Maureen Maigret published a piece in the Warwick Beacon on the moral and economic imperative of investing to empower older Rhode Islanders to age well. In it, she cites a recent study by the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts that found that half of older, single Rhode Islanders are economically insecure. Although they live above the federal poverty line, at $12,490, they lack the necessary income to pay the estimated $25,610 needed for basic living expenses.

The study also found one in five older Rhode Island couples is economically insecure. Older women, in particular, face a significant economic hardship, as they tend to live alone and have lower incomes than their male peers. Without financial assistance, needed  in-home and adult-day-health services are not affordable and out of reach.

The result?

These Rhode Islander’s will likely move out of their homes and into care facilities prematurely – quickly spending down their assets and ending up on state Medicaid rolls, at a huge cost to taxpayers. Thus, Maureen recommends strengthening investment in programs like At-Home Cost Share. This program subsidies  in-home and adult-day-health care for low income older Rhode Islander’s and as the author argues, a prudent use of state dollars.

 

A former Warwick state representative and director of the RI Department of Elderly Affairs, Maureen Maigret is co-chair of the Rhode Island Long-Term Care Coordinating Council.