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October 06, 2020

King Cosponsors Bill to Expand Workforce Serving Aging Maine People

Bill would build and strengthen America’s caregiving workforce while empowering seniors and people with disabilities to live independently

BRUNSWICK, ME — U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) announced that he has cosponsored the Care Corps Demonstration Act to build and strengthen America’s caregiving workforce and help meet the growing demand for caregivers working with seniors and people living with disabilities. The bill would address the country’s growing caregiving needs by placing volunteers in communities to provide vital assistance to help seniors and people with disabilities who need extra support to remain in their homes and live independently.

“As the oldest state in the nation, Maine is all too aware of the importance of our nation’s caregivers,” said Senator King. “From allowing our seniors to age in place to helping people with disabilities assert their independence, America’s caregivers are vital parts of our communities. As our nation continues to grow grayer, we must to bolster this workforce – with qualified, caring people who will treat our most vulnerable citizens with the dignity they deserve.”

The Care Corps Demonstration Act would:

- Authorize grants for local Care Corps programs at $10 million per year over five years;

- Place Corps volunteers in communities where they will provide services that help seniors and individuals with disabilities remain independent;

- Provide volunteers with health insurance and other benefits during their time of service, along with an educational award that can be used to pay education costs or loans;

- Help build the caregiving and health care workforce needed to meet the demand for services; and

- Create opportunities to form intergenerational relationships.

The nation’s 65-and-older population is expected to almost double in size, from 49 million to 95 million Americans by 2060. By 2030, older Americans are expected to make up nearly 20 percent of the population and over the next ten years the United States is expected to require at least one million more direct care workers. Under this legislation, volunteers could help organize transportation and home repairs, deliver groceries, or provide internet assistance, and would receive health insurance and other benefits throughout the length of their service, along with a robust educational award that can be used to pay future education costs or loans and will encourage volunteers to pursue degrees, certificates, and trainings for health care professions, including caregiving and social services.

As the state with the oldest median age, seniors are a vital part of Maine’s population, and Senator King has made senior issues one of his top priorities. Last March he introduced the Senior and Disability Home Modification Assistance Initiative Act, parts of which were included in the Older Americans Act Reauthorization which was signed into law earlier this year. The legislation would make it easier for older Americans and individuals with disabilities to access federal home modification programs and remain in their homes. He also introduced the DELIVER Act, which would promote volunteerism within meal delivery programs and help provide meals to more seniors across America. Senator King is also a strong proponent of strengthening telehealth, and earlier this year announced his support for the CONNECT for Health Act. He was a cosponsor of the ECHO Act, which was enacted in 2016 and expands access to healthcare through telemedicine in rural and underserved areas.

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