Maine’s legislature is deciding whether to restructure the LTC system so that more people will have access to home-based care. Currently 90 percent of the state’s LTC budget goes toward nursing and group home care. At a gathering this week, legislators heard from seniors and the disabled who would prefer to receive care at home.

One such individual, 71-year-old Glen Howard, decided to leave a nursing home after only one month. Now back home, he has regained a sense of dignity and autonomy thanks to the personal care attendants who bathe him, shop, clean and cook for him. Says Howard, “For a person who is mentally alert and not in need of constant medical attention, home-based care allows a person to pursue personal interests and to live a life that has purpose and meaning.” Howard serves as a mentor and is working on a novel.

The bill, sponsored by Representative Matt Peterson, who is himself disabled, would aim to streamline the current system, consolidating service agencies so that administrative costs could be freed up for care. The bill has received support from AARP as well as personal care attendants.