never mind TSA is spending one thousand dollars per employee to dress them up so their detractors like them. Fifty million dollars is being spent on this while cutting old peoples lunches and the media is silent. 400 federal jobs are being posted as the Democrats howl about slashing services to everyone. They never heard of a job freeze or else were afraid of the SEIU unions wrath. Poor mike but noone ever told me social security would enable me top live a comfortable lifestyle. Certainly some folks ignored savings for retirement and some were faced with situations out of their control. Perhaps we could take care of our seniors better if we were not spending so much on their grandchildren and kids who also dont work or get married and have babies. A lot of people are going to be hurt when we run out of money but the presidents and first ladies staff and travel office will not suffer. Having delivered meals on wheels myself I suggest means testing to allieviate the problem. A lot of those folks getting those meals use the money they save for bingo and gardeners.

  • babydriver posted at 10:12 am on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    babydriver Posts: 1393

    Will Rick Currie take a pay cut?

    What are they paying that politician anyway?

  • DeNiles posted at 9:40 am on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    IG....... Americans were forced to take part in the social security programs. Granted they're not to be counted upon for adequate support. But that horse is out of the barn. The gov't made its promises and took the money and now seek to renege. And, whilst the feds are short changing the older people they already billed, they are handing money to people that have not contributed squat (relatively).

    It is pure bunk.

  • max power posted at 8:47 am on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    max power Posts: 559

    *** Sequestration Gloom & Doom ***

    The United States is poised to turn over Air Traffic Control operations to birdwatchers. The Federal Aviation Administration - prompted by Comrade Obama - says it will have no choice but to turn over Air Traffic Control Services to birdwatchers.

    "I think it'll work out great," said FAA spokesperson Mildred Huckletree, who added, "they're already used to standing for long periods of time looking through binoculars, and that's pretty much all they have to do."

    Ethel Chloride, 92, is a longtime bird watcher who is hoping to land one of the Air Traffic Control jobs. "I've got a couple of cataracts and my glasses are as thick as the bottom of coke bottles, but I can still tell the difference between a frozen butterball turkey and a mud slapping red crested hornbill from 300 yards. Figuring out whether a plane is a 767 or an Airbus shouldn't be all that difficult," she said...

  • idahoguy posted at 7:57 am on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    idahoguy Posts: 932

    "Proper planning for retirement is one issue". Well that is the only issue here. What if we cut out foolish spending in other areas like you mentioned and I agree with??? Are we then to rewards foolish lack of planning on other citizens parts or pay down and pay off the national debt and creat3e a savings instead. \Much like the savings we are all supposed to have created?

    Entitlements must diminish as well as foolish spending.

  • DeNiles posted at 7:22 am on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    Proper planning for retirement is one issue.

    A more damning issue are the priorities of this countries leadership. In 2012 America sent $50 billions overseas in foreign aid. Kerry just promised $250 million for Egypts new militant leadership. America gives perfectly healthy adults cellphones and pays for their phone service. America will send kids to fun college for 7 years to get a 4 year degree. Obama just spent $1,000,000.00 tax dollars to play golf with Tiger Woods. Obama can't wait to buy contraceptives for every adult female who wants them. There are millions of ways this gov't could save billions of dollars and Obama stands on the necks of the elderly 1st.

    Remember all the hype about death panels and Obamascare? Your looking at it. The man wants old folks dead, especially poor and sick ones. This is truly repugnant. Mebbe our lovely Mayor will cut some of the McEuen glam plans and help out? Nah, she's just as crusty.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 7:12 am on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Of COURSE there will be cuts in senior agencies. But clowngress still took their pay raise.

  • idahoguy posted at 6:30 am on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    idahoguy Posts: 932

    Only a fool believed their govt promised Social Security would be enough to retire on and or depend on. Any fool can plainly see if one does not sacrifice continually over dozens of years one can not retire....ever. Retirement is something you yourself earn.... it is not any right you are given or deserve. If you fail to plan ahead and sacrifice enough along the way then you best plan on dieing as you greet people at wally world.

    My SS will not even cover my monthly ever rising health insurance premiums...the very ones some black guy lied to us all about as to going down instead.... after his agenda was approved. However I never believed him or any politician or believed in and planned on any handouts so I worked and sacrificed all my life. I even drove the same vehicle 25 years, then sold in for twice what I paid for it and next am driving a used vehicle I have had for years and it is 17 years old. It is kept in excellent condition and serves me well.

    Please do not reply not everyone was smart enough or aware of any of this..... Darwin is my answer to that.

  • voxpop posted at 5:42 am on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Poor Mike. You planned really well. Did you own a new car or truck? How about a boat, or snow mobile? Go on any sweet vacations? Don't blame the rest of us when your freebies slow a bit and you have to cut back. You could have put some of that beer money in the bank. Those that fail to plan, plan to fail.

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