Senator Hwang Testifies in Support of Increased Funding for the Alzheimer’s Disease Respite Care Program

March 5, 2024


March 5, 2024

Media Contact:
Joe Canino
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Senator Hwang Testifies in Support of Increased Funding for the Alzheimer’s Disease Respite Care Program


HARTFORD – Senator Tony Hwang testified today before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Aging Committee in support of SB 244: AN ACT EXPANDING ACCESS TO THE ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE RESPITE CARE PROGRAM. This initiative aims to increase funding to the program to better support Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients, as well as their caregivers. Presently, the program can cover expenses up to $7,500 annually, with a cap of 30 days for out-of-home respite care. But that is only within available appropriations.

This proposed legislation would task the Commissioner of Social Services with seeking additional federal funding for this program, including an 1115 Social Security Waiver, to sustain this program. With federal ARPA funds set to expire soon, a more sustainable funding mechanism is necessary to ensure the program’s longevity.

As Connecticut strives to shift towards encouraging elderly individuals to utilize home and community-based services instead of traditional nursing homes, more family members are assuming caregiver responsibilities for their aging loved ones. As of May 2023, over 420,000 caregivers in Connecticut provided unpaid care, totaling 390 million hours in a calendar year. This unpaid assistance amounts to approximately $7.2 billion annually, a significant portion of which could have been covered by the state’s Medicaid program.

“Family caregivers devote every waking moment of their lives to supporting a loved one with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. People with these diagnoses require round-the-clock, comprehensive care. This care can be incredibly stressful on the family caregiver, who needs a recoup and recover in order to continue providing excellent care. Increased access to respite care is essential to giving these heroes a well-deserved break. We must ensure that this program remains adequately funded.” Remarked Senator Tony Hwang.

“Nearly 60% of Alzheimers and Dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high. Expanding the Alzheimer’s Respite Care Program would help caregivers who are helping take care of their loved ones at home with being able to access much-needed support services like adult day centers and in-home care so that the caregivers can manage their own needs while taking care of their loved ones. ” Said Christy Kovel, Director of Public Policy for the Alzheimer’s Association, Connecticut Chapter.

“I was a caregiver for my husband who passed away at 56 from early onset Alzheimer’s. The level of exhaustion I experienced was one I did not know existed. We need more respite care for anyone taking care of an elderly family member.” Said Lisa Marshall, a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association, Connecticut Chapter.

(In the group picture, pictured from left to right: Christy Kovel, Lisa Marshall, Senator Tony Hwang, Marilyn Kowalski, Rick Collins.