Council on Aging struggling to provide

Published 1:06 am Monday, October 29, 2007

VIDALIA — After cuts from the state and rising costs across the board, the Concordia Parish Council on Aging finds itself struggling to continue providing its services.

The council offers educational, nutritional and recreational programs for citizens 60 and older and their families, as well as limited transportation for seniors, director Dorothy McDonald said.

“With the price of gas and maintenance on vans and the, minimum wage increase, we had to cut back some of our help because we didn’t have enough funds,” she said.

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The council also had to cut back on a meal delivery program to homebound citizens, McDonald said.

“Right now we have a waiting list for home delivered meals and the homemakers list, which does some basic home cleaning for those who can’t,” she said. “We are unable to service the whole parish.”

Every year the council is funded differently by the state, McDonald said.

“Each year we had some extra money from the state, but this year we didn’t have that,” she said. “The less money we have the less we can do.”

Some of the council’s funding comes from the Concordia Parish Police Jury.

Last year, the jury increased what they give to the council by two percent, President Melvin Ferrington said.

“The jury has given the council $22,500 (this year), and that’s nearly enough to keep them going to do the things they do,” Ferrington said.

In the past police jury members have taken salary cuts to put the money toward the council, Ferrington said.

“When we start making out our budget we are going to look in and we are going to do everything we can to increase their budget,” he said.

Short of lobbying Baton Rouge for more funds in next year’s appropriation bill, everyday citizens can help the council by volunteering their time.

“If someone would like to volunteer to be on an on-call basis to help deliver home delivery meals or maybe take someone to the doctor, we would really appreciate it,” McDonald said.

“We want to serve the elderly of Concordia Parish so they can live in their homes as long as they can and maintain independence,” she said.