Increased funding could aide senior services

Hannah Myers | Jefferson Post Ashe Services for Aging Executive Director Patricia Calloway updates the board of commissioners and requests additional funding.

JEFFERSON —An element of the state budget proposed by the N.C. House currently being weighed by the N.C. Senate could benefit Ashe Services for Aging. The section of the budget would restore nearly $1 million in funding previously cut from the Home and Community Care Block Grant.

Ashe Services for Aging uses funds from the block grant for services like home delivered meals, congregate meals, in-home aide services, adult day care and adult day health.

According to Ashe Services for Aging Executive Director Patricia Calloway, $17,000 has been cut from the block grant over the last three years due to federal and state budget cuts.

“We felt the impact of those cuts,” Calloway said. “We have waiting lists for both home delivered meals and our in-home aide services”

According to Calloway, 50 people are currently on a waiting list for in-home aide services. In-home aide is designated for those individuals over the age of 60 who need personal care services like bathing, meal preparation and occasional light housekeeping.

The budget proposal originated in the House and currently sits in the Senate. If approved, it will restore state funds that had been cut and result in an increase in funding locally here in Ashe County.

Calloway and Ashe Services for Aging Finance Director Mary Owen appeared before the board of commissioners at the board’s regular meeting on Monday, June 1 to discuss the block grant and to seek approval for revisions made to the County’s 2014-15 budget.

Owen said the only revision that needed to be made was an increase of funds for the home delivered meals program due to an increase of $181 from block grant funds in March.

According to Owen, the increase allowed for 33 additional home delivered meals to benefit those in Ashe County.

Owen also presented the center’s budget for 2015-16, which highlights the different services provided by Ashe Services for Aging and the number of times those services are utilized throughout the year.

The transportation shuttle, congregate meals, in home aide service, adult day care, and adult day health were all services included in the budget.

The totals given reflect each time the service is used.

The transportation shuttle provides transportation to locations in and around Jefferson and West Jefferson via the Ashe County Transportation Authority.

Owen said each stop has a low cost rate of $1.54 per stop and she expects approximately 8,082 total stops for 2015-16.

According to Owen, Ashe Services for Aging expect to serve 5,872 congregate meals with block grant funds and a total of 7,017 meals with block grant funds and private donation funds; 12,206 home delivery meals are expected to be served using block grant funds and a total of 17,143 which includes privately paid meals; in home aide, which includes an hour for services like bathing, meal preparation, and light house keeping is expected to serve a total of 5,930.

Owen said 334 are expected to be served through the adult day care for one day of care including breakfast, lunch, a snack, personal care services, activities and supervision.

Over 600 are expected to be served with block grant funds for adult day health.

Owen said the only difference between the budget for 2015-16 and last year’s budget is a decrease of $554 in block grant funds which directly affected adult day health funds.

According to Owen, they chose to lose the funds from that program because it would result in the least loss of service.

Commissioners unanimously approved both the revised budget and the proposed budget.

Hannah Myers can be reached at 336-846-6322 or on Twitter @cmedia_hmyers.

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