Many Mainers are touched by family caregiving issues. It can be challenging to find the right services and the best support systems; just the application processes alone can be difficult to navigate.

The Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program held statewide listening sessions across the state to hear Mainers’ voices about issues related to long-term care. These sessions brought to light the experiences of older and disabled consumers of long-term care services and programs.

The program also distributed mail-in surveys to gather the opinions of consumers who receive these services in their own homes and who have limited mobility.

It was important that everyone be given a chance to offer their personal responses.

According to the resulting report (www.maineombudsman.com), several themes emerged that require attention in our state, especially access to affordable services at home.

Respondents were concerned about funding, affordability and availability. A common thread was the desire of older and disabled adults to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. I hope this report will raise the awareness we need about these pressing issues in Maine.

Les LaFond, former president

AARP Maine

Ogunquit

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