Blythe is the director of the Russellville Active Day Center, and she is experiencing first hand what Medicaid cuts enacted by the legislators is doing to families.
Families who have names, families who have loved ones, families who are not just numbers on a piece of paper.
Seven clients have already been notified they are being denied their Medicaid benefits that allow them to attend the day center; all plan to appeal. Several who are applying are being told they don't qualify under the new Medicaid guidelines.
Blythe doesn't know what families are supposed to do, where will their loved ones go, because not everyone is fortunate enough to have a family who is able to take care of them and see to their needs on a daily basis.
The Russellville Active Day Center recently celebrated its fourth anniversary. The center was designed to help older Americans and their families who care for these individuals to live a more independent life. It allows a family the freedom to work and enjoy their own lives while maintaining a close responsibility for a frail family member.
Attendees of the day center are able to live independently with an improved quality of life with their social, medical and psychological needs being met in a cost-effective manner.
That may change, however, if the General Assembly doesn't overturn the present cuts that have been handed down in recent weeks.
The future looks bleak for older Americans who are unable to live alone and the families of those loved ones unless politicians reverse this trend.
There are presently 25 clients enrolled at the center. Those attending receive nutritional meals as well as snacks, benefits of exercise, arts and crafts and the socialization of others in their age group.
One advantage of the day center is that there is a full time nurse on duty at all times. They are able to medicate, provide routine health and vital signs monitoring, bowel and bladder management as well as skilled services, including wound care, blood glucose monitoring, tube feeding, venipuncture and IV therapy.
But one of the biggest advantages is that they become a family there. It is a small center and the feeling of family is very strong. Blythe often refers to her clients as her second family.
The services of the day center are probably the least expensive alternative form of care for those facing the need of someone to care for an older family member.
Services can be paid for through long-term health care insurance, Medicaid or private pay. When comparing the cost of hiring a private sitter to the cost of the day center, the center and all of the services provided are very cost effective.
Everyone, however, who faces the possibility of caring for an older family member needs to contact their legislators and tell them to do everything in their power to reverse this trend in our legislation that is leaning toward not caring for our aging population whatsoever, without any regard to those faces or families behind those numbers on paper.
Call the Russellville Active Day Center at 726-2100 for more information on their services.