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Home and Community-Based Services, Grandparents Rights Top AARP Mississippi Legislative Agenda

AARP Mississippi is holding lawmakers to a 2011 promise to allocate an additional $16 million this year for services that can help people continue to live at home as they age. AARP Mississippi’s second key issue is strengthening laws to provide more rights for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. The laws would give grandparents rights to decisions about education, as well as allow grandparents to access Temporary Funds for Needy Families.

Last year, former Gov. Haley Barbour, R, sought to apply a Medicaid budget surplus of $32 million to home- and community-based services, but half of those funds went to education and mental health services instead. Mississippi spent less than 11 percent of its Medicaid long-term care money in 2009 on home- and community-based services.

These services include: homemaker services, adult day services, expanded home health services, home-delivered meals, escorted transportation, institutional respite and/or in-home respite, transition assistance and case management.

The state ranks last in the nation in providing such services, despite the fact that most people would prefer to live at home than in a nursing home. Moreover, in-home services typically cost about a third as much as nursing home care.

If given the choice between growing older at home or growing older in a nursing home, most people would choose home. In fact, 89 percent of Americans would choose to stay at home if they could access the care they need, according to an AARP survey.

To get involved with AARP Mississippi’s advocacy efforts, call 1-866-554-5382 or visit AARP Mississippi online and like us on Facebook.

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