AARP Eye Center
Important constituencies had a seat at U.S. Senator Todd Young’s table during the August 2023 Congressional recess.
At the beginning of the month, AARP Indiana staff and volunteers met with Senator Young to talk about family caregivers, 790,000 of which live in Indiana), older Hoosiers who still work, and a critical initiative that helps people afford high speed Internet, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
“In Indiana, Family Caregivers provide $10.8 billion in unpaid labor. Nationally, that number is $600 billion,” State Director Sarah Waddle said. “Without them, America's health and long-term care systems would collapse.”
More on Caregiving: AARP Indiana Caregiver Weeklies
Looking beyond caregiving, staff and volunteers discussed the problematic age cap for 65 year olds in the Earned Income Tax Credit – a policy that has the potential to disincentivize older people from working.
“This issue is especially important to older adults who have not yet reached full retirement and cannot draw down Social Security,” Waddle said. “Many older Hoosiers end up working longer because they have not had adequate opportunities to save for retirement.”
Volunteers were on hand to talk about older Hoosiers facing these challenges.
“Like so many AARP volunteer opportunities, you feel like (when you meet with elected officials) you're having an impact on the 50-plus community,” AARP Indiana volunteer Brenda Johnson said.
Last, but certainly not least, on the agenda was advocating for the ACP, a wildly-successful federal initiative that is running low on funding.
“Affordable high-speed internet is critical for the 50-plus who use it to access healthcare, communicate with doctors and caregivers, stay connected to friends and family, and much more,” Waddle said.
AARP Indiana’s efforts around affordable housing were also discussed, an issue the Senator has championed for several years.
“I found Senator Young engaging, respectful, and positive about all the AARP issues presented,” AARP Indiana volunteer Wanda Kiesler said. “There were light moments about state fair food but also reality checks about fiscal restraint and tension in our national legislature for action and bill passing.
“No promises were made, but more awareness, thought, consideration, and action planning was accomplished.”