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Advocates Secure Funding for Long-Term Care Programs

In a dual win for AARP advocates in the 2012 legislative session, state lawmakers appropriated $1.4 million to set up a one-stop source for long-term care options and boosted funding for Kupuna Care by $4.2 million.

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The funding comes as Hawaii’s population ages and the demand for long-term care services grows. Hawaii already stands among the top states in the percentage of older residents. By the year 2030 it’s estimated that 327,000 Hawaii residents – more than 22 percent of the state’s population – will be age 65 or older.

Part of the funding will bolster the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), which is designed as a one-stop resource for individuals in need of long-term care assistance or planning options, regardless of income.

So far the development of Hawaii’s ADRC has been slow, with only one physical site available – in Hilo. The state provides access for the rest of the islands through a website and toll-free phone numbers. Still, Hawaii is behind other states in streamlining and simplifying access to information and services. An AARP report ranked Hawaii 41st in the nation in developing a fully functioning ADRC to help residents navigate the state’s complicated web of long-term care services.

Kupuna Care provides home and community based services to the growing number of frail elderly residents across Hawaii. It is a state-funded program providing assistance with such services as bathing, grooming, transportation and home-delivered meals for those who can’t afford to pay for private in-home services yet aren’t poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.

This year’s funding for Kupuna Care nearly doubled the program’s annual base budget, which had remained at about $4.8 million for the past decade despite an increased demand for safety net services.

AARP is a membership organization for people age 50 and older with nearly 150,000 members in Hawaii. We champion access to affordable, quality health care for all generations, provide the tools needed to save for retirement, and serve as a reliable information source on issues critical to older Americans. Follow AARP HI on Facebook and Twitter.

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