Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Seniors Rally to Oppose Budget Cuts

Members of the Fayette Senior Advocacy Council and elder services advocates from all over Georgia rallied at the state capitol on January 28, 2010 to state their opposition to proposed budget cuts to services that help older adults remain healthy and living independently. The Governor’s budgets (amended 2010 and proposed 2011) were formally submitted to the state legislature on Friday, January 15. As expected, both budgets reflect fund reductions in areas critical to the health and welfare of seniors and their families in the community.

Under the auspices of Fayette Senior Services, Inc. the Fayette Senior Advocacy Council serves to further advocate for the common good and general welfare of Fayette County’s older adults. Fayette Senior Services (FSS), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, provides social services that promote the emotional, social, and physical well-being of older adults to improve their quality of life and help them to maintain their independence. Fayette Senior Services (FSS) is the designated aging service provider for Fayette County as contracted by the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Area Agency on Aging. FSS coordinates and manages the delivery of social services on behalf of Fayette County government. These services include Meals On Wheels, Adult Day Referral Service, Information & Assistance, Transportation, Congregate Meal Program, In-Home Personal Care/Homemaker Services, Case Management, and Home Repair. FSS also provides a wide variety of social, educational, recreational, and fitness programs for active older adults at its Life Enrichment Center in Fayetteville.

Fayette Senior Services has already felt the direct impact of state’s budget cuts in 2009 when funding for kinship care (grandparents raising grandchildren) and respite care services were eliminated. Fayette Senior Services Executive Director, Debbie Britt says the worst is not over. “The state budget reductions, coupled with decreased funding from our local government, have caused some seniors to be placed on waiting lists to receive one or more of the social services we provide.” She adds “It’s very likely that the state will cut our funding even further this year and we’re very concerned about the financial challenges that our local governments our facing and how that will impact the services we provide to Fayette County’s seniors.” Britt adds, “When you consider that Fayette County has the third fastest growing senior population in metro Atlanta, it’s no surprise that the demand for social services continues to grow each month. We’re looking to create innovative solutions with our local government to better address the diverse needs of our aging population.”

The Fayette Advocacy Council were among hundreds of other senior advocates from across the state who were at the Capitol to deliver a simple message to Senators and Representatives – “Don’t cut funding to programs that help seniors get their basic needs met or to those that provide respite to family caregivers.” The Fayette Advocacy Council will continue their efforts to raise awareness for the needs of older adults by meeting with state Senators and Representatives during Senior Week at the Capitol, February 24, 25, and 26. For information about Senior Week or the Fayette Advocacy Council contact Susan Landais, FSS Program Manager at

Concerned citizens are also encouraged to contact the Fayette County Board of Commissioners to address budget considerations and support for senior services. Currently the county funds less than 10 percent of the overall cost to provide senior social services. Citizens are also welcomed to contact Debbie Britt, Executive Director at for more information and facts about Fayette Senior Services ( - 770-461-0813).
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