Editorial: Time to step up and help our neighbors
In Today's edition, EGP is featuring two stories detailing the potentially devastating effect the decision by Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators to eliminate the state-funded Adult Day Health Care program will have on thousands of California’s frailest seniors and disabled adults when funding runs out on December 1st.
These cuts come on top of other cuts to Medi-Cal funded services for the state’s most vulnerable populations, the elderly, children and the poor.
The Adult Day Health Care program was intended to help keep ailing seniors and disabled adults in their home, by providing access to exercise and nutrition programs, counseling and social interaction, and a respite for caregivers overwhelmed by the obligations of caring for a loved one 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It was intended to keep them out of more expensive clinical programs, and skilled nursing facilities.
While we can continue to lobby against these cuts, the reality is we must begin to think about how we, as members of a community, can pitch in and assist those who are being impacted by these ill advised decisions.
Are you able to check in on a frail or disabled neighbor who might now be spending much of their time alone?
Can you offer a caregiver a few hours of much needed respite? Are you willing to set up a phone tree to check in on neighbors, and give them a few minutes of your valuable time to let them know they are not all alone? Can you make an extra lunch to drop off along with a few kind words?
Just as we would help our neighbors out during a crisis such as a wild fire, flood or earthquake, the cuts to services are just as critical an emergency deserving of our help and compassion.
We urge Los Angeles County residents to contact a local adult day care center in their neighborhood and volunteer to assist the seniors and disabled who may wind up home alone after Dec. 1st.
We should not just turn our back on our neighbors.