HONOLULU, HI – Thursday, March 10 marks the midpoint of Hawai’i’s legislative session, commonly known as “Crossover Day.” Bills that will progress no further include SB2478 and HB1885, which called for an in-home long-term care benefit of $70 per day, for 365 days. While not intended to cover stays in long-term care facilities or assisted living facilities, the benefit would help family caregivers install safety equipment like grab bars or ramps to make sure their home is safe for their loved ones, or hire someone to come into their homes for a few hours a week to help with care.
Despite enormous community support, including more than 1350 voters who signed a petition of support and 20 faith leaders who signed a letter to the Ways and Means committee urging the passage of the bill, rigorous study and examination, and the undeniable need in Hawai’i for this program, some members of the House Finance and Senate Ways and Means committees chose not to allocate resources for an issue that we know is a priority for seniors, caregivers, and sandwich generation families.
In a Town Hall meeting on February 29, attended by more than 200 interested members of the community, former Governor Neil Abercrombie reminded advocates that this setback doesn’t mean the work is over. He talked about the ongoing need for the community to unite and push ahead in supporting a solution to the problem, and supporting the work of legislators like Senator Baker in solving it.
Clementina Ceria-Ulep of Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE), reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to improving the conditions around caring for kupuna. “Supporting home caregiving means Hawai’i can honor the wishes of our seniors, improve their health and quality of life, and help family caregivers afford to keep their loved ones safe at home. We thank those legislators who championed this bill, including Senator Baker and Senator Chun Oakland. We will keep working to make support for our kupuna and their family caregivers the law of the land in Hawai’i, and we hope that Representative Luke and Senator Tokuda will join with us ahead of the 2017 legislative session to agree on a way to finance this important program.”
# # #
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 and grassroots organizing and culture change work, we are shifting how our nation values caregiving and calling for policy solutions that enable all of us to live well and age with dignity. For more information, please visit caringacross.org.