To the Editor:
As hard as it was getting home care for our dad in the last years of his life, our family was fortunate because he had the resources to pay for it. Most families in Maine are not so lucky, which is why I urge everyone to vote “yes” this fall on Question 1, the Universal Home Care initiative.
My dad, a WWII navy veteran, was a stubborn, fiercely independent man. His end-of-life dementia caused him to turn on his helpers and send them away. The 24-hour care we were finally able to arrange for him costs far more than most Maine families can afford.
Question 1 would ensure all elderly and disabled Mainers needing home care can get it, regardless of income. It pays for it by asking the state’s wealthiest residents, those making over $128,000 a year, to contribute a little more in taxes.
Along with his family, some great people cared for our dad, but finding those kinds of skilled caregivers is getting harder because industry wages are so low. The Universal Home Care initiative would ensure decent pay and benefits for these essential workers.
Maine is the oldest state in the nation and only getting older. If we want to ensure our state’s senior citizens, as well as our disabled citizens, get the care they need at home—instead of being forced into a nursing home after spending down all their savings—we should pass Question 1.