It is sad for our community when events like last week’s rift between the Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living and the state’s Department of Aging and Independent Living occur. After many years of serving our senior population in 17 counties, suffering budget cut after budget cut, aging services have been abruptly removed from the AAAIL and 40 loyal, dedicated, (many long-serving), senior-loving employees will soon be gone.
Evidently, the issue is that the AAAIL is housed, by state statute, under the Bluegrass Area Development District. The troubled Bluegrass ADD has worked on its past issues with new leadership and procedures, but not to the satisfaction of others. Taking down the Bluegrass ADD’s “unintended consequence” is the demise of the Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living.
There are promises of no service disruption to the 700-plus vulnerable seniors receiving care from 900-plus contract employees and experienced case managers employed by the AAAIL, but a dramatic, quick action like this will certainly have consequences.
Politics plus power struggles equal people suffering.
Gale Reece of Lexington is founding director of ITNBluegrass, a nonprofit that organizes transportation for older adults.