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Last Chances to Weigh in on New State Aging Plan

The staff at AARP New Hampshire is working with state lawmakers to improve home- and community-based caregivers' pay, to help stem a worker shortage in those fields. (AARP NH)
The staff at AARP New Hampshire is working with state lawmakers to improve home- and community-based caregivers' pay, to help stem a worker shortage in those fields. (AARP NH)
December 7, 2018

CONCORD, N. H. – People in New Hampshire have a chance to comment on a new State Plan on Aging – but not for much longer. The last listening sessions as the state creates its new four-year plan are taking place this month, and the deadline for comments in an online survey is Jan. 15, 2019.

Roberta Baker, the "Silver Linings" columnist who covers aging issues at the New Hampshire Union Leader, says caregiving has been one of the top concerns in the listening sessions so far.

"Everyone's complaining about needing more caregivers and more types of support that enable them to stay in their homes, safely," says Baker.

AARP New Hampshire says it will advocate in the legislature for increased rates for providers of home- and community-based services, hoping to help address the workforce shortage around caregiving.

Doug McNutt, advocacy director for AARP New Hampshire, thinks the best outcome would be for the governor to include funding to raise pay rates for workers in home- and community-based services in the state budget.

"What we would hope would happen is the governor would put something like this in his budget, which he'll produce and he'll put out in February," says McNutt.

There's a listening session this morning in Brentwood, and one on Dec. 20 in North Conway. Sessions for LGBT seniors and families are Dec. 10 in Claremont and Dec. 13 in Portsmouth.

According to McNutt, real results have come from these listening sessions.

"The current ServiceLink network, which exists all around the state to help people get services, is something that came out of the listening sessions almost 20 years ago," says McNutt.

ServiceLink is a state program that helps connect people to services and resources related to aging and disability.

The final draft of the State Aging Plan is expected to be released in July.

Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - NH