Tuesday, March 16, 2021
AgeGuide unveiled the 2021 Policy Priorities at the Advocacy Collaborative virtual events in March. These policy priorities center around keeping older adults and caregivers safe through the pandemic and beyond. You can find a printable list of our priorities here.
Federal Policy Priorities
- Strengthen Caregiver support through increased funding for Family Caregiving Programs
- Fund essential services during COVID to address food insecurity and social isolation
- Prioritize and support the aging community for COVID-19 vaccine roll out & outreach
State Policy Priorities
- Support long-term care facilities: staffing, PPE, testing, and vaccines
- Fund the Illinois Family Caregiver Act of 2004
- Prioritize and support the Aging Network for COVID-19 vaccination roll out, education, and outreach
Along with the Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging, AgeGuide is advocating for funding of the Illinois Caregiver Act. This bill, passed in 2004, established a caregiver support program to assist unpaid caregivers through training and education to develop essential caregiving skills and other interventions that provide relief and reduce stress. However, the Act was never funded.
In this legislative session, Representative Kathleen Willis introduced House Bill 293 and Senator Belt introduced Senate Bill 1766 to fund the Illinois Family Caregiver Act. These bills offer an opportunity to support unpaid Illinois family caregivers through appropriating $6,000,000 from the General Revenue Fund to the Department on Aging for services provided under the Family Caregiver Act.
Specifically, these bills would provide the following:
- Evidence–based assessments that tailor interventions to caregivers’ unique needs
- Financial resourcesfor the Aging Network to support family caregivers by enhancing:
– Support services and respite care that provide temporary relief to caregivers
– Transportation infrastructure
– Adult Day Programs
- Medicaidsavings throughdelayed costly nursing home placement
Help support these bills by contacting your legislators today. It’s as easy as a click of a button: https://ageguide.org/advocacy/#/5
Federal COVID Relief
The American Rescue Plan was signed into law on March 11th. The $1.9 trillion bill is the largest public relief bill since the Great Depression. The bill includes funds for unemployment, a new round of stimulus checks, vaccine funds, state and local relief funds, and funding for Older Americans Act services including the following:
- $460 million for Supportive Services (Title IIIB) including supporting and facilitating vaccinations for older adults, and additional activities to mitigate the risks of prolonged social isolation and loneliness among older adults
- $750 million for Congregate and Home-Delivered Nutrition Services (Title III C)
- $25 million for Support and Caregiver Services
- $44 million for Evidence-Based Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- $145 million for National Family Caregiver Support Program
- $10 million for Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
These flexible, emergency funds support AgeGuide’s priorities for essential services, caregiver supports and vaccine outreach. We are grateful to all our legislators for making older adults a priority in this relief bill.