Governor Mills: Supporting Maine caregivers and their loved ones.

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 30,000 people ages 65 and up in Maine were living with Alzheimer’s in 2020. It is estimated that 35,000 Maine people aged 65 and older will be living with that disease by 2025.

Families across Maine are doing their best to care for loved ones who are living with dementia or other disability in the comfort of their own homes, but it sure isn’t easy.

This week, I announced a new initiative to give families access to important services so they can better support themselves and their loved ones.

Through my Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, approved by the Legislature, I am starting a pilot program. It’s called “Respite for ME” and it will provide grants of up to $2,000 to families who care for a loved one at home.

Through “Respite for ME”, family caregivers of people living with a disability, or Alzheimer’s Disease, or other related dementias can receive grants to help them access respite care for their loved ones. Caregivers can also access counseling and training, legal and financial guidance, and services to maintain their own health such as occupational and physical therapy.

To be eligible for these grants, in general, a caregiver must be an adult who is not otherwise receiving payment for the care provided. For more information about “Respite for ME”, contact your local Area Agency on Aging at 1-877-353-3771.

Respite for ME is just one way we are helping Maine people age comfortably in the communities they call home.

To help more Maine people become direct care providers, we also included $20 million in my Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to support health care workforce training.

This includes the Caring for ME campaign to educate and encourage residents to become direct care providers such as home health aides serving older Maine people and people with disabilities. In addition, we’re providing scholarships and student loan relief to encourage more people to become long-term support workers and other health professionals.

My Administration will continue to do all we can to support Maine caregivers and their loved ones.

This is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.