cherylNormally in this spot I write about all our activities and the great features in the Caregiver Chronicle. Unfortunately that’s not the case this time. There is disturbing news for our area seniors and their caregivers. As this newsletter goes to print, Florida is in the midst of a crisis of care for seniors. The 2013 sequestration under the Budget Control Act of 2011 has begun to impact the home- and community-based services made available under the Older Americans Act. In Florida, the first round of cuts came to $4.9 million (7.54%), impacting such programs as meals on wheels, personal care assistances and case-management services for our frail and elderly citizens. As a result, thousands of seniors will see their services reduced or eliminated.

Family caregivers who have hoped to access these services to supplement their own time and care, will find even longer waits for help. And this is happening at a time when our numbers of family caregivers are on the rise. According to the Huffington Post, June 2013, there was a 10% increase in family caregivers from 2010 to 2013. Two out of five American adults or 66.7 million family caregivers are currently caring for a sick and elderly relative. Most of these caregivers are between 30 and 64.

In response to these budget concerns, Gainesville has begun a Community Coalition for Older Adults to advocate for our senior population. This group of concerned citizens meets monthly and is planning a town hall meeting with our state representatives for later in the year. Please check out their meeting topics in our calendar of events. Our caregiver population is growing and has a voice. Caregivers need to be heard and their concerns need to be known. Thank you as always for all you are already doing.

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