Senior Centers and the Sequester
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Senior Centers and the Sequester

April 5, 2013

Get Your Story Out!

Senior centers are starting to see first-hand how federal sequester cuts are affecting older adults.

Whether we can convince Washington to restore funding for critical senior programs now depends on your stories of what cuts mean to the seniors you serve.

Read what some centers have told us—then see how others have taken their stories to the local news.

Your Stories

Fitchburg, WI

As the director of a senior center, I know firsthand that these cuts will cause serious harm to many of the the older adults we serve. We have many people that depend on not only the meals they recieve each week, but the social interaction that comes along with dining at a congregate site or seeing a friendly home-delivered meal driver. The long-term impact of cutting these programs will cost Americans so much more! The preventive nature of programs such as meals, transportation, and caregiver support are the most cost-effective way to reduce hospital and nursing home addmissions. 

Boynton Beach, FL

The City of Boynton Beach Senior Center provides congregate meals to 50-70 seniors per day. Many of these seniors are low-income and would not take the time to prepare healthy meals at home. Several of our members are blind and/or disabled and greatly depend on this funding! In addition, the center is a refuge for the senior community. Many seniors receive free transportation to the center on a daily basis. Without this funding, seniors in our community will lose hope and a will to live.

Chestertown, MD

Many seniors in my community would be devastated by cuts to senior programs. I work as the Senior I&A and a SHIP Counselor in the senior center in our community. Most of the seniors only get around because of the transportation provided at a fee for them. Many seniors rely on Meals on Wheels or the congregate meal we share at lunchtime each day. Many would honestly be in the dark and the cold without the small help they receive through Energy Assistance. Most of them, if they get food stamps, it is $16. That is such a small amount when most of them take so much medicine that they sometimes need to choose. 


Our rural center serves mainly low to very low-income seniors. Most have health problems, and many live in motels. Our lunches are commonly the only hot meal many of them get. Without our programs, the clients would either do without the necessities of life and be forced to move to a larger community away from family and friends or, obviously their quality of life would decrease enormously. Many frail clients live alone. Our town is 50 miles from all doctors and pharmacies. I do fundraisers to supplement the monies we get from government and other sources, but is still a tight squeak to serve these clients.

Kodiak, AK

The number of home-delivered meals on Kodiak Island has dramatically increased the past couple of years. Living on a remote island in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska that is accessible by only airplane or boat and with limited resources being available, seniors who need a hot nutritious lunch delivered 7 days a week would find it difficult to remain in their own home and our community. Home-delivered meals are the first step in providing home and community-based services, which are vital to keeping older adults living independently no matter where they live.

Hamilton, OH

Our Elderly Services Program, for which I do intake, can provide medical transportation and limited non-medical trips for seniors over age 65. We are unable to provide transportation to anyone between 60 and 65. We are dependent on referring the younger callers and those not eligible for our program to the Title III funded transportation services that the senior centers in our county have. Transportation is the most expensive service we provide. What little Title III money the senior centers do receive helps them keep the service going, but does not pay for it all. Long before the economy tanked, several resources have been used by senior centers to fund transportation. Drop the funding, and a chunk of funding will be gone with no one to pick up the slack due to the other funding sources are already being used. That means many seniors will have no affordable way to get to medical appointments or the grocery stores. Since at least two-thirds of our clients receive less than $1,400 in monthly income, they will be stranded with little or no affordable means to get food or medical care.

In the News

Winnemucca, NV

Funding for senior programs drying up
Local organizations have begun to worry about the long-term impacts of the federal sequester. Patricia Tindall was before the Humboldt County Commission on Monday to discuss the funding issues faced by the Pleasant Senior Center due to the sequester at the federal level and the changing nature of foundation grants.

New Lexington, OH

Federal sequester to effect local seniors
The trickle down from the federal sequester will soon reach local agencies such as the Perry County Senior Center, where Director Jeanne Goodin says cuts of about $9,200 could affect services provided to area seniors.

Oxford, OH

Sequester limits public services
Sequestration went into effect March 1, as Washington’s deadline to reach a budget compromise passed without resolution. Some say the series of federal budget cuts will impact the Oxford community. 

Kewanee, IL

Senior meals program hurt by budget cuts
Federal budgetary cuts mean fewer meals for local seniors. “Two Fridays a month we can no longer deliver meals to Geneseo and Colona-Green Rock,” said Casandra Schmoll, executive director of Henry County Senior Center Inc.


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