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The effect of sequestration and on area seniors

By Cheryl Wilkinson
PREVIEW Columnist

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 to $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 to 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 Udall and 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.

Board applications

We are accepting applications for board members at this time. If you are interested in becoming part of the Archuleta Seniors, Inc. board, please send or drop off a resume. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 3444, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147-3444, or the Pagosa Springs Senior Center is located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd.

Two holidays

We will be celebrating two holidays this week at the Pagosa Springs Senior Center. Valentine’s Day is Friday, Feb. 14, and Presidents Day is Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Valentine’s Day party

We will be having a Valentine’s Day party on Friday, Feb. 14, during lunch. Make your reservation now by calling 264-2167. We will be looking forward to seeing you there.

Activities at the center

Friday, Feb. 14 — Games and jigsaw puzzle. We have a nice assortment from which to choose.

Tuesday, Feb. 18 — Knitting class. We will learn how to make a dishcloth.

Wednesday, Feb. 19 — Games and jigsaw puzzle.

Monday, Feb. 24 — Jewelry repair. Bring your broken jewelry, e.g. a necklace that has come apart, convert clip-on earring to pierced earrings, etc.

Menu

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

Friday, Feb. 14 — Chicken parmesan with pasta, roasted veggies, garlic bread.

Monday, Feb. 17 — Closed for Presidents Day.

Tuesday, Feb. 18 — Presidents Day — BBQ brisket, cheesy potatoes, broccoli and peanut salad, cherry pie.

Wednesday, Feb. 19 — Honey BBQ chicken, roasted potatoes, spinach, fresh apple, pumpkin muffin.

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

This story was posted on February 13, 2014.