Community care is the latest line item that’s cut in the governor’s budget proposal that advocates are calling a false economy. The program provides assistance – either with health care or housekeeping – so that low-income disabled people over 60 can stay in their homes, which is where they want to be, says Marsha Nelson of the Shawnee Alliance for Seniors in Carterville.
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“For our seniors, they would much rather be at home, living in their own home, in the community, in their homes. Quality of care, dignity of care, and most of all being part of their community,” she said. Without this help, many would end up in nursing homes, says Ryan Greunenfelder of AARP Illinois. “Nursing home care costs three times as much to the taxpayer (via Medicaid) as in-home care,” he said. The program also provides what amounts to adult day care, under which these disabled seniors can spend the day in a facility that will help them – allowing their spouse to work a day job – and then go home at night. The governor proposes cutting $140 million from community care. That would kick about 40 percent of the people in the program now out, by lowering the income limit and raising the disability level that makes seniors eligible for the assistance.