Stepping Up For Seniors

As a former case manager with Elder Services of Merrimack Valley, Sen. L’Italien has made serving and improving the lives of seniors a top priority. As Chair of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on on Elder Affairs, Sen. L’Italien has focused her legislation and advocacy for seniors on housing, employment, healthcare, and income. Before she began her career as a legislator, she also worked at the Mass. Elder Abuse Hotline and West Suburban Elder Services. She has worked to ensure that the Prescription Advantage; Senior Circuit-breaker tax relief and Council on Aging programs remain funded, including pushing through an increase in local COA funding this year. She has been and will continue to be focused on making sure the safety and well-being of all seniors is ensured.

Sen. L’Italien and her staff hold monthly public office hours at senior centers in each of her four communities to make sure they are easy to find for seniors who need guidance and other assistance with specific issues.  Here are a few news accounts highlighting her service to seniors in the district and statewide.time-to-shine-award-2016

Tewksbury’s State Senator L’Italien Named Home Care Alliance of Massa­chusetts’ “Legislator of the Year,”  Tewksbury Patch, June 30, 2016.

Sen. L’Italien Named Legislator Of The Year For Work On Behalf Of Seniors,  Your Tewksbury Today, June 22, 2016.
Sen. L’Italien Champions Bill to Create Affordable Housing for Seniors, People with Disabilities

Sen. L’Italien received tremendous support among colleagues and the public for her bill to establish a state loan program to make it easier for homeowners to add accessory apartments to their homes.

The legislation (S708) would help to create affordable and independent housing for people with disabilities and the elderly while at the same time addressing the growing need for more affordable housing in Massachusetts. The proposal has yet to pass, but Sen. L’Italien hopes to push this legislation through in the near future. Here’s a news story on her proposal:

 

barbara-and-senior-pic-1Could ‘accessory’ apartment bill help people care for family members in need? Boston.com story, August 6, 2015.

 

State loans sought by parents of disabled for accessory apartments. Telegram.com story, July 29, 2015.

 

And here she is addressing her Senate colleagues on her bill.

 

Sen. L’Italien Address Senior Care Advocates At Elder Leap Day
Sen. L’Italien addressed the Home Health Care community at Elder Leap Day at the State House earlier this year. An estimated 300 folks gathered at the Grand Staircase to hear from senior care advocates and then visited their local state representatives and senators to talk about their wants and needs in the 2017 state budget.img_3063
Speaking to the large gathering, Sen. L’Italien explained her senior care priorities for the new state budget:

1) Pushing for pay raises for home health care aides;
2) Increasing the funding formula for local Councils On Aging and senior centers from $8 to $9 per senior in each community;
3) Expanding eligibility to help more seniors qualify for services and programs that allow them to stay in their homes and maintain their dignity rather than having to move to expensive nursing homes.

The theme of Elder Leap Day 2015 was “Wake up & smell the demographics” because the older population in Massachusetts is booming. An estimated 360,000 elders will be added to the population by 2030 and the first of the baby boomers are turning 70 this year, according to Al Norman, head of Mass Home Care.