IMPACT OF PROPOSED CHOICES FOR CARE CUTS ON RECIPIENTS Source: Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging Case Managers Example 1 This letter is in regards to governor Shumlin’s proposed cuts to the Choices for Care program. I returned to Vermont from Massachusetts twelve years ago to begin the process of caring for my elderly mother. As an only child, the responsibility was mine and I promised my Mother that I would see that she remained in her home as long as her health allowed. Mom had a Home Health Care Policy that was used only when it became evident that I couldn’t leave her home alone while I was at work. That lasted two years and then the policy maxed out. The economy crashed and my full time job became a part time job of 20 hrs per week which is enough to pay for my health insurance. At 60 years old, I was faced with finding a way to keep my health insurance and still keep my Mom safely at home while I was away. The thought of placing Mom in a nursing home was agonizing. A friend suggested I call the Council on Aging and I was told about the Choices for Care Program. It was perfect for our needs. Mom could stay home and be cared for. I could continue to work and keep my health insurance. A case manager was selected for Mom and she is in constant contact with us, assessing Mom’s changing needs and making suggestions that would help make Mom’s life better. This is what Choices for Care is: keeping the elderly with their families and helping the families deal with the challenges of caring for an elderly relative in their home environment while maintaining their own lives and financial responsibilities. In an article written in the Rutland Herald, Doug Racine was stated as saying “that there was no evidence the budget reductions, if they’re approved by the Legislature, will cause people to leave their homes for expensive long-term care facilities.” I would like to know his source “of evidence.” It obviously wasn’t someone who knows anything about the Choices Program. This program provides for one-on-one care: cooking meals, laundry, helping with bathroom tasks like toilet use, brushing teeth, washing, walking, driving elderly to doctors’ appointments, and shopping. It provides for maintaining physical strength like
walking at the mall or in the yard, mental acuity like going through photo albums and talking about the past. It provides for engaging the elderly not just letting them sit in a chair all day. This is the type of care I know is being provided to my Mom while I’m at work. If any cuts are made to the respite/companionship program, people like me, who need to work, will have no choice but to place their elderly in a nursing home. Mr. Racine goes on to say of the services being eliminated, “These are not the basics of life.” What? To live in the home you grew up in, raised a family in, worked hard all your life to keep and maintain, to have grown old in is not a basic of life? It’s not only a basic of life, it’s an obligation to the people who made this state what it is that must be met by Governor Shumlin, Mr. Racine and the VT State Legislature. My Mom paid her dues tenfold over her 95 years and she and the other elderly enrolled in the Choices for Care Program deserve better than what your proposal will do to what’s left of their lives. Example 2 This letter is in regards to Governor Shumlin’s proposed cuts to the Choices for Care program. In the name of “growing jobs” in the state of Vermont, this cut would be a great hardship for me and my household. At part time hours of 20 hrs per week, any cut would make it impossible for me to make ends meet. It could mean the total elimination of my job, as the family of my charge would not be able to keep their mother home and keep their jobs. What sense does it make to remove someone from their home and put them in a nursing home when it would cost the state more money? What makes the Governor think neighbors, extended family members and friends have the time or financial resources to give support to someone else? They have responsibilities to their own families that would always come first. This is an unbelievable proposal. Not only will I be out of employment but this family will be forced to put their mother in a nursing home because there will be no one at home to care for her while they are at work. What is going on in Vermont? You take people’s jobs away in the name of saving the state money and then turn around and spend twice that amount of the taxpayer’s money to put our elderly in nursing homes. As a care giver, I find this unconscionable. As a taxpayer, I find it bad management of state funds.