With Gov. Pat Quinn threatening to cut millions from agencies and services across Illinois, area seniors are worried that at-home care will be slashed beyond repair.
About 100 seniors gathered yesterday at the Thompson Center to protest the cuts, which would slice the Community Care program by half, eliminating home care service for about 25,000 seniors. Standing in front of a mock “Wheel of Fortune” wheel, members of the Jane Addams Senior Caucus railed against Quinn’s plan, and poked fun at Illinois House Speaker Rep. Michael Madigan.
“The cuts are going to be really bad for seniors,” said Mimi Harris, 77, of Edgewater. “I understand we’re in a financial crisis, but this is not the time.”
The protestors are worried that many seniors would lose their caregivers and be forced to move into nursing homes.
Advocates say the Community Care program offers an alternative to nursing homes for seniors who are still able to live independently, but need some help to run errands or go to the doctor.
They say it’s also a cheaper alternative for taxpayers, who could be on the hook for $35,000 annually for each senior that moves to a nursing home. Studies show it costs about $7,000 to provide a Community Care representative.
Ruth Long, 83, has a caregiver come to her Edgewater home five days a week for three hours. She says her caregiver’s hours have already been cut back by an hour a day.
“That hour is precious,” says Long, whose caregiver drives her to go shopping and to doctor’s appointments.
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