CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Cumberland County is the latest to have to add a waitlist for its Aging Options program, which provides in-home care for seniors.
About 380 seniors in the county benefit from the program, but now that number is being capped. Officials say a lack of funding is what forced them to create the waitlist.
“We have more people needing services and less funding being made available from the state,” Cumberland County Commissioner Jim Hertzler said.
The program offers a variety of services, including meal prep, personal care, and housecleaning. It’s usually funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery, which says it generates more than $1-billion to the state per year.
“Funds from the lottery are being diverted to help what used to be general fund programs,” said Hertzler.
Hertzler says that includes Medicaid.
“Somewhere along the way, I think there needs to be a cap placed on how much you’re draining from the lottery fund for what used to be a general fund program, and that is the state’s share of the cost of Medicaid,” said Hertzler.
Pennsylvania’s fastest-growing county isn’t the only one having trouble.
“There are 33 other counties in the state of Pennsylvania that also have waitlists,” Hertzler said.
The state warns about funding limits on its website.
“There’s going to need to be a reexamination of priorities,” said Hertzler.
The state Department of Aging wasn’t available for an interview Friday but said it would have more information next week.
“We’re doing the best we can here in Cumberland County,” said Hertzler.
County officials stress that this is one of many programs they offer for seniors.