Elderly Filipinos Worry Over CA's In-Home Care Cuts
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Like most couples in their 80s, Simplicio and Rita Yoma need day-to-day assistance. Simplicio is diabetic and has thyroid problems. Rita just had knee replacement surgery and can barely walk.
“Our situation is so difficult. We are old and we cannot do things on our own anymore. We need help,” said Simplicio.
Through a state program, two caregivers provide free, in-home care services to the Yomas every day. But life for the Yomas is about to get harder.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to eliminate home care for more than 400,000 elderly and disabled residents who benefit from the state's in-home supportive services program. California, facing a $42 billion dollar budget deficit, will save more than $500 million by cutting home-care for the needy.
Rita Yoma is worried about the upcoming cuts.
“It’s a big loss on our part. We need these caregivers for our day-to-day activities. If we lose them, how are we going to survive?” Rita said. The Yomas’ caregiver, Estrelita Carlos, agreed.
“They have nowhere else to go,” Carlos said. “They’re old and sickly. How is it that the government would sacrifice care for them?”
But the Yomas would not be the only victims of the budget cuts. Caregivers from the in-home supportive services program also stand to lose money. Schwarzenegger plans to cut their wages from ten dollars to eight dollars an hour. The salary cut would save the state $120 million dollars.
Mila Cruz, the Yomas’ other caregiver, is worried. She and her husband are caregivers in the program.
“I don’t know where we’re going to get money to pay our rent, to pay for our children’s schooling,” Cruz said. “We can’t do anything right now but pray that we will have the means to live here in San Francisco.”
Social services advocates say cutting help to the elderly and disabled is not the answer. Higher taxes, they say, would be harder for everyone, but would be the only solution.