General Assembly Passes HB 44 Today, Includes Senior Program Funding
In-Home Care, Meals, Other Programs Critical to Georgia’s Seniors
Atlanta, GA (March 22, 2017) – Added funding for several programs critical to many of Georgia’s 1.3 million seniors is included in HB44, a state budget bill for FY2018, which passed final ratification in both chambers today. Foremost of importance is $4.2 million for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), which will assist at-risk older adults to remain in their homes to age in place. Seniors from across Georgia consider this program as a top priority for CO-AGE (Coalition of Advocates for Georgia’s Elderly).
“We applaud the Governor and the General Assembly for listening to our seniors.” says Vicki V. Johnson, Chair of the Georgia Council on Aging. “This age group continues to grow dynamically in Georgia; in fact, we have the 11th fastest growing senior population in the nation. Our waiting lists are long; our seniors and their caregivers need these services.”
The HCBS funding covers home-delivered and congregate meals, adult day care, respite care, personal care assistance, home modifications and more.
At this point, over 9,000 Georgia seniors are on waiting lists for in-home services that would allow them to stay home with support, saving significant taxpayer dollars that might otherwise be spent on nursing home care alternatives. Sixty-six year old Michael in Augusta, Georgia is a great example of how the HCBS funding benefits seniors locally. Michael has Parkinson’s Disease, and the new grab bars in the shower – funded through HCBS to the local Operation Independence – help make his life safer and more comfortable. He first noticed a problem when he started having trouble with his legs; he felt weak and unbalanced as a result, a very new feeling for him. He regrets having to give up his favorite pastime of fishing and other activities, but he’s grateful for the home modification help he received that keeps him from worrying about falling and getting hurt.
The budget bill also includes additional new funding for meals for seniors, much-needed staffing additions in Adult Protective Services, and funding for special projects to assist victims of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias.