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Bay State seniors to rally at State House for more supports

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More than 300 seniors from across the state will go office-by-office in the State House on ELDER LEAP DAY Feb. 29 to warn lawmakers that the state needs to take a “budget leap” to deal with the 46 percent increase in the elder population.

The state’s elderly population will swell by 360,000 between 2010 and 2030. (The under-60 population is dropping by -8 percent.) Nearly 70 percent of the people turning 65 will need some level of long term services in their lifetime. 40 percent will need long term services for more than two years, and 16 percent will need over $100,000 in services. Will the State step up to meet that challenge?

“We prepare for hurricanes in advance,” said Al Norman of Mass Home Care, one of the event organizers. “We need to prepare now or be blown away by our own demographics.” Mass Home Care will seek to open up eligibility for the state’s home care program to help the ‘near poor’ avoid the need for MassHealth support.

Norman said the state is not taking full advantage of opportunities to expand the elder home care program, to keep people off of Masshealth, and out of nursing facilities. “We are leaving federal dollars on the table that could keep elders live independently at home,” Norman said. “Other states have taken advantage of Affordable Care Act resources to broaden their services to seniors.”

According to Mass Home Care, the line item that supports the operations of the state’s Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) has been frozen for six years running. “Our care workers need better wages — from the home care aides to the care managers and nurses.” Norman said.

“Managed care is one option for the future,” Norman said, “but seniors want to choose the plans they like best—not be locked into them.”

For more details: Al Norman, Mass Home Care, 978-502-3794.

Elder Leap Day is sponsored by: AARP Massachusetts, Alzheimer’s Association MA/NH Chapter, Boston Center for Independent Living, DAAHR, Home Care Aide Council, Home Care Alliance, Jewish Community Relations Council/Boston, Mass Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Mass Association of Older Americans, Mass Coalition for the Homeless, Mass Council of Adult Foster Care Providers, Mass Councils On Aging, Mass Home Care, Mass Senior Action Council, Mental Health & Aging Coalition, and 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

 

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