Stagnant funding for senior centers detrimental for rural seniors citizens
Year after year the funding for Arkansas senior centers has declined while the cost of living has increased. Senior citizens on fixed incomes often suffer in silence as they make grave decisions; choices like whether to give up medicine in order to buy food or pay utilities.
Rhonda Ahrent, Executive Director of the Black River Area Development researched the number of elderly people living in the Corning area. “There are 2,358 individuals over the age of 60 in Clay County and 854 over the age of 60 years in Corning.” Elderly females outnumber the males with 510 women and 344 men over the age of 60 years old. The population of single family homes in Corning where the individual is over the age of 60 is 289.
In eastern Arkansas about 5,000 clients are served congregate and home delivered meals a month. A lot of the senior centers have waiting lists for the congregate and home delivered meals. “It’s hard to tell somebody we can’t serve you because we don’t have the money to do it. A lot of us have had to cut back on services because of lack of funding,” explained Melissa Prater, Director of Purchased Services at East Arkansas Area Agency on Aging.
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