Join Us for Senior Lobby Day--February 17
On February 17, advocates for older adults will descend upon Olympia with a strong message for their legislators: Don't balance the budget on the backs of older adults.
Senior Lobby Day is an annual event organized by the Washington State Senior Citizens Lobby. The day's activities will include presentations from Governor Gregoire, Attorney General Rob McKenna, and representatives from the State Insurance Commissioner's office. Participants, including several members from the ADS Advisory Council, will spend the afternoon visiting their legislators advocating on behalf of our state’s most vulnerable populations.
A client and caregiver dance at the North Seattle Get Active Program, one of the many services offered by ElderHealth Northwest to support frail and disabled adults and their caregivers. Senior Lobby Day participants will urge legislators to preserve funding for adult day health programs across the state.
The Senior Citizen's Lobby has identified three key "themes" for the day:
- "Do no harm"—Protect Washington's existing health and long-term-care system, including Adult Day Health.
- Provide affordable housing for older adults. Despite falling prices, housing remains much too expensive for the poorest Washingtonians.
- Protect seniors from consumer fraud.
One of the major cuts proposed by the state is to eliminate Adult Day Health. This valuable service is a supervised daytime program providing skilled nursing and rehabilitative therapy services in addition to personal care services provided in an adult day care facility. Washington state has been one of the leaders in developing this service, and King County is fortunate to have several Adult Day Health providers.
Thanks to the hard work of Day Health advocates and the foresight of several legislators, the cut proposed in the Governor's 2007-2009 budget has been restored through June 2009, pending any downward adjustments that may be necessary after the March revenue forecast comes out. There is still a chance the day health service cut will occur in the final 2009-2011 biennial budget, making a strong advocacy effort necessary in Olympia on February 17.
These are indeed scary times, with daily layoff announcements, falling home prices, and a large state budget deficit. However, cutting services to older adults will not help this situation—and may very well make things worse by harming vulnerable adults, reducing the spending power of the workers who serve them, and making it harder for family caregivers to balance work and caregiving duties.
We invite you to join us for Senior Lobby Day, and encourage you to meet with your legislators to share your concerns. Please contact Douglas Ricker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-684-0292 for more information, or visit the Washington State Senior Citizen's Lobby website.
For more information on State and Federal issues affecting older adults, visit the websites for the Washington Association of Area Agencies on Aging (W4A) and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a).