My sister and I were primary caregivers for my mother for almost 20 years. She counted herself fortunate to live in her home until she was 95, then in a small apartment until she passed at almost 98. A private person, her greatest fear was that she might have to go to a nursing home and share a room with a stranger.

Juggling our mother’s needs as she grew older — appointments, meals, bills, shopping, cleaning — was not always easy. Extra help would have given us the chance to spend more quality time with our mother. In my mother’s last two years, we did have a wonderful CNA a few hours once per week for her personal care and household chores. We valued this help and, though my mother had modest means, she paid her CNA a fair wage of $17 per hour. That fair pay proved we honored the work and seemed to guarantee that the CNA would be reliable, conscientious and stay on.

So many Mainers know firsthand that the state’s health care system needs fixing; that nursing home care costs much more than home care; and that there is a shortage of caregivers. Isn’t it time to try new ways to better the lives of senior citizens and the disabled, their families and their caregivers?

In the oldest state in the U.S., with a desperate need for young, responsible and empathetic caregivers, it only makes sense to support universal home care and vote “yes” on Question 1.

Susann Pelletier, Lewiston


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