California seniors may have nowhere to go

March 20, 2010

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed eliminating Medi-Cal funding for adult day health programs and senior advocates across California are concerned. [Contra Costa Times]

The proposed cuts, which would save $104 million annually, are part of Sacramento’s attempts to address the state’s $20 billion budget deficit. The idea is subject to approval by the Legislature, but relatives are already worried that they may have to quit jobs to care for loved ones full-time, or face putting them in nursing homes.

The nursing home option, critics say, could result in increased costs for the state because it would be more expensive to house Medi-Cal patients in nursing homes than day programs.

There are currently 327 adult day programs in California, serving nearly 37,000 people. Advocates argue that the programs are successful because they offer needed respite for caregivers, while helping seniors avoid isolation and depression. These seniors are kept busy during the day, but go home at night.

The executive director of one adult day health program called the proposed cuts “fiscal foolishness and inhumane.”

Lydia Missaelides of the California Association for Adult Day Services says that because many of the centers serve a large portion of the Medi-Cal recipients, no state funding, means no centers.

“If that decision were made, you’d see centers close up almost immediately,” Missaelides said. “It would create a horrible decision for the families.”

Last year’s state budget dropped from five to three the number of days per week that Medi-Cal recipients could attend the centers. They also tightened eligibility rules. However, after advocates sued, a court granted an injunction and all changes are put on hold until the trial, currently scheduled for September 2011.

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The state is facing some rather tough decision and this is certainly one of them. Do we cut after school programs for the youth or for the elderly? Do we put money is our schools or our senior centers? The priorities change depending on who you talk to.

If you cut the senior centers, you place a greater burden on the caregivers when they return home. It’s a difficult situation at best for the family; but it may be one price that has to be paid if our government can not get it’s financial house in order.

In addition, our country has spent our childrens future allowing a greater social security benefit paid to past generations than they ever put in and now we have to cut back before we have no choices.

This is an important concern… but there are much bigger ones out there.

Roger Freberg

The bottom line is that a private nursing home cost upwards of 75K a year. Many of these elderly who go to “day care” are suffering with onset and moderate dementia and Alzheimer’s. The day care facilities allow the family to keep their elderly loved one’s at home. Many can not accomplish this without a day care facility to pick up a bit of the slack. An elderly person can and does blow through their retirement very fast once they are in private care. After exhausting their personal savings the state will take over and allow the person to remain in the private nursing home (providing that they previously were able to pay up to two years with their own funds). A full time nursing facility is a very expensive proposition for us taxpayers. These centers offer an alternative and make it possible for children to shoulder the burden of home care. The longer a family can manage their loved ones at home the more likely the elderly will not exhaust their finances after entering a full time nursing care facility (which is inevitable when dealing with Alzheimer’s).

I knew my comment about working until you keel over wasn’t going to be popular (-4 as of now), but reality rarely is. To people who marked me down.. what’s your solution, how do we pay for all these things?

Yeah, what about it you folks who marked him down? I’ll bet, like me, mkaney is all ears. But it isn’t much help to complain mutely. We have a big issue here. What do we do with our non productive members of society-the young, the sick, the poor, the stupid (this takes in a vast number), the elderly?

How can we justify spending millions on a unique surgery to save one of two siamese twins (who might die before the age of three anyway) yet deny care to 50 or 100 otherwise savable yet struggling people? Why do we spend tens of thousands a year in personal or public funds in completely hopeless care for the infirm elderly, who are in reality just waiting to die? Who is supposed to pay for that? Is is worth it? Can we afford it? Shall we bankrupt ourselves or the nation to throw resources into a bottomless pit?

As a doper and parasite on the butt of the public good don’t take my word for anything, speak up folks.

Like with our health care reform debate (that is a stretch, calling the drivel the party of no substitutes for actual discourse); one side has proposed concepts to create a better system, the other whines without adding anything to the table.

Oh and with regard to the senior issue. People need to take care of their elders, period. This is a moral obligation. If they are unable to do so during the day, perhaps they can join some cooperative with others in their area. They should also be responsible for the costs. If this becomes the expectation, I assure you that people will find creative solutions.

People should work until they are unable to work anymore, unless they can afford not to. This idea of retirement for everyone is a very modern notion that sounds good but that’s about it. Social Security should be there only to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. I realize I will get boo’d out of the house for this one, but welcome to reality.

You make some good points, and unfortunately that draws us to some painful conclusions. Just what do we do if someone cannot be cared for by relatives or friends? We have really painted ourselves into a corner with increasing life spans, we certainly live longer than we can afford to.

The tales of families shouldering the burden of taking care of elderly parents have been evident for years, heartbreaking stories abound. Our shortsighted religious influences have clouded the debate over end of life issues and similar problems before us.

My dear friend whatisup will be glad to hear I do not want to burden my survivors or society with taking care of me when my productivity drops below zero. I want to check out with dignity and get out of the way so others can live their lives. In their frantic lust for control the party of no and fanatic religious elements would find great fault with that and desire to force great bodily grief on me and economic ruin on my caretakers by denying me the right to do the natural thing, die. In an incredible twist of the facts and the most evil hypocrisy those forces, in decrying the natural way and the ‘good book’ they would throw away tons of money in denying the natural way.

