Former senator, Cartwright pulling for senior health care

Joe Harrington

More than 20,000 senior citizens live in Portage county, and former Ohio senator Leigh Herington is trying to help them.

Herington is the co-chair, along with former Kent State president Carol Cartwright, of the Issue 7 Senior Levy on the May 8 ballot.

Herington presented his “Seven Reasons to Support Issue 7” speech to professor Audrey Kraynak’s Activities for Intergenerational Experience class on Friday. Kraynak, a professor for the School of Family and Consumer Studies, has supported the levy since last summer. The class includes nine senior participants and nine human development and family studies students.

Kraynak said one reason for the levy is the cost of senior health care.

“The rising cost of short assisted living along with the baby boomers, more and more people will need help to manage day-to-day living expenses,” Kraynak said.

Herington wants the levy to pass because he feels Ohio is not doing enough to help its seniors remain at home.

“Ohio spends more money on nursing home care, nearly $60,000 per patient, than 41 other states,” Herington said. He said the money that is being spent on nursing homes could be spent on keeping people at home and avoiding the expensive financial and emotional costs.

Herington said with 95 percent of the people supporting the issue – according to a recent poll conducted by the Issue 7 Senior Levy committee – the people of Portage county will support the levy and believe in providing better health care to seniors.

The levy will provide several benefits to seniors, such as protective services from senior abuse. Herington said there are 100 cases of senior abuse each year in America, but only four to 10 percent actually get reported. The levy will also provide senior daycare, fund a health center for those who do not qualify for Medicare and help seniors receive low-cost prescriptions.

Herington said he believes Kent State students should support the levy.

“It’s the future – it’s our future, and we’ll all need services like these someday,” Herington said.

Erin Wilson, senior human development and family studies major, is a student in Kraynak’s class. Wilson said that after working at a nursing home for her internship, she will support the levy.

“(The levy) is really important because I believe home health care is beneficial to seniors,” Wilson said.

For more information about Issue 7, contact campaign manager Jason Haas at (330) 212-3541.

Contact College of Education, Health and Human Services reporter Joe Harrington at [email protected].