Highlights President Biden’s $400 Billion Investment in Home and Community-Based Services in the American Jobs Plan
Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, held a hearing entitled, “Taking Aim at Alzheimer’s: Frontline Perspectives and Caregiver Challenges”. The hearing examined the need for long-term services to support individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease, and highlighted the need for a bold investment in home and community-based services, both to expand services and lift up this vital workforce.
“More than 800,000 Americans, including adults with dementia, languish on wait lists for services like help with grocery shopping, bathing or housework, sometimes waiting for years on end,” said Chairman Casey. “An investment in home and community-based services is long overdue to help families who struggle day in and day out to care for their family members, friends and neighbors. I have heard from Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth, including dementia caregivers, about how important these services are to them. The time is ripe for America to live up to its values and for Congress to act.”
More than 6 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, including 280,000 Pennsylvanians. In 2020, roughly 11 million individuals provided some form of unpaid care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, including 500,000 caregivers in Pennsylvania.
Chairman Casey invited Katelyn Montanez, a social worker and family caregiver from Ephrata, Pennsylvania, to testify at the hearing. Mrs. Montanez is a caregiver for her father with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease and is the Advocacy Chair for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Lancaster. “With someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, consistency of care, including who is providing the care, is essential. Unfortunately, burnout and turnover are very common with home health aides. Being an aide is hard work with little pay. Aides should be paid more for the work they do and have better access to dementia education and training for their workers. If aides received proper training to work with individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, they would have the tools they need to help redirect, would understand common behavioral issues, and it could lead to more successful interactions,” said Mrs. Montanez.