Senior services agencies reach critical moment in government shutdown, survey finds

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Senior services agencies reach critical moment in government shutdown, survey finds
Senior services agencies reach critical moment in government shutdown, survey finds

Organizations that provide transportation, meals and other services to seniors who need home care are facing imminent service reductions due to the federal government shutdown, and this could mean increased nursing home admissions, according to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a).

Area Agencies on Aging coordinate senior services that support independent and community-based living. They operate in 43 states, and federal funding accounts for up to 40% of the average AAA budget, according to n4a.

Based on a survey conducted earlier this month, two out of three AAAs rely on federal dollars within the first month of the government's fiscal year, which means that they usually receive and begin spending this money by the third week of October.

“As we approach that date without any approval of FY 2014 funding, AAAs have already or may soon be forced to furlough staff and reduce services that are lifelines to millions of older adults and caregivers nationwide,” n4a stated. “Loss of these cost-effective, lifeline services often results in higher nursing home placement.”

Some AAAs are drawing on state funding, lines of credit or other resources as a short-term fix, but these practices will not be sustainable if the shutdown is prolonged, n4a noted.