Commissioner: Apathy among top issues faced by elderly Kentucky residents
Kentucky State Sen. R. J. Palmer answers one of the questions posed to him and the other state legislatures participating Tuesday in a forum on aging at Rose Mary C. Brooks Place. (James Mannfirstname.lastname@example.org / August 24, 2011)
“It’s actually apathy that scares me to death,” Anderson said.
The commissioner spoke at Tuesday’s panel discussion at Rose Mary C. Brooks Place, “Your Government and Senior Issues.”
The event was sponsored by the retirement community in conjunction with the Kentucky Assisted Living Facilities Association to help inform the public about the needs of the 65 and older population.
“We had nothing but really nice feedback on it,” said Brooks Place Community Relations Director Linda Winburn.
Local and state officials answered questions for community members about legislation, Medicaid and Medicare, and programs available for the elderly. Speakers included District 73 State Rep. Donna Mayfield, District 94 State Rep. Leslie Adams Combs, District 28 State Sen. R.J. Palmer, Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham, Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner, Clark County Attorney Brian Thomas and Anderson.
“You all are such a special group of citizens,” Mayfield said. “It is my highest priority to protect your well-being and interests.”
She highlighted several pieces of legislation from the 2011 regular session aimed at helping the elderly, including Senate Bill 63 and Senate Bill 71, both of which deal with helping diabetes sufferers better manage the disease.
Combs spoke about the 2008 Golden Alert Law that allows police to begin searching immediately for missing adults with Alzheimer’s Disease or other mental disabilities. Previously, caretakers had to wait 48 hours to file a missing person report.
“We’re living longer, more productive lives,” Combs said. “This year is a watershed moment for seniors because the first wave of baby boomers will turn 65.”
Combs is a Clark County native and represents parts of Pike, Harlan and Letcher counties.
Locally, Burtner said, there are several programs that benefit seniors, like the Generations Center’s meal delivery program, as well as the indoor walking track and warm water therapy pool at College Park. Burtner said he and Branham hope to change the topics covered in the Community Action Plan in 2012 to make sure issues of concern to seniors are covered.
“Our community is getting older, there’s no doubt about it, but our seniors are precious, precious to us,” Burtner said.
The panel answered several audience questions, including the General Assembly’s decision to borrow money from the teacher retirement fund two years ago, prescription drug abuse and Medicare.
“Unless we stand up and say our seniors deserve better ... then the apathy will prevail. We have to demand that services be in place,”¿Anderson said.
Contact Rachel Parsons at email@example.com.