Seniors Citizens are a high priority in Washoe County
Washoe County is experiencing a rapid demographic shift because of the aging of the “baby boom” generation. Like every community in America, we are evaluating how to provide services to the most vulnerable seniors.
After an April 2, 2012 presentation by Washoe County Senior Services WCSS), the Joint Meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, Reno City Council, Sparks City Council and Washoe County School District Board of Trustees requested that the Department prepare a report on the cost and benefit of increased funding.
The Department offers both a $1.2 million and $2.4 million option.
Please ask your elected officials, in-person, by letter or e-mail, and in testimony at public hearings to support the proposal. The following is a summary:
Washoe County, like all of the United States, is seeing the “Baby Boomers” turn 60 in unprecedented numbers. This demographic shift is having a dramatic impact on seniors, families and our community.
The senior population is growing faster than any other segment of the Washoe County community; 25% are now over 55, with the age group 55-64 years absorbing 27.3% of all County population growth over the last decade.
Washoe County Senior Services (WCSS) is not able to meet the needs of the rapidly growing number of vulnerable seniors.
Today, Washoe County Senior Services assists only 8% of the more than 71,000 County residents over the age of 60. We are forecast to have as many as 93,000 over 60 by 2016.
The Washoe County Senior Center, 9th and Sutro, is 34 years old, and over half of its Meals on Wheels delivery vehicles are over 10 years old.
In 1985, when voters approved the $.01 Senior Citizens ad valorem Fund in perpetuity, it was believed to be adequate for all future facility, program and service needs. Because of increasing costs, the addition of essential programs and above all, population growth, this is no longer true.
Almost all Washoe County Senior Services programs have a waiting list.
Washoe County Senior Services helps “Bend the Curve” of health and long term care costs by keeping seniors active, involved and independent.
Planning to prepare the community for an aging society; leverage new resources.
Senior Centers operated in partnership with cities and GID that provide classes, activities and events; volunteer opportunities.
Congregate Meals at 8 locations in senior centers and public housing.
Outreach and early intervention programs to connect seniors to services as early as possible.
“Help Line” – Aging and Disability Resource Center – provides information, advice and counseling about health and long term care.
Social Services, including case management, nursing, Home Delivered Meals and in-home care for the most vulnerable.
Senior Law for legal matters including advance directives, public benefits appeals, elder law, and housing counseling.
DayBreak Adult Day is an alternate to nursing home care.
Seniors and their families need help managing the maze of services and choices; many seniors are not able to pay for the services they need
Almost every Washoe County family will be faced with providing care for aging parents and relatives. Most are not prepared.
In a 2006 Washoe County needs assessment, only 34% of all seniors said that they could afford to pay for their own care.
WCSS low cost supportive services reduce public expenses by keeping people healthier, longer, supporting independent living in their homes and by delaying or preventing institutionalization. The additional funding would provide services and reduce other costs:
Congregate Meal sites and Senior Centers
• 20% of the 2,100 seniors report that it is their only meal of the day.
• Site managers, which were eliminated in previous budget cuts, would be restored for all meal sites.
• Provide clerical and social work support for senior centers.
WCSS “Help Line” provides counseling on long term care and health care options, empowering seniors to make an informed choice on decisions that affect their entire family.
• Expert information, advice and counseling would be available to an additional 5,500 seniors and family members per year.
Case management and visiting nurse
• An additional 350 seniors would receive medication management, help with medical professionals and an in-home nursing assessment.
• An additional 600 seniors would be assisted by a case manager to coordinate care and arrange for services.
• An additional 400 low-income seniors would get in-home services, such as home care, personal care and escorted transportation that are not available elsewhere.
Home Delivered Meals provides 1/3 of the USDA Recommended Daily Allowance to homebound seniors, who cannot prepare their own meals.
• Today, 175 (37%) of WCSS current HDM case load need assistance in 2 or more Activities of Daily Living (ADLs – bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, etc.) and receive additional case management, nursing and in-home care. They have received services for at least one year.
• New funding would serve an additional 300 homebound seniors per year; provide an additional 70,000 meals per year, for a total of 180,000.
• Additional funding would help an additional 400 high risk clients
Senior Law: Provide legal services to an additional 400 people.
DayBreak Adult Day Health: An additional 10 low-income seniors will get services.
• The annual cost for a DayBreak client is $11,000. Nevada Medicaid Nursing Home cost for the same senior is about $59,000 per year; an annual savings of $48,000 per year, and total potential annual savings of $3.48 million.