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March 14, 2014

Council releases 'Blueprint for Action on Aging'

Read the report

See the Maine Council on Aging's full action plan.

The Maine Council on Aging has released its plan to address the needs of the state's rapidly aging population, identifying higher pay for home care service workers and greater support for seniors in the workplace as top priorities.

The report breaks down recommendations for the state to make that would improve seniors' access to affordable housing, transportation, health care and employment. Maine House Speaker Mark Eves, who headed the council, said a new group organized as the Maine Aging Initiative will convene working groups in communities around the state in the coming months in pursuit of the plan's goals.

Among the plan's recommendations, the council suggested that Maine should increase Medicaid reimbursements paid for home care services that help keep older people out of nursing homes. Low reimbursements have led to low wages and curtailed services in rural areas, the report found, and leave seniors with the only option of more expensive institutional care.

The report highlights that one in four Mainers is expected to be over the age of 65 in about 20 years. The report also suggests that more research go into technologies that would allow rural seniors to remain at home and receive care, that the state develop a model for "aging friendly workplaces" and explore ways to tap the experience of older workers and that the state boost its support for students pursuing careers in health care and social services fields.

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