CA seniors vulnerable to more cuts

June 2, 2009 7:53:32 PM PDT
The budget cuts being considered could take a tremendous toll on the most vulnerable seniors in the state. Those on Medi-Cal will be forced out of the comfort and security of adult day centers.

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Many of their caretakers work during the day so they need to take them to these adult day centers. Statewide, we're talking about nearly 40,000 elderly and disabled Medi-Cal recipients who will be thrown out of these centers.

The Bayview-Hunters Point Adult Day Health Center is Margie Clark's life. She and some 60 other seniors spend their days here.

"We as a family enjoy each other and talk to each other because we have no one at home," said Clark.

If the proposed budget cuts go through, Medi-Cal would no longer pay for seniors to come to these facilities.

"You don't sell out your elders like this. They'll be out on the streets. They'll be homeless, they'll die," said Executive Director Cathy Davis.

At this adult day center 85 percent are on Medi-Cal. many have Alzheimer's, diabetes and other debilitating ailments.

Eighty-four-year-old Lillie Brantley has dementia. But she enjoys socializing with others.

"I meet friends and I got a boyfriend," said Brantley.

Brantley's niece Chauncey McLorin takes care of her. She also works as a Muni driver.

"Without the adult day care, I would have to stay home with my aunt and then I wouldn't be able to support us," said McLorin

Those who could wrote letters, pleading to state legislators not to close the centers. But it may be a tough sell.

"Many of us have shed tears in our offices meeting with our constituents and trying to grapple with what this means to people's lives. But frankly we're up against the wall," said Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee (R) San Luis Obispo.

Helen Gill turned 100 this year. The center has enriched her life. Her granddaughter has seen the change.

"She was starting to get quiet, so since she's been here, she's been thriving. The socialization, the friends, the care, the meal," said Gill's granddaughter Henrietta Wallace.

Operators of these adult day health centers will go to Sacramento to plead their case on Wednesday, and will take with them some letters written by the residents.

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