Legislators hold roundtable on aging at the Baldwin Center

Stratford Star

Senator Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) joined U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn) and Commissioner on Aging Elizabeth Ritter at a roundtable discussion on issues impacting older Americans, their families, caretakers and service providers on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at the Baldwin Senior Center in Stratford. The discussion included an audience of care managers and health care providers.

“In Connecticut, our population of seniors is rapidly growing,” said Senator Kelly. “As baby boomers continue growing older our senior population is set to increase dramatically in the next few years. This ‘silver tsunami’ makes it all the more important that we address the needs of older citizens and their families now. Connecticut has been a national leader on many fronts when it comes to aging issues. But we can still do better. I’m committed to advancing legislation here in our state that protects and empowers seniors to access the care and support they need as they age, and that provides family members with the tools they need to care for their loved ones.”

“Too many family members are on double duty, caring for children and elderly parents. While our loved ones want to age at home, time and money constraints make that increasingly difficult. We need to make sure that family caregivers have the support and services they need. Thank you to all the state and local leaders, family members, providers, and advocates who came to my roundtable today. I look forward to working with everyone as I bring lessons learned to Washington to help shape better policies for families and seniors,” said Senator Chris Murphy.

Topics of discussion included new federal legislation such as the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act and the CARE (Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable) Act. The CARE Act, while a national initiative, also passed in a bill before the Connecticut General Assembly this year.

Lawmakers praised the state’s passage of the CARE Act which requires hospitals to:

  • Provide each patient with the opportunity to designate a caregiver upon the patient’s admission to the hospital;
  • Notify the designated caregiver if the patient is to be discharged to another facility or back to his or her home, and;
  • Provide the caregiver with instructions on how to perform medication management, wound care, injections or other medical tasks for the patient when the patient returns home.

According to the Legislative Council on Aging, there are more than 500,000 Connecticut residents who provide care every day to their loved with tasks such as bathing, dressing, finances, transportation, and medical care. The total economic impact of this unpaid care is estimated to be $5.8 billion.

Senator Kelly also expressed his support for expanding the state’s long term care ombudsman to also oversee protections for community based services. Currently, the ombudsman only handles complaints reported within nursing homes.

“Our state is making strides to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to age in place and stay in their own communities. To do that, we need strong community based services that have proper protections and oversight in place,” said Sen. Kelly.