Subject: S. 2295 & Younger Disabled Individuals
PLEASE INCLUDE YOUNGER DISABLED INDIVIDUALS in the Older Americans Act.
Not only would it be humane and fair but economically sound as well.
The programs for the elderly were created to deal with the problems of loneliness, isolation, transportation, nutrition, recreation associated with frail elderly. The needs and circumstances of many younger disabled individuals PARALLEL THOSE OF THE FRAIL ELDERLY WITH VERY LOW INCOME. Yet the younger disabled do NOT have nutrition, recreation, or housing programs available to them and have NOT been permitted to take part in senior programs. WHY?
Given the same programs as the elderly, the younger disabled COULD TRULY BECOME A PART OF THE COMMUNITY REMAINING IN THEIR HOMES INDEFINITELY INSTEAD OF ENDING UP IN NURSING HOMES UNDER TITLE XIX and COSTING THE TAXPAYERS HUGE SUMS.
The senior programs INITIALLY STARTED TO HELP FRAIL ELDERLY OVER 65 have NOW BECOME A HUGE PROGRAM FOR "ALL ELDERLY OVER AGE 55" REGARDLESS OF INCOME. Yet the YOUNGER DISABLED WHO FACE A LIFETIME OF ISOLATION ARE EXCLUDED.
Segmenting programs for the elderly and disabled results in unequal treatment, unequal government funding and unequal fees for services -- worse yet, NO PROGRAMS AT ALL for those who truly need them.
For example, look at the INEQUITY IN FEES (regardless of income) here in our county:
Seniors -- VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTION (In effect one year their contribution amounted to 15 cents per one way ride.)
Look at the INEQUITIES IN BUDGETS -- FEDERAL, STATE, & LOCAL FUNDING.
Huge funds are available for serving ALL elderly. (This includes the continuing construction of senior housing which excludes the younger disabled. Where are they to live?)
Many younger disabled individuals face ENDLESS WAITING LISTS FOR EVEN ESSENTIAL PERSONAL CARE SERVICES and have to endure isolation and loneliness every day of their lives.
Why should this be?
Inclusion of the disabled in existing well-established workable programs is a far less costly, more immediate and effective way of meeting their needs than endless talk about the costs of establishing new untested programs for the disabled along with inherent budget constraints.
Inclusion of the disabled in the Older Americans Act could be a starting point in ending the inequities and isolation that now exist. I ask for you assistance in bringing this about.
PLEASE give this your thoughtful consideration.
A Lifelong Caregiver
Legislation and the Law
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