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AARP AARP States Massachusetts

AARP Massachusetts Supports Bill Allowing Spouses to Serve as Paid Caregivers


AARP is fighting for America’s over 48 million family caregivers who help seniors live independently in their homes and communities- where they want to. Family caregivers need commonsense solutions that will save time and money and provide more support. In Massachusetts, right now, that means allowing spouses to be hired and paid as caregivers.

A bill on Beacon Hill would allow a spouse to be hired as a caregiver if requested by the patient, just as other family relatives are permitted to serve as caregivers.

AARP Massachusetts supports An Act Allowing Spouses to Serve as Caregivers. Senate Bill no. 67/House Bill no. 216. AARP submitted testimony to the Massachusetts Legislature Joint Committee on Children, Families and Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.

“The current system for providing and funding long term services and supports (LTSS) is largely uncoordinated, fragmented, and costly. The majority of services are provided by unpaid family caregivers,” Massachusetts State Director Mike Festa stated in the letter.

“Family caregiving already serves a critical role in mitigating the growing strain on the LTSS system, in part by expanding the caregiver pool. As Americans continue to live longer, family members are providing ever more complex care at home, often for longer periods of time,” wrote Sandra Harris, Volunteer State President AARP Massachusetts.

You can read the letter here.

The testimony also points out paying spouses as caregivers answers multiple needs:

• The person who needs care can age at home, which is the preference for the vast majority of people who need LTSS.

• The family caregiver earns modest income, mitigating the impact of lost job hours.

• It is a lifeline to families who cannot otherwise afford to care for their family member.

• Costs are kept lower. One analysis found the average monthly cost for self-directed care was $1,774 in 2019, compared to $6,175 for a semi-private nursing home room.

• Costly institutionalization is delayed or avoided entirely.

Other state Medicaid agencies have lifted some restrictions and allowed more family members to be hired and paid as caregivers. AARP believes The Commonwealth should do the same.

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