Raleigh — North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Al Delia today announced that an annual survey of community care providers shows that an estimated 15,000 senior citizens will not receive needed services because agencies do not have enough funding. This is a 14 percent increase since the Spring of 2010.
Elderly citizens who need in-home aide services – help with housekeeping and other tasks – and those who need home-delivered meals such as Meals on Wheels are especially vulnerable. Nearly 6,500 seniors are on a wait list for in-home aide, and more than 3,500 are waiting for meals.
In her proposed budget, Governor Bev Perdue invested $2 million for DHHS’s Home and Community Care Block Grant, which provides a large portion of the local funding used for community care. That money could be used to take 1,500 people off the meals waiting list. No additional funding will result in the wait-list rising to 17,000 people.
“As North Carolina continues to gray, more and more of our elderly neighbors need help with basic housekeeping and food,” said Secretary Delia. “Many who receive these services are homebound and alone, and often the service provider who visits is the only real human contact they receive in a day.”
Local agencies are already being forced to make difficult decisions. According to those surveyed, 22 percent of providers have discontinued providing meals during holidays, and 48 percent are limiting the amount of in-home aide an individual can receive.
Data from FY 2010-11 show that the target population for these services are among North Carolina ’s neediest citizens:
58 percent are 75 or older;
71 percent are women;
35 percent are minorities;
45 percent live alone; and
more than half were unable to manage such daily tasks as dressing, bathing, eating or preparing meals.
For nearly half of home-delivered meals clients (49 percent), their home-delivered meal provides ½ or more of their daily food intake, even though the meal is only required to provide one-third of the minimum daily nutritional allowance. Nearly one in four (24 percent) home-delivered meals clients say they eat less on the days they do not get home-delivered meals and 28 percent do not always have enough money to buy food.
BlueNC is dedicated to making North Carolina a more progressive and prosperous state. If your intention is to disrupt this effort, please find somewhere else to express your opinions.