The study found:
Needs of seniors with disabilities are unstable
Older adults' health and abilities change continually, sometimes unpredictably. Most of the respondents' declines in health were slow to moderate, but for several, their health worsened dramatically in a short period. For instance, Michael, 74, depended on one IHSS caregiver for 40 hours a week to help manage his diabetes. But when Michael was alone, he could not give himself the appropriate medications and eventually had to move into a nursing home.
For many seniors, their declining health and uncertain support also exacerbated existing mood disorders and other chronic mental health conditions.
Seniors, families try to cobble together a support system to survive
Some older adults with disabilities need around-the-clock care, while others manage with a limited number of caregiver hours each week. Miriam, 81, suffered a massive stroke and manages a host of chronic diseases, including diabetes and high blood pressure. She uses a wheelchair, has minimal use of her arms and needs help to eat, dress, bathe, use the toilet and perform other tasks.
For more than a decade, Miriam has relied on various support networks, including an IHSS caregiver, a family caregiver partially paid by IHSS, and the help of extended family members. Miriam's six children helped cover the cost of her care, but when one daughter recently lost her job, Miriam used all her savings to pay for help. The family doesn't know how they will continue to pay for Miriam's care.
Recession, budgets cuts greatly impact low-income seniors
In addition to a possible 20 percent reduction in IHSS hours set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2012, seniors with disabilities are also faced with the downsizing and transition of Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) centers into a much reduced and yet-to-be defined program on Mar. 1, 2012. ADHC serves
|Contact: Letisia Marquez|
University of California - Los Angeles