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Connecticut Legislature approves bill aimed at aging-in-place improvements

The Connecticut Legislature has approved a bill requiring the agencies that employ home health aides and other professionals to provide more well-rounded training and incident responses to issues like harassment as the state aims to ease the process for aging in place among its older residents.

The passage of the law, first reported by regional news publication CTInsider, was prioritized this year by the legislature’s Democratic caucus.

It passed in the Connecticut House of Representatives 143-3, and if ratified by the state Senate and signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont (D), the law would “require all home health care attendants, home health aides, homemaker-companions, and hospice agencies to supply employees with identification badges that include names and photographs to be displayed during each client appointment,” the reporting explained.

The state has an estimated 800,000 residents that are at least 60 years old. The law will include a “regulatory presumption” of Medicaid eligibility for senior residents and expand federal funding for people choosing to remain in their homes while needing some outside assistance, such as a home health aide.

“That, in my opinion, is everything that we’ve been working on for years for aging in place,” said Rep. Mitch Bolinsky (R), a ranking member of the state House of Representatives’ committee on aging, told CTInsider.

Rep. Jane Garibay (D), co-chair of the committee on aging, told CTInsider the program would be started through leftover pandemic-era relief funding that the state can access.

Survey and research data from multiple sources increasingly indicates a preference among older Americans to remain in their homes for as long as they can. Earlier this month, two separate studies from Redfin illustrated that older Americans who own their home are financially incentivized to stay put.

Redfin found that more than three-quarters (78%) of American homeowners who are 60 and older are planning to stay in their current home as they age. About one in five baby boomers (19%) are considering moving into an active adult community or have already done so.

Connecticut has been in the news recently for its attention to aging in place. In March, a state-level program that pays caregivers living with loved ones who require special attention, and is designed to facilitate aging in place, reported a surge in demand across the state.

Other states and municipalities have also adopted programs designed to facilitate the aging-in-place preferences of older residents. In the city of Laguna Beach, California, “Lifelong Laguna” is a program that enlists a local area nonprofit to encourage support for aging in place.

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