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House Bill 210 Helps Senior Citizens Remain At Home

Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania House and Senate passed House Bill 210, making changes to the state’s Family Caregiver Support Program which helps families care for loved ones at home.
The bill which Gov. Corbett signed Dec. 22, is funded exclusively with state lottery dollars and federal monies and increases stipends from $200 to $500 for the Family Caregiver Support Program, which reimburses eligible families for out-of-pocket expenses relating to caring for an older adult at home.
“Making updates to this legislation so that more individuals can get the care they need while remaining in their homes has been a mission of mine for the past decade,” said state Rep. Matt Baker, R-Bradford/Tioga. “This program provides financial support, counseling services and training programs for those who are giving care to another individual. As someone who served as a caregiver for a family member, I understand the many challenges caregivers face, which is why the services provided through this program are so important.
Baker said nursing and personal care homes are essential to many senior citizens but they are expensive and most seniors would rather be cared for at home.
The Family Caregiver Program allows families to stay together and care for their loved ones according to state Sen. Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland who sponsored a companion bill, S.B. 638.
There are more than 1.3 million Pennsylvanians caring for elderly parents or other family members at home according to Vicki Hoak, executive director of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association.
According to pahomecare.org, the program, administered by local Area Agencies on Aging, has not been updated since its creation in 1990 and eligibility requirements were so restrictive they led to more than $1 million in state lottery funding going unspent in 2009-2010
Hoak said in a news release passage of this legislation does not require additional state spending, but instead provides local Area Agencies on Aging the flexibility needed to serve more seniors and their families so they can remain in their homes.