Sen. Kelly: Community-based care would help seniors

State Sen. Kevin Kelly
State Sen. Kevin Kelly

State Sen. Kevin C. Kelly has applauded the bipartisan vote supporting legislation that would refocus the state’s aging policy toward community-based care and aging-in-place policies during a recent Aging Committee meeting.

Kelly, whose district includes Shelton, said many of the proposals he has introduced “have gained bipartisan support as we take real steps to shift the state’s focus toward smarter healthcare initiatives for seniors. Aging in place and community-based care have the potential to transform and improve life for members of our aging population.”

Kelly, a Republican in his second term, will continue to serve as the ranking senator of the Aging Committee in 2013.

Four main proposals

Many of his proposals build on laws that were passed during the past two legislative sessions, and are designed to improve the quality of life for seniors. The bills now await further consideration and action.

These measures include:

Senate Bill 884, An Act Increasing Eligibility for Home and Community-Based Care for Elderly Persons and Those with Alzheimer's Disease

Senate Bill 884 implements the work of the Aging in Place Task Force recommendations. The task force was created by legislation originally introduced and cosponsored by Senator Kelly. The bill would expand the eligibility of seniors and those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease for state-funded home and community-based care. It would increase the annual income limit from $41,000 to $50,000 and liquid asset limit from $109,000 to $111,000, allowing more seniors and retirees to participate in the program.

Senate Bill 886, An Act Concerning Aging in Place

Senate Bill 886 would provide support for seniors to safely and effectively age in place in a setting of their choice. It would improve and expand outreach for senior nutrition programs, provide funding for senior and disabled transportation programs, establish tax incentives for purchasing long-term care insurance, create an elder abuse complaint system and financial abuse reporting program, and launch a public awareness campaign about aging in place.

Senate Bill 937, An Act Concerning Care for Elderly Persons in a Home Setting Rather Than a Nursing Home Facility

Senate Bill 937 would ensure that 75% of elderly persons who require long-term care will receive the necessary care in a home setting rather than a nursing home facility by Dec. 31, 2015. It would also require the state Department of Social Services to conduct a study identifying the number of seniors projected to need long-term care, the percentage of those seniors who would be capable of receiving long-term care in a home setting, the federal and state funding available to support this care. The study also would look at the projected savings from providing care in a home setting rather than a nursing home facility, the changes in the labor market needed to provide this care, and the potential impact on nursing home facilities.

House Bill 6396, An Act Concerning Livable Communities

House Bill 6396 would encourage the design and development of livable communities in which Connecticut seniors can age in place. A livable community is one in which residents have access to affordable and appropriate housing, infrastructure, community services and transportation options. It would also require the state Commission on Aging to establish a new initiative to determine best practices and help municipal and state leaders to design livable communities to allow residents to age in place.