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Legislators Recognized as “Capitol Caregivers”

AARP Honors State Elected Officials for Helping Family Caregivers

 PROVIDENCE, RI – To recognize their work to support family caregivers in Rhode Island, AARP on April 2 honor House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, Representative Marvin Abney and Representative Joseph McNamara along with  Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, Chairman William Conley and Chairman Walter Felag for their work in helping to secure the funding to create the Livable Home Modification Grant Program, for home modifications such as walk-in/roll-in showers, chair lifts and wheel chair ramps that are intended to keep people in their home and their community instead of costly nursing homes.

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The lawmakers join state-level lawmakers and other officials from around the country as 2018 AARP Capitol Caregivers.

“AARP thanks these members of the General Assembly for their large role in creating the Liveable Homes Modification Grant program,” said AARP Rhode Island State Director Kathleen Connell.

“They provided integral leadership to obtain funding for the program in 2017 and increasing it 2018, helping make the huge responsibilities of family caregivers in Rhode Islanders a little bit easier.”

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Past Rhode Island Capitol Caregiver honorees include then-Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, Senators Gayle L. Goldin,  Joshua Miller, Roger Picard and Maryellen Goodwin, then-Representatives  Eileen S. Naughton, Aaron Regunberg, and Brian Patrick Kennedy. (Mattiello and McNamara also were honored in 2015.)

AARP Rhode Island, our state advocacy volunteers and tens of thousands of the state’s family caregiver owe thanks to all you who have supported our efforts.

2019 RI Capitol Caregivers Senators

They join, in the Class of 2018, a bipartisan group of 65 elected officials from 24 states. These leaders have advanced policies that support family caregivers in Rhode Island and across the nation who help their parents, spouses and other loved ones live independently at home and in the community—where they want to be.

<<See more photos from the award ceremonies>>


Family caregivers carry a huge responsibility. According to AARP’s Public Policy Institute, at any time during the year, an estimated 134,000 Rhode Island caregivers step up to provide nearly 150 million hours of care for an aging parent or loved one, helping them to live independently in their own homes. The care that these family caregivers provide is valued at nearly $1.8 billion per year.

“Family caregivers are a vital part of Rhode Island’s care system,” added Connell. “They need our support. They deserve or support and sometimes families survive because of the many ways we, as a statewide community, can help.  Thanks to the General Assembly, qualifying caregiving families can now make home improvements that make life less challenging.

Every day,  40 million Americans help parents, spouses and other loved ones live independently at home, where they want to be. Family caregiving is a labor of love, to be sure, but it can also be a challenge. Care responsibilities can include providing transportation, cooking meals, managing finances, performing complex medical tasks, helping with bathing and dressing, and so much more. Sixty percent of family caregivers juggle full- or part-time jobs with their caregiving duties, and many are still raising their families.

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