Senator Kelly: Community-Based Care Would Improve Quality of Life for Connecticut Seniors

March 7, 2013

Hartford – State Senator Kevin C. Kelly (R-21) applauded the bipartisan vote supporting legislation that would refocus the state’s aging policy toward community-based care and aging in place during an Aging Committee meeting at the Legislative Office Building on Thursday, March 7th.

“This year, I introduced several proposals that would improve the state’s policies affecting seniors and their families,” said Senator Kelly. “I am proud that many of my proposals have gained bipartisan support as we take real steps to shift the state’s focus toward smarter health care initiatives for seniors. Aging in place and community-based care have the potential to transform and improve life for members of our aging population.”

During the 2013 legislative session, Senator Kelly continues to serve as the ranking senator of the Aging Committee. Many of his proposals build on important laws that were passed during the past two legislative sessions and have since gained unanimous support from the committee.

Senator Kelly’s proposals would focus on improving the quality of life for seniors and shifting the state’s focus to community-based care. 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 886, An Act Concerning Aging in Place
  • Senate Bill 937, An Act Concerning Care for Elderly Persons in a Home Setting Rather Than a Nursing Home Facility
  • House Bill 6396, An Act Concerning Livable Communities

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 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, establishing tax incentives for purchasing long-term care insurance, creating an elder abuse complaint system and financial abuse reporting program and launch a public awareness campaign about aging in place.

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 December 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 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 would foster 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 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.

“I am urging members of the legislature to consider and support these important proposals that will help seniors remain in their homes and benefit from community-based care,” continued Senator Kelly. “These smart proposals will improve the quality of life of our aging population, and I hopefully look forward to bipartisan support on the floor of the Senate.”

These proposals now await further consideration and action. S.B. 884 was sent to the Appropriations Committee. Both S.B. 886 and S.B. 937 were sent to the floor of the Senate, and H.B. 6396 was sent to the floor of the House of Representatives.