Public Policy Advocacy

CICOA’s advocacy goal is to shape the courses of action taken by various segments of our society in the interest of protecting and enhancing the lives of older adults and persons of any age with a disability.

The CICOA Board of Directors Public Policy Committee

A key element of CICOA’s advocacy efforts is the CICOA Board of Director’s Public Policy Committee that meets regularly to monitor state and federal legislation, identify public policy matters, determine and develop policy stances, and dialogue on other issues that affect CICOA and our community.

For more information about CICOA’s public policy regarding older adults and individuals of any age with a disability please refer to the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging web page, http://iaaaa.org, section on Policies on Aging.

 

CHOICE Policy Letter

On January 1, 2011, the first of 75 million baby boomers began to turn 65. Every day – for the next 19 years – about 10,000 boomers a day will turn 65! Pretty staggering isn’t it?

We are an aging nation, and one that loves our independence. With age comes an inevitable need for assistance. Without exception, we would each prefer to stay at home for as long as possible rather than be institutionalized in a nursing home. This is not an unrealistic expectation.

The purpose of Indiana’s CHOICE (Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled) program is to assist the elderly and disabled to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. This can be accomplished through caretakers providing in-home assistance with normal activities of daily living.

CHOICE is the only state source of funding for home and community-based services. It is unfortunate that combined federal and state long-term care funding is disproportionately distributed 24% to home & community based services and 76% to nursing homes. But what is even more discouraging is the fact that CHOICE funding is on the chopping block.

CHOICE is vital to the long-term care of Indiana’s aging population. This is one of those rare cases where it is not only the correct moral and ethical thing to do, but it is also the most economical thing to do. Providing care in a nursing home is four times more expensive than providing care in one’s own home. If we can eliminate or prolong someone’s entrance into a nursing home, we can not only improve their quality of life, but we save money while doing it.

According to Indiana FSSA statistics, the typical CHOICE client is an 85-year-old woman who lives alone and needs help with three or more activities of daily living. This is hardly someone who is going to march on the capital and lobby for their independence. We are going to have to do this for them – and us.

Continued cuts to CHOICE will deny independence and needed care to thousands of aging Hoosiers, forcing them into a nursing home. This is an option that few want and the state cannot afford.

Orion H. Bell IV
President & CEO
CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions

“Public policy advocacy is the effort to influence public policy through various forms of persuasive communication. Public policy includes statements, policies, or prevailing practices imposed by those in authority to guide or control institutional, community, and sometimes individual behavior.”
k4health.org, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Communication, and USAID.gov

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