Senior citizens at the WISE Adult Day Service Center near Santa Monica College were among more than 2,000 seniors at 22 locations in Los Angeles County who took part in a ten-minute “Senior Stand-In” Friday, June 12th to protest Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s proposed $14 million budget cut which would eliminate funding statewide for programs that primarily or exclusively serve older adults.

In Los County, alone, the proposal would impact thousands of seniors and caregivers, according to WISE and Healthy Aging representatives. There are an estimated 882,000 seniors age 60 and older living in Los Angeles County.

The proposed budget cut comes on the heels of the governor’s approval last fall to eliminate the state’s $6 million budget for the long-term care Ombudsman program, which provides advocacy services for residents of long-term care facilities.

The proposed additional $14 million in cuts would eliminate funding for such critical services as food distribution, Alzheimer’s care, care management, support to working families with caregiver obligations, adult day health care, and the Senior Companion program, according to WISE and Healthy Aging.

“Eliminating aging programs will only shift millions of dollars in expenditures, as many older persons become inappropriately placed in nursing homes,” said Grace Cheng Braun, president and CEO of WISE and Healthy Aging in Santa Monica, and one of the Senior Stand-In organizers.

“We strongly believe that as the demographics of California begin to shift to an aging society, that it is crucial that we commit the necessary resources to helping frail older persons remain in the community and live with dignity and independence.”