The race to be Maine’s next governor is looking to be a crowded one. By the first of February, twenty-two candidates had been confirmed, including eight Republicans, seven Democrats, six Independents, and two from the Green Party. With such an active race, there will be many opportunities to get up close to these candidates and learn about why they want to be the next governor of Maine. But, this is also a great time to educate these candidates about what we want.
Maine is already one of the oldest states in the country. According to U.S. Census State Population Projections 2000-2030, as the aging population continues to rapidly grow, by 2030, we will be second only to Florida as the state with the highest percentage of residents age 65 and older. The next Governor must address issues surrounding the growing older population and the infrastructure needed to support it. Currently, the State spends most of its long-term care funds on institutional care despite the fact that most people would prefer to be cared for at home. According to A Balancing Act: State Long-Term Care Reform, AARP Public Policy Institute, Institutional care, such as nursing homes and residential facilities, cost three to four times more than home care.
Maintaining this institutional bias will be financially unsustainable for the State as increasing numbers of residents need long-term care services.
In the upcoming months, AARP will be reaching out to candidates throughout the campaign season to educate them on issues that affect the 50+ population in the State. Most critically, we will be educating them about the importance of having a long-term care system that is poised to handle the upcoming growth of the older population as well as one that supports the desires of Maine residents to remain in their homes as they age.
We are urging our AARP members to talk to the candidates and let them know how important it is that Maine has a long-term care system the allows people to receive the care they need at home rather than in more costly and less desirable institutional settings.
If you would like to get involved with AARP’s efforts to improve the long-term care system in Maine, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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