Washington, DC – Caring Across Generations is pleased to announce the introduction of legislation by United States Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) that would enable states to proactively address the growing need for long-term care faced by American families. Seventy percent of people aged sixty-five or older need some form of support. By 2050, the total number of people needing long-term care and personal assistance is projected to grow from 12 million to 27 million.
The bill introduced today, known as the “Living Independently for Extended Time Act” (the LIFEtime Act), would establish an “Innovation Fund,” a federal grant program that will provide support to states to develop and implement innovative long-term care solutions and pilot programs.
“More Americans are living longer than ever before, and most of us already cannot afford to care for our aging parents and grandparents. Our current caregiving infrastructure is, frankly, out of date and out of touch,” said Caring Across Generations co-director Ai-jen Poo. “But the coming Elder Boom presents tremendous power and opportunity. Giving states the resources to design and test innovative ideas is how we will create the solutions we need to enable our seniors to age well in their homes and communities,” Ms. Poo continued.
“Almost all our major laws and systems for care are based on standards and demographics from another era,” said Josephine Kalipeni, Caring Across Generations Director of Policy & Partnerships. “But in communities across the country, we are more connected across generations and people are already adapting. With smart federal investments, states can act as laboratories for creating a care infrastructure that will enable us to live to our fullest potential at any stage of life. It’s time to bring caregiving into the 21st century.”
Already, many state governments are recognizing the need to address long-term care challenges. This year alone, several states, with the support of Caring Across Generations, have begun taking critical first steps to create quality affordable care choices, support families whose loved ones require caregiving, and ensure that the jobs created in the caring economy provide employment security and a decent standard of living for caregiving professionals:
In Washington, the Governor and the State legislature approved resources for the Department of Social and Health Services to conduct a study on how to finance long-term care in the state. The study is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016.
In Colorado, the legislature created a strategic planning group to identify the long-term challenges and opportunities posed by Colorado’s aging population, and to recommend concrete steps and legislation to improve how public and private organizations respond to the challenges.
And in Hawaii, Caring Across partner organization Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE) is preparing to introduce legislation that would establish a statewide long-term care insurance program for working families – the first publicly funded long-term care insurance program in the U.S.
“In Hawaii, there’s growing recognition that we can’t wait any longer to tackle this issue,” added FACE Executive Director Leotele Togafau. “States like Hawaii are leading the way to get ahead of a caregiving crisis, and to catalyze the kind of bold change that is needed nationwide. The resources offered by the LIFEtime Act would go a long way towards making aging with dignity a reality. Our ohana need and deserve nothing less.”
About Caring Across Generations
Caring Across Generations is a national movement of families, caregivers, people with disabilities and aging Americans working to transform the way we care in this country. By harnessing the power of online action, grassroots organizing and innovative culture change work, we are shifting how our nation values caregiving and calling for policy solutions that enable all of us to live and age with dignity and independence. For more information visit: www.caringacross.org.