DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - There's a growing number of seniors in DeSoto County who need help with every day needs, like meals, transportation and help around the house.
The county usually budgets extra money for programs providing that care, but as the need grows, the dollars don't. This year, the county may have to cut money for the programs, possibly up to $80,000. DeSoto's supervisors are trying to trim the budget without trimming services.
"They're doing a great job providing additional funds," says James Curcio, the executive director of North Delta Planning and Development, the agency which helps the county manage its elder care programs. "For the homebound person who need meals on wheels or homemaker services or respite care."
For those 60 and over who need help, Curcio says DeSoto County does all it can. They chose several years ago to provide additional funds to go toward food, bus services and home and health care.
"You have to operate very efficiently," Curcio tells abc24.com. This year, the county's money isn't going as far. The board of supervisors has asked Curcio where cuts can be made.
"What they really don't want to do is eliminate anybody that's getting services now," he says.
141 seniors get weekly meals delivered. Almost two dozen have help around the house. Curcio doesn't expect those numbers to change, but other numbers concern him.
There are 74 people on the waiting list for meal deliveries and more than 60 on the list for home help.
"If it remains how we have it budgeted now we will not be able to pick up those additional clients," he says. "We'll just continue to work together to try to do the most we can with the funds that are available."
Despite the grim outlook Curicio says people should still put their names on the county's waiting list if they need help.
The budget isn't set. There are still a few weeks before it has to be finalized. He and the supervisors will keep going over the numbers until then.