Winter means increased burdens on seniors, disabled

Posted: Friday, October 15, 2004

Many of the senior citizens and physically challenged in our area are in desperate need of your help. We, a group of care coordinators and providers, are calling on you to assist these people throughout the upcoming winter. Due to a recent cut in a special form of Medicaid, known as the Choice Waiver, the funding for snow and ice removal from walkways and driveways has been all but pulled. Many of our clients have no other means for snow removal.

The Choice Waiver is designed to attempt to keep senior citizens and the physically challenged out of nursing homes. One of the services provided by the Medicaid Waiver is chore assistance. Chore service may include housekeeping and other assistance necessary to maintain a home in a clean, sanitary and safe condition. People with Choice Waivers are allowed 10 hours of chore each week. Using these allowed hours for shoveling snow, will greatly reduce the time needed for basic household upkeep such as house cleaning, laundry, and food preparation.

Snow and ice can make it impossible for a person who is reliant on a cane, walker or wheelchair to get in and out of their home. Snow buildup can make it impossible for Emergency Medical Services and care providers to have entry to a home. Without these services the elderly and physically challenged could be forced from their homes and into a nursing or assisted living home.

Knowing the future independence of many of our clients was at stake, we as a group met to discuss the issue. Many ideas were shared and several were considered. They all involved the securing of funds and organizing resources. At this point none of the solutions are immediate. The one definite is we must prepare for winter to prevent a possible tragedy.

Thankfully you can help. Until we establish a permanent solution, we need volunteers. Please consider senior citizens and the physically challenged in your community that may need your help. "Adopt" a neighbor by offering to clear their walk and driveways.

If you are interested in being a part of the solution, please call me at Frontier Community Services at 262-6331 to volunteer your services or to make a donation.

Karla Evarts, Senior Services Care Coordinator, Frontier Community Services

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