My sister-in-law suffers from dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease, which is now in an advanced stage. She is currently a resident in the Sitka Pioneer Home. She and her family have lived in Sitka for more than 35 years, and all three of her adult children reside there. She and her husband were very active in Sitka community affairs, volunteering in many aspects of community life. She was placed in the Sitka Pioneer Home almost a year ago in September, after her husband had personally exhausted himself and all available community resources, providing home care for as long as humanly possible.
The monthly cost at the Sitka Pioneer Home is $6,750 a month, or $81,000 per year, a substantial sum. Increases to $15,400 a month, or $184,800 per year, are proposed. Her present expenses are partially defrayed by a modest amount of long-term care insurance, but those reimbursements will eventually be depleted, leaving her husband to be footing the total bill.
As dementia of this type can linger on for a prolonged time, this monumental increase of 140% will exhaust her husband’s resources. Moving her to an affordable nursing home Outside would destroy the family and community emotional support she presently requires. The governor’s budget cuts to the Pioneer Home system are an unconscionable insult to Alaska’s moral obligation to our aging seniors. This is no time to start shortchanging those Alaskans who have played a vital role in their communities. The public can comment on the state’s proposal by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org before 5 p.m. June 28.
— Mary Mounce
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