LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - State budget cuts are hurting seniors and disabled

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I find it necessary to write because the state government has done it to us again. Why do the higher-ups almost always feel that they need to start cutting services from the bottom?

It's usually the people on the bottom who need the services the most because many (most?) can't afford them, and people certainly don't work for free!

If I made $100,000 or more each year (working for the government), I would certainly be willing to take a 10 or 20 percent cut to help balance the budget and to help others. Why do people have to cut off their foot to spite their hand?

More specifically, I'm talking about senior services, and services for the disabled. Forty or so years ago, those who were "mentally challenged" were kept in institutions. Their care was paid for, and their attendants were more like babysitters and janitors. There were many who would have been trainable to hold a job or live in a shared living situation, and could have been productive.

Well, we're all aging now, and the incidence of Alzheimer's and dementia has risen dramatically as people live longer. Fortunately, Walla Walla has a place for those people and it gives families and other caregivers a time of rest and relaxation. I'm referring to the Adult Day Center, located near Jefferson Park. This is a unique program and has been referred to as "the best one some people have seen." We serve people age 40 and older who have Alzheimer's, dementia, are developmentally disabled or have a brain injury. We serve the elderly who are in the care of family. No the service isn't free - but there are local agencies that can help with expenses.

The bottom line: I'm a certified teacher, unable to find a teaching job. Working as the program manager at the Adult Day Center has restored my dignity and given my life purpose.

If we cannot secure more clients here, the center will close. This is due in part to the state budget cuts that are forcing some of our long-term clients to be reduced to half time. Currently we're open four days a week. This will be reduced or ended altogether without the help from area people.

Please consider our services. Please make referrals. Come and visit and see what we're all about. Please don't allow us to close. Jobs are at stake. So are our loved ones.

Audrey Renaud

Walla Walla

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