My family has worked for a long time caring for each other at home. My husband and our children carry a serious genetic disorder, Marfans Syndrome, which means that our lives have been filled with surgeries to help us function; pain is a daily reality. We have dealt with other disabling conditions as well.

Despite our own challenges, together, we took care of our elderly parents and our aunts at home for as long as possible. Home was where our loved ones had careful attention, surrounded by their things and our love every day. But it was exhausting and made it difficult to take adequate care of ourselves.

When my mother needed care, we moved her in with us and sold her house. We cared for my in-laws at their home until they passed. We ultimately had to move our aunts to a nursing home. The staff did their best, but it was not the same. They were short-staffed, things were overlooked and, even in good nursing homes, the environment is depressing.

It was not the same level of care. If we could have had help with their care at home, it would have been so much better.

Many families in Maine are burdened by illness and disability. People have a chance to help them and their families as well. Voters can pass the universal home care initiative this November. More home care resources are needed so folks can live a safe quality of life at home.

Jo-Ann Gregoire, Lewiston

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