The natural way happens when we become too old or infirm to avoid the natural process of nature. We can no longer fight off disease, outrun wild animals, and feed ourselves. Nature maintains the health of the herd by the weak and sickly being picked off by predators-we see that on every single nature program and study of the process of life. Humans, in their infinite idiocy, have defied that system and we are becoming bloated with too much dead wood. We have overpopulated the planet; we eat or destroy everything in our path like a plague of locusts. We defy the natural order, and are on borrowed time.

Well, back to my joint, I don’t want to lose my honorary status as chief doper on this blog.

There are circumstances where elderly people have no family to take care of them, or where the healthcare expense is too great. It is for these circumstances that we have no choice but to spend state money. However, if we saved money by not covering everyone as soon as they turn 65, we may have the money to handle these cases. Granted, I am blurring the line between federal and state income and expenditures here because I am assuming savings on Social Security translates to money available for state spending, but it is the principle I was addressing and not the details. I am definitely talking about a completely different set of realities on both the state and federal level here.

Whatisup.. you conflageration of dopers and Democrats is idiotic. Your entire argument is shot when you consider that the last governor to leave office with a surplus was Brown. The whole liberal vs. conservative, democrat vs. republican argument is tired and does not address the real issues. The fact is that when spending suits a particular politician’s agenda, they spend, regardless of their fiscal mantra.

Do you want to know what the problem is? It’s very simple. Let’s break it down with facts. The 2008 median household income in San Luis Obispo county was $45,550. The per capita income was $27,616. Meanwhile, the average pay for a teacher in SLO county was between $60,000 and $70,000. The average pay for a law enforcement officer $91, 254. The average pay for a firefighter was $107,149. I am not sure whether these figures include over-time. Overall the average pay for a public employee was $70,148. In 2005, the average BASE pay for a prison guard in CA was $57,000. The average salary for an RN (nurse) was around $75,000 (note that health and human services is the 2nd largest budget chunk in california).

It’s taboo to argue that these public employees don’t work hard or don’t deserve these salaries. But we have to be REALISTIC. The FACTS are that these salaries are out of wack with the private sector. We should only pay what we can afford to pay. Sure, it may mean that we aren’t competitive with another state. Tough luck! If we can’t afford it, we can’t pay it! It’s common sense that a 6 year old can understand, yet somehow we have intellectualized our way out of common sense.

mkanay – Your premise that the last surplus was when Jerry Brown was in office is not correct. By law, the CA State budget must be balanced. Granted, things have been so bad for the past few years that Schwarzenegger and the Democratic Legislature have used a few smoke and mirrors to balance the budget, but at the end of the year there is often a small surplus. The problem has been that revenues keep dropping so there is less money next year, than there was this year to spend on the CA Budget. Hence, the deep budget cuts that are necessary to balance the budget as required by State law.

See link:

It’s my understanding that off-budget borrowing has been a sleight of hand trick used to misrepresent the actual budget since Brown. However, I confess that I cannot find empirical information to back that up as of now, and concede that I may have been the victim of a soundbite.

Nevertheless, I still question whether there is a difference between the parties in spending money. Even Wilson chose to expand spending when we had a “surplus” in 1998.

It is time for all of you dopers to come down from your clouds of dope smoke. Over the last thirty years the California legislature has been controlled by the Democrats. The large counties and cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco have been controlled by the Democrats. All of the regulatory bodies, such as the Regional Water Boards, Air Pollution Control Boards, Cal-OSHA, the Costal Commission, CAL-PERS, the State Public K-12, College and University Boards, etc. have all been controlled by the Democrats — for over thirty years!

But none of our economic problems in CA today are the Democrats’ fault. It’s the Republicans fault — you know, the bastard Republicans who fight to keep the business taxes from being raised to pay for more government services for Californians. You know, those dirty bastard businesses that supply 100% of the jobs for the workers whose personal income taxes and property taxes pay for all the California city, county and state workers salaries and retirement plans; and the state budget. You know, raise the taxes on those dirty bastard businesses that have been leaving CA in droves, taking their jobs with them, because of over the top business laws, rules and regulations. Makes perfect sense if you are a doper. You know, over the top business laws, rules and regulations, not to mention building codes, that keep businesses outside of CA and the United States from even considering locating a new business venture in California. Makes sense if you are a doper.

Some laws, rules and regulations were needed. The water needed to be cleaned up, etc., but once this was done the bureaucracies were in place and every year they just added more and more and more laws, rules and regulations to the point that unless a business has to be located in California why would it stay here to be hassled and overtaxed compared to other states? Doesn’t make sense, except to the dopers, who have had fun making it their hobby to get the over the top business laws, rules and regulations put in place over the last thirty years to keep those dirty bastard businesses in their place.

