Senior Center Directors tired of being ignored

The West Virginia Directors of Senior and Community Services (WVDSCS) met with lawmakers to discuss its legislative agenda Thursday. The Association told legislators and members of the media of the need for an increase in reimbursement funding for necessary services like meal delivery and in-home care.

WVDCS is asking the Legislature for an increase of $14.60 per senior, which Association President Bill Carpenter says is not too much to ask for our loved ones.

“West Virginia seniors have been virtually ignored for over 10 years, receiving only $1.05 increase in reimbursement funding,” Carpenter said. “Aging care providers are struggling and the need for nutritious meals and in-home care services continues to grow.

Last year, the legislature increased reimbursement funding by $1.05 per senior; the first increase in 10 years, bringing the total amount of meal reimbursement per senior to $6.80, far below the national average of $8.84.

“West Virginians overwhelmingly want to age in their homes and communities instead of costly, private institutions,” said Carpenter. “The goal of senior service provider agencies is to help our seniors stay in the comfort of home, with the right amount of care to live the best life possible. That’s becoming harder by the day as many county meal providers have been forced to reduce their serving days, close sites, reduce home delivery routes, and change menus to include frozen or shelf stable meals. We can’t continue down this road.”

“Over the last year, lawmakers have given $60 million in tax cuts to coal companies, $12.5 million to the Pleasants Power Station, and $3.3 million to the MARC train in the Eastern Panhandle,” said Carpenter. “Lawmakers always say they support our seniors – it’s time now they actually do.”

Research has repeatedly shown that seniors who wish to remain in their own homes, and are provided the necessary support to accomplish this, consistently enjoy physically, emotionally, and mentally better lives. West Virginia seniors deserve it.