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AARP Advocates Defending Services to Keep Mainers in Their Homes

AARP regularly surveys its members to assess their interests and concerns. The results of these surveys are used to help determine what activities we engage in and the issues we advocate for, both nationally and in Maine.

One recent member opinion survey, conducted in May 2010, showed that most AARP members in Maine are very concerned about issues that have the potential to threaten their independence.

For instance, eight in ten AARP members in Maine are concerned about staying healthy and mentally sharp, and about seven in ten are concerned about staying in their homes as they age.

However, AARP members are not unique in their desire to remain in their homes. When AARP surveyed adults in Maine prior to the gubernatorial election, we found about seventy percent of Mainers thought it should be a priority for Maine’s next governor to ensure that Maine residents have services available so they can remain in their homes and communities as they age.

As the state is once again facing huge budget deficits, the legislature is looking for any expenses that can be cut to close the fiscal gap. With the state being mandated to pay for nursing home care but not home-based care, services that enable seniors to remain in their homes are usually on the budget-cutting target list. With most Mainers wanting to remain in their homes, and so many waiting for services to allow them to do so, AARP again has made it a legislative priority in Maine this year to defend home and community-based services against state budget cuts.

Backed by membership of 235,000 Mainers and armed with data showing how the vast majority of Maine AARP members would prefer to receive long-term care services at home rather than in a nursing home, AARP advocates will be working this spring to make sure that state legislators and the Governor do not close the state’s budget gaps through cuts to home care services. Maine’s AARP staff and volunteers will be doing outreach to legislators and the media with AARP member data showing how important it is for the state to maintain and expand access to home- and community-based services

To get involved in AARP’s legislative activities to maintain home-and-community based services, contact AARP Maine Advocacy Director, John Hennessy via email at jhennessy@aarp.org.

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