LANSING — State Representative Henry Yanez (D-Sterling Heights) attempted to win support today in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee for an amendment to add $5 million to the budget for the State Aging and Adult Services Office. Republican committee members defeated his amendment.
“Last year’s budget included an additional $5 million for this agency in an attempt to reduce wait times among seniors for services, but our senior population has grown since then, and these citizens are still experiencing long wait times for the services and programs they need,” said Yanez. “Without increasing funding for this agency this year, many senior citizens will have a hard time getting the services they need to remain living in their own homes, which can be less expensive and is far more preferable than going into assisted living or nursing homes.”
The State Aging and Adult Services Agency offers a number of services that help with Medicaid and Medicare applications including nutrition programs, caregiver services, adult day care, community services that help older adults maintain their independence, and in-home services helping with tasks such as chores and personal care.
“Many seniors can stay in their own homes if they have some assistance with daily tasks, and not every person has a family member close by that can offer that help,” said Yanez. “That is why I think it is a moral imperative that we increase funding to this agency to reduce wait times, so that our senior citizens aren’t forced out of their homes. An additional $5 million will extend services to the 7,000 people across Michigan identified as needing services and not receiving them.”
Yanez pointed out that, from a financial perspective, spending $5 million now could save the state money in the long run. The average cost per year of a nursing facility is $68,000. The average cost of care to keep someone in their home receiving eligible nursing services in $6,000.
“I will continue fighting to increase money for these services for our senior citizens and hope to win support for my amendment when we debate this budget on the House floor,” said Yanez.