Home Care Waiting List Now More Than A “Hill of Beans”
SOUTHWEST BOSTON, MA (February 24, 2009) — Senior rights activists from across the state will be bringing beans to Beantown on Thursday, February 26th, when they rally at the State House for more funding to end the home care waiting list. They’re taking bags of beans to lawmakers.
According to event organizers at Mass Home Care, the bags of beans are to remind lawmakers that you don’t have to be a ‘bean counter’ to know that there are nearly 1,000 elders waiting to get into home care. Mass Home Care says that “every bean in the bag represents an elder who cannot get home care. When you add it all up—it amounts to more than a hill of beans!”
According to Al Norman, Executive Director of Mass Home Care, the group is asking state lawmakers to turn up the heat on home care funding to end the waiting lists. “This is not bean counting,” Norman explained. “Every number on our waiting list is a real elderly person who is struggling to live at home independently. If we fail to keep them at home, they will cost us more in an institution.”
The home care waiting list was created in October when the program sustained $6.8 million in emergency cuts. By Christmas, the home care waiting list stood at 759. A survey released by Mass Home Care indicates the waiting list has now grown to 954 elders—and will continue to increase for the remainder of this fiscal year. “Home care has turned into a delicatessen,” Norman said. “You ask for services—and instead get a number. Ironically, there is no wait list to get into a nursing home. It defies logic.” Advocates want the FY 2010 budget to restore the cuts made in 2009, to eliminate the waiting lists for in-home care.
The “Beans to Boston” event in the State House, which will begin at 1 pm on Thursday, February 26th in Nurses Hall, is sponsored by the following elderly groups: Mass Home Care, AARP Massachusetts, Boston Center for Independent Living, Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts, Jewish Community Relations Council, Massachusetts Association of Jewish Federations, Massachusetts Association of Older Americans, Massachusetts Councils on Aging, Mass Council for Home Care Aide Services, Mass Senior Action Council, Massachusetts Silver Legislature, Metrowest Council for Independent Living, and Stavros.
The event will feature statements by lawmakers and elderly rights groups. After the event, participants will form into a “waiting list line” and snake through the State House passing out “wait list numbers.”