St. Mary

Aug 29, 2011 7:27 PM by Melissa Hawkes

Federal Budget Cuts Could Eliminate Programs for Seniors

After raising a family and working hard, you hope to have it easy as you get older. Unfortunately, it gets even harder for some. Programs like 'Council on Aging' help provide services to elderly people who need them, but federal budget cuts could put those organizations in jeopardy.

Ninety-five year old Simon Daniels is the oldest person who comes to the St. Mary Council on Aging. Daniels said it's very important to have these kind of programs, without it he'd be lost. The center provides all kinds of services to seniors, like transportation and house keeping services.

Sixty-nine year old, Evelyn Mack said, "they come they clean my house and she offers to do anything I need. I really appreciate the help because I needed it."

One of the services in high demand are free meals and Meals on Wheels offered during the week. Many of the residents can't cook, so if it wasn't for these types of programs, they would go without food.

"It help me a lot," Daniels said. "If it wasn't for this place here come 12 o'clock, I guess I'd go to bed hungry."

Proposed federal budgets cuts could eliminate all of these programs. Council on Aging Executive Director, Beverly Domengeaux, said "our biggest fear is these seniors will die alone and it will cut down on how long they could live."

If approved, the cuts could come as early as 2012. It's major concern for the hundreds who utilize these types of programs.

Mack said, "as elderly people we depend on this."

Daniels added, "I don't what I'd do. I don't know about the rest of them, but I don't know what I'd do."

Its costs nearly 500 thousand dollars a year to run the Council on Aging. The money comes from federal and state grant money as well as private dollars. Domengeaux said, she hopes private donors will pick up the funding the government is taking away



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