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State group asks for input about senior services

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Representatives with the New Mexico Senior Olympics talk about their group’s desire for more state funding during a Wednesday public hearing at the Chaves County JOY Center in Roswell facilitated by Marcia Medina, far right, the community services director for the Non-Metro Area Agency on Aging. The woman on the left also works with the agency. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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To the applause of many in the room at Chaves County JOY Center in Roswell on Wednesday afternoon, a man who manages senior centers in Portales and Clovis said that he cannot be thrilled about Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s plan to create a $25 million trust fund for senior services.

He said that he thinks that, during years of budget surpluses, the recurring annual funding for senior centers should be restored to the amounts allocated before budget cuts in 2016 and 2017, with adjustments made for inflation. 

The man was one of many to make comments at a public hearing hosted by the Non-Metro Area Agency on Aging, part of the North Central New Mexico Economic Development District. The NMAAA distributes funding to service providers that is received from the state and federal government through the New Mexico Department of Aging and Long-Term Services. The agency also assures compliance with contracts, policies, rules and regulations.

The public hearing in Roswell, one of four planned during January and February, was for Public Service Area 3, which includes Chaves County and 10 other counties in the eastern region of the state.

Facilitator Marcia Medina with the Economic Development District asked people to tell her what services and needs existed in their communities so that the agency can advocate with legislators and state officials for the funding and can use the information to develop service delivery plans for the area.

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Some of the items that people wanted funding for included: exercise programs and equipment; New Mexico Senior Olympics; additional staffing at senior centers, including nutritionists; transportation to larger cities for medical care; vehicles for in-city transportation and meal delivery; and senior center facility upgrades and improvements. Many people also expressed their desire for continued or enhanced operating funds for the JOY Center and other senior centers, which offer adult daycare, meal programs, respite care and many other services in their communities.

People also can email or mail comments to Marcia Medina, Non-Metro Area Agency on Aging, 3900 Paseo Del Sol, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87507, marciam@ncnmedd.com. The agency’s toll-free phone number is 866-699-4627.

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