Health & Well-Being Workgroup
Maine has a high number of Boomer-aged workers in health care and social services who will be retiring at the very time that we face an increased need for these services. The need to increase our direct care workforce is hampered by the fact that these jobs tend to provide low wage, minimal benefits and hard working conditions. Community based providers that help keep older people living at home are struggling in some areas and non- existent in others. Older adults in Maine often live far from needed health care and have difficulty accessing and navigating the health care system. Further, health and direct care services are often provided in silos without coordination and a shared care plan. These issues are particularly difficult for older adults living with cognitive impairment or dementia and the loved ones who care for them.
- Increase coordination, quality and continuity of healthcare and community-based services. Support the development and promotion of best practices that support a coordinated community-based response to the health and community-based needs of older adults. These include local-level volunteer “community navigators” and health care workers who coordinate availability of needed health and home care services and support older adults and emerging community health worker models.
- Build stronger collaborative referral systems between first responders, health and home care workers and community based organizations. Increase awareness within health care systems of the needs of older adults, especially those living with disability or dementia, and their caregivers.
- Increase use of telemedicine, home monitoring, and telehealth technologies. Identify and promote currently available technologies, identify barriers to use of these technologies and identify areas of need for development of new technologies.
- Increase outreach to under-served elder populations, including New Mainers, REL Mainers, GLBT elders, island dwelling elders, and older incarcerated adults.
- Develop and support integrated healthcare services throughout the continuum of care.
- Support funding for direct care workers and for support services that help people remain at home (Meals on Wheels, Adult Day Services, Respite Care, Home Based Care).
- Adjust MaineCare provider rates for services that support aging across the aging continuum. Most providers of elder-care services including personal support services, adult day services, home-based care, residential care and nursing home care, have not seen rate increases for services for more than a decade. Reimbursement rates no longer cover the cost of providing services and many providers have stopped providing services in many rural areas, leaving older adults without access to needed services.
Final Report: Health and Wellness and Aging