Hundreds Rally at the State House for Older Adults; AARP delivers caregiving message to the Governor

Posted on 02/27/24

AARP highlighted advocacy priorities at a packed state house rally Tuesday. Hundreds of older Massachusetts residents and supporters turned out for 2024’s Older Adult Lobby day. AARP was among the sponsors. AARP State Director Mike Festa acted as Master of Ceremonies introducing a variety of speakers who work with older Massachusetts residents.

The event was an opportunity to advocate for critical supports to help older adults and people with disabilities live healthy lives in the community.

“We will continue to be the fierce defender of critical issues affecting older adults in the Commonwealth” said Sandra Harris, President, AARP Massachusetts. “Our priorities for this year include supporting family caregivers, making our communities more livable, and ensuring all Bay Staters enjoy the financial security to choose how they live as they age.”

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AARP also used the time on Beacon Hill to deliver over 1200 postcards to Governor Maura Healey. AARP members sent the governor postcards asking her to support a refundable $1500 caregiver tax credit. AARP knows family caregivers need commonsense solutions that will save them time and money and provide them with more support. Last year, Gov. Healey signed into law a $440 dependent caregiver tax credit. AARP believes more needs to be done.

Caregiving was a key component of the lobby Day. Sandra Harris spoke of the need to explain just what caregiving is.

“We must continue educating caregivers and lawmakers. Oftentimes loved ones do not self-identify as being caregivers. We want our lawmakers to know: Most older adults in the Commonwealth want to stay at home, or in the community as they age. In Massachusetts alone, more than 780,000 family caregivers make it possible for their loved ones to live in dignity in their homes and communities….to maintain their own way of life!”

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Two lawmakers who are longtime champions for older adults started out the program. Senator Pat Jehlen Democrat - Somerville and Representative Tom Stanley Democrat -Waltham both spoke to a packed audience in the Hall of Flags.

“We are here to advocate for policy and budget items that support our older adults and the people who care for them” said Rep. Stanley “Your voices will help prioritize these policy and budget items.”

“The issues important to seniors have been on the back burner for far too long” Jehlen told the audience Sen. Jehlen talked about how staffing shortages impact seniors. “The workforce Challenge is a direct result of not paying workers enough”

Also Speaking: The Honorable Richard Moore, former MA Senator from Dignity Alliance; Betsey Crimmins, Executive Director, Mass Home Care; Betsy Connell, Executive Director, Mass Councils on Aging.

If you’re interested in advocating for older adults like you, join us for our mobilization Monday meetings. You can register here.

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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