Cuts To Program Could Force Seniors Out Of Their Homes
(Memphis) Talks of cuts to a State of Tennessee senior aid program have many home health care administrators fearing they may not be able to care for their patients.
The Quality Enabling Program has provided extra funds to low-income Tennessee elderly for almost 26 years, but that program could soon cease to exist.
Right now, care home facilities receive $25 per day for each resident that qualifies.
In 2013, that could go down to $7 per day. In 2014, the funds could vanish completely.
Administrators say the program helps cover costs that have already been cut.
“What do you want me to do?” pleaded 87-year-old Nancy Cook as News Channel 3 told her she may not be able to stay in her home of 10 years.
“If they cut the program out, I would have to close my doors.” said Stella Littlejohn, administrator of Estella’s Home Care.
Right now, Cook receives $714 per month through Social Security, Littlejohn says. It doesn’t stretch far, but money from the Quality Enabling Program helps to pay Cook’s doctor visit co-pays, clothes and even activities.
“Residents live longer being active, going places, doing activities and being part of the community,” said Littlejohn.
Littlejohn told News Channel 3 Cook and her other residents don’t qualify to live in area nursing homes because they are too independent.
She fears the cuts won’t only shut down her center, but others as well.
That would leave Cook, who doesn’t have a family, nowhere to go but the street.
Monday, as the two hug each other, they remember 10 years ago when Cook was homeless.
She couldn’t survive just off her social security checks.
Soon, she may have to try.
“They have worked, retired. This is their ending result. They are being cast away,” said Littlejohn.
Littlejohn told News Channel 3, she and other are administrators are working on a game plan to get the state to change its mind.
In a statement to News Channel 3, State Representative Antonio Parkinson said, “The Quality Enabling Program was created to improve care and services provided to low-income residents of licensed homes for elderly. Any adjustments to the budget that would take away from the level of care that we should deliver to our seniors should be thoroughly reviewed.”