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AARP Releases Caregiving Survey

90 percent of Louisiana voters say home and community based services are important to stay in their own home as they age

AARP urges Governor to advance Bayou Choices


Baton Rouge, La. – Overwhelmingly Louisianans want to live independently at home for as long as possible with the help of family caregivers, according to a recent survey released by AARP Louisiana.

"Time and time again AARP surveys have shown that people want to live at home and in their communities for as long as possible with the support of home and community based services," says Denise Bottcher, AARP Louisiana Interim State Director. “The choice is clear. But many family caregivers are struggling with getting the help they need where they need it.”

When it comes to helping older Louisianans live independently as they age, the state only spends 37 percent of its Medicaid budget on services to help seniors stay at home and in communities, while focusing 63 percent on institutional care, like nursing homes.  Yet, the majority of Louisianans in the survey--83 percent--support funding to provide more services for seniors at home and in the community rather than institutional care.

"We've been working for the past decade on re-balancing where Medicaid dollars for “long-term care” are spent so that more people can live independently at home with supports and services. Sadly, however, right now, 30,000 people are still on a waiting list for home and community based services, and we are in a state budget crisis,” said Bottcher.

The telephone survey fielded last fall interviewed a thousand registered Louisiana voters age 45 and older. Over half – 53 percent—of those surveyed are currently providing or have provided unpaid care to an adult loved one who is ill, frail, elderly or has a physical or mental disability. While 42% believe they will provide this type of care in the future.

"Right now Louisiana has an opportunity to reform how the state supports older Louisianans as they age by introducing managed, coordinated care that will expand service choices for older adults and their families, and achieve real cost savings," says Andrew Muhl, Advocacy Director, AARP Louisiana. "The best way to deliver managed care is to bring together all health care providers--from home and community based services to nursing homes-- as part of a coordinated team."

AARP was one of nearly 40 stakeholders who participated in a two-year work-group with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to discuss ways to best design and implement managed long-term care support and services in the state.  18 states have moved to managed long-term supports and services programs, including coverage of nursing home and home and community based services, in order to increase access to services and save taxpayer dollars.

The managed care program is called Bayou Choices.  AARP strongly supports consumer choice in the program and is encouraging Governor Jindal to move forward with the best practice model.

To download the full survey:   http://www.aarp.org/research/topics/care/info-2015/2014-Caregiving-Survey-Louisiana-Registered-Voters.html

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