Governor Revamps Aging Council

9 years 3 months 4 weeks ago September 17, 2007 Sep 17, 2007 Monday, September 17 2007 Monday, September 17, 2007 5:48:21 PM CDT in News

Governor Matt Blunt issued an executive order Sept. 17 that would renew the mission of the Governor's Advisory Council on Aging.

"My administration's been busy over the past year making some progress for our state's senior," Blunt said during his speech, citing actions like eliminating the state income tax on social security money through the Senior Justice Tax Act.

The order came while the governor delivered a keynote address at the Show-Me Summit on Aging this at the Tan-Tar-A resort in Lake of the Ozarks.

Seniors were able to browse information booths about health care, but almost all stopped to listen to Governor Blunt's announcement of the council's renewal.

The revamped Advisory Council on Aging will have 12 members, half of which are required to be over 60 years old. It will advise Blunt on policies his administration can enact to help Missouri seniors.

The original council was established in 1973 in response to the Older Americans Act of 1965. It had 27 members who met four times a year.

Their mission statement states that the advice they provide will be to "enhance the quality of life, independence, and dignity of Missouri seniors."

Missouri is far from being the only state addressing the needs of senior citizens. A Sept. 14 article on Stateline.org says that many states are working to give the option of living at home and recieving long term care to low-income Medicaid recipients, when many times they would have to enter nursing homes. Some are even setting up agencies to help seniors navigate the variety of local home care providers.

The article also says that Missouri is just above the national average percentage of Medicaid dollars spent on homecare services.

James Williams traveled to the Summit on Aging from St. Louis, hoping to see a change in policy. He feels that previous Medicaid cuts have hurt seniors' ability to care for themselves while living alone.

"It makes it impossible for them to live independently because if a person is coming out of the hospital from a massive heart attack, for instance, and it stops them from being able to do anything for themselves. Once they come home, they need home care," Williams said.

Williams is involved with the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging, a group that provides in-home services to senior citizens like delivery of meals, personal care, and homemaker chores. They also help fill transportation needs and other community services.

The governor recieved a warm reception from those present at his keynote address.

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