My 84-year-old mother has lived and worked in the same community her entire life. She was hospitalized in November and then placed at a skilled rehabilitation facility. She needs to move to an assisted living facility, of which four are located within a 30-mile radius.

I spoke at length with the four administrators only to learn all the facilities are full and have long waiting lists.

One administrator explained her current challenge: They are not accepting any new residents for at least six months because of the proposed cuts embedded in the governor’s current budget targeting private non-medical institutions. In order to minimize the potential budget impact, only residents who can pay the $60,000 per year fee privately will be accepted. This is not an option for my mother nor, I suspect, for most other people in Maine.

I understand the need to balance the budget, that there is just so much money to work with and MaineCare challenges are present for not only the elderly but also children with disabilities and lots of other vulnerable and fragile Mainers.

Many aspects of this story are troubling. Please, let’s not make it worse by balancing the budget at the cost of safety, dignity and respect of our parents and grandparents.

Mona Baker


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