Thanks to House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, and Rep. Eleanor Espling, R-New Gloucester, the Legislature can do right by older and disabled Mainers who want to receive care at home.

We say that we value elders and talk often about how the people who provide home care do important work and deserve to earn more, yet Maine has done little to act on the rhetoric.

The state pays $15 per hour to home care agencies. These mostly small agencies must cover the same costs as other businesses and still pay a wage that will keep caring, competent workers. These workers are the people we trust to come into a vulnerable person’s home, but agencies struggle to compete with the starting wage offered for much less demanding jobs.

We hear about a worker shortage, but what we have is a wage shortage. If agencies are paid a rate that allows them to compete for capable workers, we can offer some relief to families who struggle alone to balance elder care with their many other responsibilities.

Christine Gianopoulos, board chairwoman

Home Care for Maine Inc.

Farmingdale