So the answer is more government programs and jobs. Makes sense if you are a doper. Oh wait, government programs and the government workers’ salaries are paid from the personal income taxes and property taxes of the workers from the private businesses that are leaving California in droves because of the over the top laws, rules and regulations that the employees of the city, county, and state governments have cooked up in their dope clouds. Yes, you dopers, every CA law, rule and regulation comes from a California city, county, state employee or legislator. Now that the these laws, rules and regulations are driving so many businesses out of California to other states, there is no longer enough workers in private business to pay for all of the CA city, county and state jobs and all the services you dopers dreamed up in your smoke clouds.

You stupid dopers! You are the cause of the elderly, in this story, not having proper care. You dopers insisted on having a bloated program to cover every possible social ill, you insisted that every aspect of a private business had to be over regulated and then regulated some more, you insisted that city, state and county workers would have incredibly expensive retirement golden parachutes that let some workers retire at age 50 with a retirement salary equel to 90% of their working salary, plus a built-in cost of living raise in their retirement salary every year. You figured soak the private businesses to pay for all this. YOU STUPID DOPERS!

Stay in your dope clouds and blame the State’s budget problems on the Republicans, who have had little say in all this for the last thirty years, and the bastard businesses you are forcing out of California. It makes perfect sense, because as adults, you have always been and will always be dopers.

A simplistic and childish assault on a political mind set. Basically the party of no is interested in big business, big profits for the privileged at the expense of the environment and our quality of life. The democrats philosophy is helping the average joe make it through life with some dignity, even those not blessed with perfect minds or bodies at the assembly line we all came from. I would say the party of no has had great success promoting their issues for the benefit of the few. We almost always have party of no governors who direct and fiddle with legislation to line the pockets of big business, while limiting protection for workers and the public. Those are the facts, ladies and gemmun.

Our seniors built and made this country, defended it from tyranny overseas and deserve to live their lives in the best we can create for them. Many of them saved all their lives in order to not be a burden on the rest of us during their twilight years, yet lack of regulation of certain industries (financial etc) have led us all to this horid state.

Locally certain crooked lending institutions have been able to rob many seniors and now largely escape the consequences through (party of no) led agencies who failed to monitor and prosecute crimes.

Why the party of no has any followers at the street level is amazing to me. The party of no is an equal opportunity rip off; even its own members have been shafted out of decent health care options, clean air and water, wise land use, the right to privacy and a myriad of other ‘rights’. Though the dems often fail to perform as well as their hertiage mandates they are so far ahead of the party of no there is no question who stands for the common citizen.

Hotdog, you doper. The reason there is no money for the elderly in CA is because the Democrats have been in charge in California for over thirty years, not the party of no. The CA Democrats, the party of YES, YES, YES never saw a government program they didn’t want to SPEND, SPEND, SPEND on or a private business they didn’t want to TAX MORE, TAX MORE, TAX MORE and REGULATE, REGULATE, REGULATE until they were out of business or leaving CA.

The party of no, as you call it, has had no power to make laws or regulations in CA for years and years. As the minority party, at best, they could sometimes stop a law or regulation from going into effect. If you weren’t so far up in your haze of dope smoke, you would know this. Specifically, exactly what legislation did the party of no fiddle with in CA to line the pockets of big business? I’m asking because appearantly they forgot to tell big business they can line their pockets in CA. Big businesses have been leaving CA and going to other states in droves, taking the jobs of the employees that pay for the CA State budget with them, as has small and medium size businesses. Ground Control to Hotdog — if you don’t have employees of private companies to pay personal income taxes and property taxes, you have no way to fund the CA State budget.

I realize you mean well by blasting the regulators, lead by the party of no, for failing to stop the crooked local mortgage lenders from robbing the elderly. I will give you a pass on this one because I did not know until after the crap hit the fan that all the crooked local lenders were CA State regulated, not federally regulated. Every one of them — Estate Financial, etc. were supposed to be regulated and audited by CA State regulators (yes, these regulators are CA State employees). Since the news media, the Democratic CA State Legislature and CA State Attorney General, Democrat, Jerry Brown, have never bothered to look into why these CA State Agencies never even looked at the books of these local mortgage lenders for years, we don’t know why the local mortgage debacle was missed by these CA State agencies in charge of regulating them. But you can be sure that all of these CA State Agencies’ doper state employees will all recieve their rediculously expensive golden parachute retirement benefits. SMOKE ON!

I’m not sure why you stop at using the ‘doper’ image, when you could elicit a greater response by using the “terrorist” caricature. *shrug* seems to work for the federal government anyway.

Chevron gouged $24 billions in excessive profits in 2008, as per Schwarzenegger should put an excessive profits tax on these profits, instead of protecting the oil corporations from fair taxation, then, there would be sufficient public funds for all the vulnerable, people programs. Big business lost the fight to eliminate domestic violence funding, so now they are coming back with a vengeance. There is no funding provision for battered women shelters in the proposed budget. Schwarzee picks on he most vulnerable, and on corporate “deadbeats.”

There is a leadership void in Sacramento. Why did the governor allow the budget crisis to happen in the first place?