Senior Programs' State Funding Expected to Stay in Place

Coming into this budget session of the Wyoming Legislature, Sheridan Senior Center Executive Director Carmen Rideout said she wasn’t expecting any changes in state funding.

Prior to her statement, made during a recent meeting of the local AARP, she provided some background on the center and its services. She said the Sheridan Senior Center is one of 40 in the state and she belongs to the Wyoming Association for Senior Project Directors.

The organization was one of the first she was introduced to, she said, when she started 15 years ago, because it was important to get together and talk about services provided across the state. And, she said, AARP Wyoming has been an incredible partner in helping the center acquire resources needed, sponsor training and conferences and be an advocate with legislators and the governor. This is especially important, she said, when it comes to the legislative issues, because as a group, they wield power.

So their stance, she said, is just to provide education to the legislators about the services the senior centers provide. What she’s going to make sure they know, she said, is that the state funding makes up 25 percent of the center’s annual budget, or $750,000 of the $3 million. Part of that, she said, is match money for the Older Americans Act, which supports programs like family caregiver services, meals, continued education and activities. She said they as a group are “pretty sure” the programs will be safe.

Another major state funding source, she said, is the Wyoming Home Services Grant, which makes it possible for them to go out into the community to provide personal care, like homemaking and chore service, to help the elderly stay in their homes.