October 12, 2011

Manchin staff plans senior care meetings | West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Sen. Joe Manchin’s staff will focus on caring for aging relatives during a series of meetings next week and Manchin hopes the information collected during the meetings will influence national elder care policy.

Manchin encourages everyone concerned about aging issues to attend one of the meetings.

“I want people to come and tell me this is what we do, if I could get help here just think what a better quality of life my mother or my father or  aunt or uncle would have,” Manchin said.

“And its not necessarily you have to spend more money, maybe we need to redirect what we’re spending now, maybe we have to be a little bit smart in our administrative process and more compassionate in how we open our doors and our hearts.”

Staff from Manchin’s office will host each meeting. Representatives from the state Bureau of Senior Services will provide information about what services are available for senior citizens and their caregivers.

“We should be able to handle everybody and any aspect of their life, those in need and those who have the means to take care of themselves or they need some support,” Manchin said.

“There should be a sliding fee scale to where everyone’s able to get the services they need to have that dignity and respect in their life and to be able to be as independent as humanly possible.”

Manchin serves on the Senate Special Committee on Aging and he hopes information collected by his staff can be used to help formulate federal policy.

He said one goal should be making it possible for older Americans to live in their houses rather than a nursing home because that is more compassionate and would save the government money.

“The hard cold facts and the dollars are this: where does that person usually go? Eighty percent they’re telling me, of the people in a nursing home are on Medicaid,” Manchin said. “That means the state and the federal governments are taking care of these people, that means you’re tax dollars at a much higher cost.”

According to the non profit organization Families USA, in-home and community-based care per person costs one fifth as much as nursing home care.

Manchin points out some older folks are advised to get rid of their assets so they are eligible for Medicaid.

“If we can avoid that, we ought to try,” he said.

Caring for Your Aging Loved Ones meetings are scheduled next Tuesday and Wednesday at the following times.

City: Logan
Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Pride in Logan County, 699 Stratton Street, Logan, WV 25601

City: Weirton
Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Greater Weirton Senior Center, 3425 Main Street, Weirton, WV 26062

City: Berkeley Springs
Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location:  Senior Life Services of Morgan County, 187 South Green Street, Suite 5, Berkeley Springs, WV 25411

City: Sutton
Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location:  Braxton County Senior Citizens Center, Inc., 33 Senior Center Drive,
Sutton, WV 26601 (North of Exit 62 on I-79)
By:  Cecelia Mason