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Free tax preparation available for seniors

By Michelle Lyall
PREVIEW Columnist

IRS certified volunteers will provide free tax preparation Saturday, March 15, at the Pagosa Springs Senior Center. An appointment is required. Call 264-2167 to schedule.

55 Alive

An AARP-sponsored driver training for seniors class will be held Thursday, March 13, from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Senior Center. The cost will be: AARP members $15 and non-members $20. Call the Pagosa Springs Senior Center at 264-2167 to register.

Membership Sales 

We are now offering membership sales Monday through Friday.

Website

Please check out our new address: www.psseniors.org.

Activities

Diana Millan, the activities committee chairman, is collecting Betty Crocker box tops.

Friday, March 7 — 1-4 p.m. Games and jigsaw puzzles.

Wednesday, March 12 — 1-4 p.m. Games and jigsaw puzzles.

Please come join us and bring your friends.

Menu

All meals include our tremendous salad bar. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Friday, March 7 — Baked tilapia with salsa, rice medley, steamed beets, fresh fruit salad.

Monday, March 10 -— Chicken and vegetable stir fry with brown rice, mandarin oranges, pineapple with almonds, fortune cookie.

Tuesday, March 11 — Beef stroganoff with roll, beets, green beans, mixed fruit.

Wednesday, March 12 — Turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas and carrots, bran muffin.

Reservations and cancellations are required. You can make a reservation at 264-2167 by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you would like to dine at the senior center. For your convenience, you can make your reservations in advance or have a standing reservation on days you know you will always attend. Please cancel if you cannot attend on your standing reservation days.

A special thank you to Archuleta County, San Juan Basin Agency on Aging, Town of Pagosa Springs, our clients and private donors for their continued support of the Pagosa Springs Senior Center.

Sequestration

According to Christina Knoell, executive director of the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, the Older Americans Act has been up for reauthorization since 2011. This piece of legislation is crucial to the well being of those 60 years of age and older and their caregivers in Colorado. Many supportive services fall under the Older Americans Act. They include transportation, home delivered meals, congregate meals (at senior centers), ombudsman services (advocates for residents living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities), legal assistance, counseling for caregivers, and many more services.

It is important to understand that funding under the Older Americans Act helps delay or prevent entrance into an institutional setting (nursing home or assisted living), which may save tax payers between $5,000 and $9,000 per month for just one person. It is much cheaper to keep elderly citizens independent and able to remain in their home.

Sequestration has negative impacts for the funding of Colorado’s aging population. Colorado is one of 39 states/U.S. territories with a hold-harmless provision, inserted by Congress in 2006. The hold-harmless provision artificially guarantees a higher level of funding to approximately 17 other states and U.S. territories.

The sequestration funding formula uses the 2000 census data, which artificially represents the senior population in Colorado. The result is that the hold-harmless provision disproportionately cuts funds for Colorado’s elderly, which is one of the fastest growing populations in the United States.

It is estimated that Colorado will be receiving between an 18 percent and 23 percent cut in funding for the elderly. Archuleta County has one of the fastest-growing elderly populations in the state. Fifty-three percent of Archuleta County citizens are 45 years of age and older.

Colorado elders deserve an equal opportunity to age in place and stay in their homes and communities. The hold-harmless provision must go. Please urge Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet to support the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act and phase out the hold-harmless provision of 2006. It is an important thing to do for our aging population and, most importantly, it could reduce Medicaid costs for Colorado.

This story was posted on March 6, 2014.