As elder law attorneys, the one issue that we are asked to help with most is the elder’s desire to remain at home for as long as possible. We assist with coordinating and implementing a plan that helps accomplish that goal.

But there is only so much help that family and friends can provide. That’s why we all need to support L.D. 1350, a bill before the Legislature that would increase MaineCare rates of reimbursement for at-home care workers. Without additional funding, our at-home care workforce will collapse.

At-home care workers are the backbone of the home-based care system. They help with food shopping, keeping doctor’s appointments, food preparation, personal hygiene and many other support services. The MaineCare wage rate for these workers is artificially low, so many positions remain unfilled, and the waiting list of people who need their help gets longer.

By keeping us at home, these care workers also keep us out of more expensive facilities that provide the same services, but at a much higher cost. Reducing the number of people who need the more formal, more expensive facilities, is good for all of us.

Seventy percent of the people who reside in assisted living facilities and nursing homes are MaineCare beneficiaries, so keeping more of us home longer will, in the long term, save the state a lot of money.

Staying at home with the help of at-home care workers is good for the elder and good for the state. But we must invest in the kinds of supports and services that help to keep people living at home and in their communities.

I urge people to call their legislators ask that they support L.D. 1350, a bill to increase at-home care worker wages so we can all remain at home for as long as possible.

John E. Nale

Waterville

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