Local agency urges state to preserve elder care programs

A Central Coast organization representing the elderly is urging the state to preserve In-Home Supportive Services, Adult Protective Services, and other programs that safeguard the frail elderly.

“The role of our state is to ensure the safety and security of those vulnerable persons who are at risk without public support,” wrote Dr. Chuck Carlson, chairman of the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens Area Agency on Aging’s Advisory Council.

IHSS and APS “provide protection to the most frail and vulnerable seniors,” Carlson wrote in a press release.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the May revision of his proposed 2010-1011 budget, proposed heavy cuts in social programs, with IHSS slated for a possible 50 percent reduction, if not outright elimination.

The SSI/SSP (Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment) program also is threatened. Carlson said it “serves as the foundation for the ability of low-income senior citizens to survive.”

Without it, Carlson wrote, “Thousands of senior citizens in the two-county region will lose money, reducing their monthly income to $830.”

The governor’s proposals are just that, proposals. They must be ratified by the Legislature, and political observers are predicting a prolonged struggle. All the numbers are tentative, and are in flux.

Carlson urged the state not to delay, however, arguing that community agencies like his rely on the money to “to operate critical services for senior citizens.”

Reach Bob Cuddy at 781-7909.