While nursing home abuse is a severe and pervasive problem in our society, it is not the only kind of neglect Illinois seniors have to worry about. Unfortunately our lawmakers’ unwillingness to pass a budget has left many seniors in a position where they may lose access to vital and necessary services.
Illinois is Failing to Fund Services to Seniors
Illinois legislators and the governor have failed to reach an agreement on the budget that is needed to run the state. The budget was supposed to have been passed by July 1st, but now a full month and a half later an agreement still has not been reached. A patchwork of court orders and small agreements have made sure that state employees continue to be paid for their work and that institutions like prisons have continued to function, but certain very important services have gone overlooked and unfunded. In particular, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, the state has failed to fund social service agencies that care for elderly people and people with disabilities. This social service agencies typically rely on grants from both the federal and state governments in order to function. Without the state funds, many may have to slash services.
Freeing Up Federal Funds May Offer Short-Term Solution
The Illinois House has passed a measure that may solve this problem in the short-term, according to a report by the Herald-Review. This bill free up some funds the state has received from the federal government and would allow them to be used on programs that do things like provide meals to senior citizens. However, the best case scenario is that this bill may pass the Senate some time next week, and then it would still be up to the governor whether he would approve such a measure or not. It appears that the governor approves of the version that passed the House, but it remains to be seen what, if any, changes may be made in the senate.
What a Failure to Fund Social Service Agencies Means for Seniors
The social service agencies that are so far unfunded by the state provide vital services to our state’s senior citizens. Some of these agencies provide adult day care services that allow seniors who suffer with issues like dementia to remain with their families as long as possible without their family members having to forgo the employment necessary to support the family. Other agencies provide meals to seniors who are unable to prepare their own. Other social service agencies provide mental health services. While these services can be accessed by community members of any age, seniors who often have to struggle with the loss of loved one’s may be in particular need of grief counseling services. Additionally, many elderly Americans are living in poverty. Those seniors are affected by all of the cuts to social services.
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