By Maureen Maigret, Chair Aging in Community Subcommittee of the Long Term Care Coordinating Council —
Advocacy groups including the Aging in Community Subcommittee, the Senior Agenda Coalition and AARP collaborated on achieving a more Age-Friendly state budget for the coming fiscal year starting on July 1st. Studies consistently show remaining in their own homes is what older persons prefer and want in their older years. And the budget includes a number of items aimed at helping older adults to remain healthy, engaged and living at home. In crafting the budget House and Senate leaders and members of the legislature recognized the growth of our older population and supported many of the funding and policy recommendations contained in the Aging in Community Subcommittee’s Strategic Plan.
Funding to support Aging in Community and Age-Friendliness include:
- Increasing funding for local senior centers and senior programs from $400,000 to $800,000 as proposed by Governor Gina Raimondo,
- Doubling funding for Livable Home Modification grants from $250,000 to $500,000, and
- Increasing Home Care Provider Rates by 10% for Personal Care workers who work with elders, children and the developmentally disabled population and 20% for skilled nursing and therapy services. In addition, starting next year a Cost of Living Adjustment in home care rates will be provided.
Importantly, language is included in the budget to significantly strengthen the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC – known as the POINT) by requiring it operate an internet-based searchable database of services, conduct public outreach and education, and offer options counseling. Kudos to legislative leaders and the many legislative champions for aging in community for including these provisions in the final budget they adopted.