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AARP AARP States Massachusetts Advocacy

AARP Massachusetts urges legislators to support aging population in budget

The Massachusetts State House in Boston, USA

As the legislature begins writing the Commonwealth's budget for fiscal year 2025, AARP Massachusetts urges the Ways and Means Committee to focus on the growing aging population. The Joint Committee on Ways and Means held it’s first hearing on the next budget Tuesday March 26th. AARP Massachusetts submitted written testimony.

AARP pointed out the Bay State’s population is growing older. In 2020, the 60-plus group comprised 24 percent of the population. Adults 60 and over in Massachusetts will soon eclipse the under-20 age cohort for the first time in recorded history. AARP believes the budget is an opportunity to plan for that.

“As the aging population of Massachusetts continues to grow, so does concern over unique issues related to financial, health and long-term care needs. Both planning and action by the Commonwealth are required to make our society work well on behalf of all its residents.” Mike Festa, AARP Massachusetts said in testimony.

Among the budget items AARP hopes the legislature will fully fund are:

  • Home and community-based care that enables older and disabled persons to remain healthy and independent
  • Development of a long-term care continuum, which includes high quality, affordable skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, adult day health services, senior housing and home and community-based services, to meet the needs of our aging population
  • Funding for defined leaves of absences for nursing home residents
  • Full and adequate funding of Elder Protective Services, including adult guardianship and the Money Management Program
  • Full and adequate funding to ensure direct care workers who provide home and community-based care receive a living wage that keeps workers’ pay commensurate with the local cost of living
  • Support for family caregiver assistance, including education and training, counseling, legal consultations, respite care, adult day services, and programs that help individuals pay relatives and friends who provide care
  • Full and adequate funding for the Councils on Aging and Senior Centers
  • Full and adequate funding for the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to serve as a highly visible advocate and planner within state government and a point of recourse for older residents.

The testimony also backs Governor Maura Healey’s proposal to increase funding on some programs. Those programs include:

  • Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation
  • Supportive Senior Housing program
  • Elder Home Care Purchased Services
  • Elder Protective Services
  • Access to Counsel program.

“AARP believes the Commonwealth must invest in these vital programs, services, and budgets now. We know that with each budget, difficult decisions must be made. We also know that the most vulnerable among us must be protected,” said Sandra Harris, State President AARP Massachusetts.

AARP Massachusetts’ budget priorities include programs and services that recognize and support the critical role of family caregivers; help people stay in their own home
and community; strengthen the financial security of Massachusetts residents; and encourage age-friendly communities.

Once the budget leaves the Joint Ways and Means Committee, the Massachusetts House of Representatives will take up the bill. Then, it’s on to the Massachusetts Senate before it goes to the Governor.

If you would like to read AARP’s written testimony, click here.

AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to the more than 100 million Americans 50-plus and their families: health and financial security, and personal fulfillment. If you’d like to help AARP Massachusetts, let us know.

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