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Funding for in-home care for seniors on advocates' agenda in 2016
Waiting lists for service are long
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In-home care service can be a source of strength for seniors. It provides a sense of independence in a life sometimes reliant on others.

But the waiting lists are long for homemaker, personal care and nutrition services, and elderly care advocates are beating the drum for more funding to help support Georgia’s aging and disabled population.

Georgia is the 11th-fastest growing state for those age 60 and older, and more than 345,000 seniors live alone, according to the Georgia Council on Aging.

But state funding cannot keep up with the demand for in-home services, and advocates fear more seniors will unnecessarily resort to nursing homes to meet their needs.

“It’s difficult to witness a client go into a nursing home who could have stayed at home with a few more services,” Pat Freeman, director of the Legacy Link Area Agency on Aging based in Hall County, said in a statement.

Nursing home care is more costly for the state, according to the Council on Aging, which reports that Georgia could have saved millions last year by providing limited in-home care.

About 13,700 people across the state, and 503 in the 13-county Northeast Georgia region, are now on waiting lists for in-home services — with some stretches lasting hundreds, even thousands, of days.

The Council on Aging will hold public awareness meetings across the state in November and December, and it’s urging supporters to contact state lawmakers before the 2016 legislative session begins in January.