Most everything we do at Aging Matters is a team effort. We all work together to give seniors in Southeast Missouri the best possible meals, programs and services. We also work with all the other Area Agencies on Aging (AAA’s) in the state of Missouri to effect change for all of the seniors in Missouri. One of our biggest wins is the passage of the Senior Growth and Development Fund.
The Senior Growth and Development Fund is a sustainable dedicated funding stream that will be used by the Area Agencies on Aging to fund senior programs and services throughout the state. This will allow us to expand or begin services and 50% of the funds go directly to our local senior centers to help them with some of their needs. More funding means more services to a population that is rapidly expanding.
As many are aware 10,000, Americans turn 65 every day. This growth in the senior population has not been met with a similar growth in funding for programs to help these seniors, the Senior Growth and Development Fund will allow AAA’s to provide services to more seniors.
The Senior Growth and Development Fund was part of SB 275 sponsored by Senator David Sater of Cassville and was amended during the legislative session with provisions relating to the Senior Growth and Development Fund by Senator Wayne Wallingford and Representative Kathryn Swan, both of Cape Girardeau.
Lt. Governor Kehoe signed the legislation in his capacity as Acting Governor due to the fact that Governor Mike Parson was out of the country, but noted the fact he had discussed this specific legislation with the Governor prior to his departure. During those discussions, Kehoe indicated that this was one of the pieces of legislation approved by the legislature this year that he was most passionate about, and both agreed that it would be appropriate for signing by the Lieutenant Governor.
Kehoe also noted that the passage of this law reflected a strong team effort, not only by key legislators such as Senator Sater, Senator Wallingford and Representative Swan, but also by the professional staff in his office and the Missouri Legislature, as well as the countless advocates for seniors at the grassroots level who have worked on this legislation for more than four years.
Kehoe also said that it was appropriate that the official bill signing occurred in Springfield, rather than in Jefferson City, noting that sometimes it is “good to get out of the capitol. This is where the real work gets done.”
Getting this funding has been a long journey and we are so thankful at Aging Matters for the amazing team of advocates and supporters we have had. Every Area Agency on Aging in Missouri, the Silver Haired Legislature, Senior Centers and local volunteers have worked tirelessly to make this a reality. Senator Wayne Wallingford and Representative Kathy Swan, both proudly from Southeast Missouri, worked extremely hard to make this a priority in both the Missouri House and Senate and get the approval needed. This team effort has paid off for all of Missouri seniors and we look forward to making a difference in the lives of Missouri seniors for many years to come. This really is a win for seniors in Missouri.
For additional information relating to this event and to the programs and services administered by Missouri’s Area Agencies on Aging, contact Catherine Edwards, Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging at: email@example.com, or by phone at: 573-619-6185. Catherine Edwards contributed to this article.