AARP Maine, Alzheimer’s Assoc., Maine Chapter, MS Society and MCOA Celebrate Passage of Joint Resolution to Support Maine Family Caregivers

 Host Press Conference at State House

 

AUGUSTA: On April 3, representatives from AARP Maine, the Alzheimer’s Association Maine Chapter, the MS Society and the Maine Council on Aging hosted a press conference to celebrate the passage of LR 2961, a Joint Resolution to Support Family Caregivers in Maine. The press conference featured House Majority Leader and House Chair of the Aging Caucus, Erin Herbig, and Senate Assistant Republican Leader and Senate Chair of the Aging Caucus, Amy Volk.   Also in attendance were Maine family caregivers who have experienced first-hand the challenges of caring for a loved one.

 

The focus of the discussion, moderated by AARP Maine Volunteer State President, Rich Livingston, centered on these challenges as well as the need for policy solutions in the nation’s oldest state.

“Today, 178,000 Mainers are caring for a spouse, parent or other loved one to help them live safely and independently at home,” Livingston said during the press conference. “Being a family caregiver is a labor of love, but it can also take a toll financially and emotionally. Caregivers should be able to focus on caring for their loved one with access to supports and services that help them provide that care.”

AARP Maine today releases the results of a survey conducted in 2017.  The survey reveals that Maine family caregivers believe it is important to help their loved ones live independently at home. However, according to the survey, their challenges include 59% using their own money to support their caregiving needs and 65% stating that they feel emotionally stressed due to their caregiving responsibilities. Click here to view the survey infographic: ME Caregiving Survey Infographic

AARP Maine applauds the passage of LR2961 and notes that federal legislation which requires the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers became law just last month.  The RAISE Family Caregivers Act, which AARP endorsed, was sponsored by Senator Susan Collins and co-sponsored by Senator Angus King, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Congressman Bruce Poliquin.

Representative Erin Herbig, who co-signed the Maine Joint Resolution stated: “Balancing a full time job while caring for children and an aging parent, often with little to no help, is the reality for many Maine families. Caregivers deserve support, access to affordable services and help navigating home health care options so no Maine senior has to leave the community they love.”

During her remarks, Senator Amy Volk said: “It is very important for us to look at the policies that enable Mainers to take care of their loved ones.  I look forward to supporting the Joint Resolution in the Senate.”

The Joint Resolution asks the state legislature to consider certain measures which will include:

  1. Reviewing state policies and programs for their effectiveness in addressing the needs of family caregivers and their loved ones.
  2. Recognizing November as Maine Family Caregivers Month.

“Caregivers are hit the hardest by the Alzheimer’s crisis and it is growing,” explains Adam Lacher, Director of Advocacy at the Alzheimer’s Association Maine Chapter. “The 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report released last week reveals that 70 percent of care costs are borne by family caregivers directly through out-of-pocket expenses and the value of their unpaid care. There is an enormous financial, emotional and physical burden on Alzheimer’s caregivers and we are grateful for this legislation.” Several family caregivers were in the audience today and shared how they struggle to care for a loved one at home.

A copy of the resolution was sent to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services upon its passage.

“Today’s resolution is just the beginning of necessary long-term care system reform to address the comprehensive needs of older Mainers and their caregivers,” said Livingston. “We look forward to continuing our work with the Maine Legislature on behalf of Mainers 50+ and their families.”

AARP Maine’s Caregiver Resource Guide is available here or by emailing me@aarp.org. The AARP Caregiver Resource Center can also provide helpful tips and tools for family caregivers of all ages.

Press Contact: Jane Margesson, AARP Maine Communications Director, 229-5628 or jmargesson@aarp.org

ME Caregiving Survey Infographic

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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into ‘Real Possibilities’ by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @aarp and our CEO @JoAnn_Jenkins on Twitter.