AARP Massachusetts Urges Action on State Budget Priorities

Posted on 03/08/23

AARP Massachusetts has sent a letter to the chairmen of the Senate and House Ways and Means Committees asking them to fund vital programs and services for older adults in the budget for the 2024 fiscal year.

The letter highlights the growing aging population in the Bay State, shares AARP Massachusetts' priorities and urges the legislators to fully fund a wide variety of programs that are crucial to Massachusetts residents 50+.

Here's the letter:

Dear Chairmen Rodrigues and Michlewitz:

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. On behalf of the nearly 38 million members nationwide and 760,000 members here in the Commonwealth, we urge you to fully fund the programs and services that help support older residents.

In 2020, the 60-plus group comprised 24 percent of the population. Adults 60 and over in Massachusetts will soon eclipse the under-20 age cohort for the first time in recorded history. As the aging population of Massachusetts continues to grow, so does concern over unique issues related to financial, health and long-term care needs. Both planning and action by the Commonwealth are required to make our society work well on behalf of all its residents.

The Fiscal Year 2024 budget provides funding for vital programs and services for older Massachusetts residents. AARP Massachusetts’ budget priorities include programs and services that recognize and support the critical role of family caregivers; help people stay in their own home and community; strengthen the financial security of Massachusetts residents; and encourage age-friendly communities.

Governor Healey’s first budget prioritizes many programs and services that will help the Bay State’s older residents. This includes increased funding levels over Fiscal Year 2023 for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation; Council on Aging grants; Community Choices program; Elder Home Care Purchased Services; and elimination of the Medicare Savings Program asset limit.

AARP urges you to adopt all of the above-mentioned budget recommendations by the Governor, in addition to the following:

• Full and adequate funding to provide home and community-based care that enables older and disabled persons to remain healthy and independent;

• Development of a long-term care continuum, which includes high quality, affordable skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, adult day health services, senior housing and home and community-based services, to meet the needs of our aging population;

• Funding for defined leaves of absences for nursing home residents;

• Full and adequate funding of Elder Protective Services, including adult guardianship and the Money Management Program;

• Full and adequate funding to ensure direct care workers who provide home and community-based care receive a living wage that keeps workers’ pay commensurate with the local cost of living;

• Support for family caregiver assistance, including education and training, counseling, legal consultations, respite care, adult day services, and programs that help individuals pay relatives and friends who provide care;

• Full and adequate funding for the Councils on Aging and Senior Centers; and

• Full and adequate funding for the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to serve as a highly visible advocate and planner within state government and a point of recourse for older residents.

AARP believes the Commonwealth must invest in these vital programs, services, and budgets now. We know that with each budget, difficult decisions must be made. We also know that the most vulnerable among us must be protected.

We look forward to working with you and would be happy to assist you in any way possible on these important issues,

Very truly yours,

Michael E. Festa Sandra Harris

State Director State President

You can read the actual letter sent here as well.

This story is provided by AARP Massachusetts. Visit the AARP Massachusetts page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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