Preventing elder abuse and protecting consumers should be something we all can agree on. That’s one reason hundreds of AARP Kentucky volunteers, chapters and aging advocates came together in the state Capital to Stand Together for Kentucky.
AARP volunteers showed up and made their voices heard in a crowded Capitol Rotunda. Joining the rally was Governor Steve Beshear and key members of the House and Senate to build support for their legislation. See video of the rally online.
AARP volunteers and staff organized the rally to support the group’s key priorities before the 2011 General Assembly:
- Protecting Home and Community Based Services from more budget cuts.
- Preventing elder abuse and requiring criminal background checks for nursing home employees.
- Creating new limits on payday loans to prevent predatory lending practices.
- Creating a state registry of known adult abusers and prohibiting employment or volunteering in health care facilities.
AARP heard from its members and a recent poll of Kentucky’s members found:
- 69% wanted to stay in their own home as they aged
- 68% were concerned with state government cutting services while raising taxes
- 67% were concerned about protecting consumers from unfair financial practices
AARP members told us their stories of being caught in predatory lending practices. One member from central Kentucky reported,
“A few years ago, I got mixed up with a payday lender. I ended up just paying the interest, and then borrowing more. This went on for several months. I used my entire tax return one year to pay it off. I stopped and counted it up, and realized that I paid out over $5,000.00 in loans and interest, just because I was a little short one month. I would have been MUCH better off just going to my landlord, explaining the situation and working out a deal with him!!”
A bill limiting payday loans at 36% APR failed to receive committee approval despite growing evidence (13.3 % of all transactions were made to persons 60+) that these lending practices are targeting older Kentuckians.
In the closing days of the General Assembly, AARP fought to stop proposed cuts to the state’s aging services budget. At press time, left hanging in the balance was state funding for the Medicaid program the Department of Aging and Independent Living (DAIL). Legislators debated how best to fill a $166 million dollar Medicaid budget gap including an across the board state budget cuts. The proposed cuts included more than a million dollar hit to DAIL and other state services.
Celebrating 10 years of service in Kentucky, AARP volunteers and staff continued their advocacy work in the General Assembly since first opening the state office in 2001. Fighting for what’s most important to our members and all generations in Frankfort is one more way AARP delivers for its members.
We all have a stake in getting this right. Contact AARP Kentucky to learn how you can get involved. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.