Opinion

Yes on Question 1 will help overstretched families in Maine

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To the Editor;
Despite working 12-hour shifts at the paper mill six days a week, for four years I would regularly drive the 45 miles to my elderly mother’s house to prepare her meals, serving some fresh and freezing the rest. I don’t regret a mile or minute of it, but there’s no doubt her having outside help would have made life easier.

Question 1, the Universal Home Care initiative, would provide that kind of help to overstretched families in Maine. It would ensure home care for elderly and disabled relatives, no matter the family’s income. The cost of the service would be covered through a small tax on higher-income Mainers, specifically on individual income exceeding $128,400 (though that figure would rise with inflation).

The services now available are scattered and insufficient. My mother, for instance, qualified for someone to come in and do laundry and housework about two hours a week. That wasn’t enough.

Question 1 would not only increase the quantity of home care, but the quality as well. It would mandate higher pay, as well as better benefits and training, for home care workers.

Maine is a state of older people and long distances. That’s a recipe for loneliness and isolation, as well as heavy pressure on adult children trying to care for frail parents. Because the Universal Home Care initiative would ease some of that pressure, I urge everyone to vote yes on Question 1.

James Burgess
Millinocket

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