Rep. Arthur O’Neill (R-69) and Senator Rob Kane (R-32) today joined other advocates for the elderly to hail the re-opening of the state’s Alzheimer’s respite care program to eligible new applicants.
“I have long been an advocate of programs to help seniors return to the community such as Money Follows the Person. The programs we are talking about today are also important in helping seniors stay in their homes and communities. Most seniors I have spoken to have no wish to be in a nursing. In addition, seniors staying in their homes saves the state large amounts of money. Home care is a win-win,” said Representative O’Neill.
“The Connecticut Statewide Respite Care Program offers a lifeline to those who care for their loved ones at home, and many of us have been working hard to re-open it ever since state budget constraints resulted in the program being closed to new applicants last spring. Making it more feasible for victims of this horrible disease to stay home for as long as possible is a blessing for many families. Also, providing respite services saves taxpayers’ money by preventing, or at least delaying, the need to provide more expensive nursing home care,” said Senator Kane.
Senator Kane today held a press conference at the Southbury Senior Center to highlight the need for the Connecticut Statewide Respite Care Program and to announce that it has been re-opened to new applicants. Joining him were Representative Arthur O’Neill (R-69); Laurie Julian, Director of Public Policy, Alzheimer’s Association, Connecticut Chapter; and Mary Ellen Girard, Respite Coordinator, Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging.
The Connecticut Statewide Respite Care Program is a joint partnership between the Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter, the Area Agencies on Aging, and the state Department of Social Services, Aging Services Division. The program provides information, support, the development of an appropriate plan of care, and services for the individual with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. There is a maximum of three thousand five hundred dollars in services available per year to each applicant, and a maximum of 30 days of out of home respite care services (excluding Adult Day Care) available per year to each applicant. Applicants much meet eligibility requirements in order to qualify for services under this program. Advocates noted that, before the program was closed to new applicants in May 2009, requests for respite services had increased by 24 percent.
“Too often, we find caregivers at the breaking point and the Alzheimer’s Respite Care Program provides them with much needed relief. Offering these services helps to protect the health of the caregivers, as well as save the state money by delaying the need for more expensive nursing home care,” said Laurie Julian, Director of Public Policy, Alzheimer’s Association, Connecticut Chapter.
There are more than 70,000 individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s, or a related dementia, and 125,758 caregivers in Connecticut. Approximately 70 percent of those with Alzheimer’s are cared for at home by their families and friends. More information about the Connecticut Statewide Respite Program is available for calling 1-800-994-9422, or by visiting the state Department of Social Services website at www.ct.gov/dss and clicking on the programs and services for elders tab