As Kansas lawmakers prepare to end their legislative session, Orville Voth is preparing to begin his.
Voth, speaker of the house of the Silver-Haired Legislature, has been talking with older residents of Douglas County to help set an agenda for the coming session. The Silver-Haired Legislature will meet in April and present its legislative package to the Kansas Legislature before the beginning of the 1991 session.
Representatives of the Silver-Haired Legislature all across the state are out gathering information on what issues are important to older people, he said.
MARY LOUISE Hancuff, Baldwin, who met with Voth at a recent forum, raised the issue of "long-term care."
President of Baldwin Retirement Apartment Complex Inc., a non-profit organization, Mrs. Hancuff said creating living arrangements for older people who don't need to go to a nursing homes but cannot continue to stay in their own homes is something that should be addressed.
"Now there are more elderly people living longer; people are reaching the age of 85 to 100," she said. "I think we need to address the problem of finding something between complete independent living and nursing homes."
Voth called it is one of the crucial issues of our time.
"Trying to keep people out of nursing homes as long as possible is an issue coming to the forefront," he said.
ANOTHER issue mentioned by Mrs. Hancuff was an improved transportation system for the elderly, which Voth said this is one of the most-often mentioned issues in Douglas County.
She said there should be additional government funding for smaller transportation systems, such as providing vans to get elderly residents from their homes in small towns such as Baldwin to bigger cities.
Among issues considered last year by the Silver-Haired Legislature are a proposal for a tax credit for people who care for the old in their homes and a proposed "MediKan buy-in" that would provide health insurance for the working poor.
Concerning programs the Silver-Haired Legislature proposed for the 1990 session, Voth said because so many things are still being worked out in Topeka, he's not sure of their status.
"Everything is in a state of flux right now," Voth said. "It's hard to tell where things are going to go."