Seniors from Johnson County and other areas of the state went to Topeka March 27th to share concerns about access to services, health care, and transportation. Staff and board members from Area Agencies on Aging joined the seniors to bring awareness and visibility to the problems both in rural and urban Kansas.
Seniors brought up the challenges of transportation for seniors who no longer drive in areas where these services are not available. AAA advocacy groups, board members, and the Kansas Silver Haired Legislature all work together to make legislators aware of concerns pertaining to senior citizens. Paula Hladky, a Silver Haired Legislator from Jefferson County expressed an interest in ongoing issues such as Medicaid expansion, as well as the expansion of initiatives like the Older Kansans Employment Programs, which assists those who are 55 and older in getting jobs.
Rep. Susan Humphries, R-Wichita, and Vice Chair of the Children and Seniors House Committee, said there needs to be a bigger emphasis on coordination of care and services for seniors in Kansas. Senior advocates emphasized that the rapid growth of the aging population in Kansas is creating a demand for more services.
“We believe in community-based services,” said Dan Goodman, director of the Johnson County Area Agency on Aging. “We believe in helping someone keep their independence and dignity, and choose where they want to age in place. Wherever possible we’d like to do that. And that’s statewide, not just Johnson County.”
Rep. Stephanie Clayton, D-Overland Park, spoke to seniors for Older Kansans Day also. She commended the seniors for their advocacy efforts, and said she hopes to hear more about issues facing senior citizens in all parts of the state. “You are creating change in Kansas, and I am very grateful,” Clayton said.
Abridged and adapted from The Topeka Capital Journal article. See pictures and more at https://www.cjonline.com/news/20190328/kansas-seniors-take-concerns-to-statehouse .