CHARLESTON, W.Va. – AARP West Virginia is focusing on four key issues during this current Legislative session. Lobbyist have been at the state capitol every day working with lawmakers. Angela Vance Deputy Director of AARP said they’ve got to get senators and delegates on board with the agenda.
On top of the list is creating a program to make sure all West Virginians have access to workplace retirement savings. Currently 45 percent of working West Virginians don’t have access to workplace deductions.
“We’re working to help those individuals in need now and we’re working to ensure West Virginians are able to save for the future,” according to Vance.
She said other states have programs in place to ensure workers have the ability to save and West Virginia needs a similar program.
“If we are relying on social security alone as our retirement savings, we’re in real trouble. Everyone needs access to workplace retirement savings and they need to start saving for their futures,” explained Vance.
Another issue they’re tackling is supporting caregivers. Currently one in six West Virginians provide care to an elderly family member. Vance said the answer isn’t to place elderly in nursing homes but rather keep them at home as long as possible.
“We’re working on lawmakers to provide, in this tight budget year, funding for home and community-based services. We think this is a key issue,” according to Vance.
Ninety percent of West Virginians polled said they want to remain in their own home during their senior years. Vance stressed studies have shown that family members helping to provide care is much cheaper then placing an elderly family member in a group care home.
“We need to not look at it just as a budget perspective but from a holistic perspective. We know West Virginia seniors need and want these services,” said Vance.
Two other issues they’re pushing at the agenda are strengthening laws to protect seniors from financial exploitation and home energy affordability.