BY BERNADETTE LAURITZEN
Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization
Your local senior centers need your help during the start of 2020. As the state legislature prepares to convene, it is the goal of all 32 senior centers across the state, to make the voices of their people heard. It isn’t important what staff thinks or believes they need for the future, they want to hear it from the people. We have an easy way for you to assist.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to put your thoughts on paper. We’re asking for one page only, and a photo attached too. It can be sent via email and a digital signature is fine. If you prefer to send by post, or drop it off at either senior center, that’s grand too. We also welcome you writing on behalf of a parent, or someone you act as a caregiver for now.
What we’re hoping to highlight is the needs of our seniors over the next 5 to 10 years. Will you need help with house chores, evening or weekend transportation, weed pulling, snow shoveling or someone to attend a doctor’s visit with you? Do you need transportation outside of the county to see a doctor or specialist? Do you need help with the physical part of paying bills or help shopping for groceries?
The sky just might be the limit and we can’t get what we don’t ask for first. There is almost never a funding entity that just sends money when you don’t ask for it. If the people speak and we can demonstrate their needs, we might be in the position to make it happen. This year, the seniors centers will not only write for state funding, but we will write for our county funding too. So, a little investment of your time can result in some beneficial services that would help others for years to come.
Senior programs have received multiple cuts over the last several years. This has resulted in the inability for all centers to offer raises for staff. This year will be a struggle for some centers to increase their minimum wage. Your time to demonstrate need will help not only Los Alamos, but many counties throughout New Mexico, to assist members and employees. Wouldn’t it be great if our voice was the one most heard? If the time spent by our community members, helped their brothers and sister across the state? We’re very lucky here, but some senior centers have a waiting list for their Home Delivered Meal program (often called Meals on Wheels).
The legislature goes into session Jan. 21, 2020. As senior center directors, we need to be primed and ready to roll. If writing a letter is possible, we’d love to have them by Jan. 15. Senior center directors will be meeting with the state legislators on Jan 15 as part of a statewide meeting. I hope to have the desires of Los Alamos and White Rock in hand.
There will be plenty of time to get folks involved in the local process, but we need to get ahead of the game for the state level. We’re planning a unified message for the seniors of New Mexico and it is important that everyone has a voice and is counted too. Soon, you’ll hear us talking about the 2020 Census and how important it is that you are counted in the gathering of information. The state receives money for everyone we can properly document and that means all of us. Those funds go far and wide towards making a difference in the state of New Mexico.
If you have questions give me a call at (505) 662-8920 or send me an email at Director@losalamosseniorcenter.com. Thanks in advance for your help in planning for the future of our elders.