Speaker Mark Eves brought his KeepME Home proposals to Waterville, ME.
By Ramona du Houx
A statewide plan to help older adults age in their homes and communities got strong backing Tuesday from local area seniors and community leaders during a forum in Waterville.
Nearly 50 area seniors, community leaders, and aging experts attended the forum with Maine House Speaker Mark Eves, who sought input on his package of bills to redirect state resources to help seniors live independently longer.
“It was great to hear from seniors in Waterville,” said Eves, who has held numerous forums with seniors across the state as part of an effort to promote the plan. “The message we heard was similar to what we've heard across the state: Maine seniors are fiercely independent and they are scared to death of being pushed out of their homes and communities by rising property taxes, increasing heating costs, and access to care.”
Eves is proposing a package of measures, called the Keep ME Home plan, to create affordable and efficient housing for seniors in each of Maine’s 16 counties through a $65 million housing bond; boost pay for in-home care workers who have not had a raise in nearly a decade; and expand property tax credits for seniors.
Rep. Thomas Longstaff of Waterville, who helped organize the event said the plan would help seniors have a more secure retirement and remain independent.
“By lowering property taxes, investing in community-based affordable housing, and improving the direct care workforce we can really help our seniors live independently longer,” said Rep. Longstaff.
Maine is the oldest state in the nation. One in four Mainers will be over the age of 65 by 2030, according to U.S. census projections.
“The Keep ME Home plan would make a big difference for seniors in our areas,” said Rep. Catherine Nadeau of Winslow. “We look forward to working with our Republican colleagues and the Governor to help seniors.”
The KeepME Home plan is the culmination of nearly a year of collaborating with aging experts, caregivers, municipal, and business leaders. Eves has made spotlighting the aging challenges facing the state a top priority during his tenure as Speaker and has formed a bipartisan aging caucus to focus on these issue for the next two years.