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Volunteer Advocates Share Priorities with Legislators

Volunteers visit legislators at the state Capitol 0n January 10

Thirty volunteers representing each of Hawaii’s counties visited the state Capitol in Honolulu last Thursday to share with legislators AARP’s state-level advocacy priorities for 2013.

Volunteers provided legislators with copies of bills related to long-term care to be introduced this session by Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland (Senate District 13) and Rep. Gregg Takayama (House District 34).  One of the bills requests funding for a financial and actuarial study on a limited, mandatory public long-term care insurance program, one of the recommendations of the Hawaii Long-Term Care Commission in 2012.

Another bill requests funding for the state’s Kupuna Care program, which offers critical home- and community-based services statewide to Hawaii’s underserved 60+ population.  The third bill requests funding for Hawaii’s Aging and Disability Resource Centers, which help eliminate confusion among people looking for long-term care services.  Each of the bills enjoys the support of senior advocacy groups.

At the Capitol Thursday, volunteers expressed concern about rising long-term care costs that average $126,000 per year in Hawaii, according to a 2012 survey that tracks the cost of care across the country.  Residents’ inability to save and plan for their long-term care needs, and the need to support family caregivers with aging parents/grandparents are at the heart of a challenge rooted in the aging of Hawaii’s population.

In 2010, one in five Hawaii residents was age 60 or older.  With the aging of the baby boomers and increased life expectancy, over one in four people will be 60+ by 2030.

The legislative session opens on Wednesday, January 16.  To get involved as a volunteer advocate with AARP Hawaii, contact Advocacy Director Steve Tam at 808-545-6005 or stam@aarp.org.

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