Ben Jealous And Susie Turnbull Release Plan To Protect Maryland Seniors

Silver Spring, MD — TODAY, Tuesday, April 3 Ben Jealous, former National President & CEO of the NAACP and running mate Susie Turnbull, former Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, released Courage to Care: A Plan To Protect Our Seniors.

Turnbull’s activism after her mother’s sudden death due to a late diagnosis of breast cancer in a nursing home led her to work with then-Governor William Donald Schaefer to review senior care in nursing homes. A year after her mother’s death, on Mother’s Day, her activism culminated in Maryland requiring that all women in nursing homes be screened for breast cancer and all men for prostate cancer.

“Working families are struggling to support their aging parents and also raise their children,” said Jealous. “This is an issue of justice because seniors shouldn’t lose their homes due to unpaid water bills and parents shouldn’t have to choose between taking care of their parents’ health crises or saving for their children’s futures. We have an opportunity here in Maryland to do better, and when I’m governor, we will.

“One of my early victories as an activist was ensuring that seniors in nursing homes were screened for breast cancer and prostate cancer. I didn’t want anyone else to experience what I did after my mother lost her life due to the lack of preventive health care.” Turnbull said. “There are seniors who are choosing between their medicine and food and families who are trying to raise their children and care for an aging parent and they need help. This plan puts families first by ensuring that we care for seniors’ economic needs, social needs, and health needs”

Highlights of their plan include:

  • Ending Senior Home Losses from Water Bills and Property Taxes
    • As governor, Ben Jealous will build a coalition of support around legislation that prevents any senior from losing their home to tax sales arising from unpaid property taxes and water bills, in partnership with the legislative champions who have fought to address this issue for years. No senior should lose their access to quality housing, or the financial stability that they have worked a lifetime to build, because of the difficulties presented by living on fixed incomes.
  • Combating Elder Abuse and Expanding Adult Protective Services in Maryland
    • In FY 2015, the Adult Services division received “7,237 reports of abuse, neglect, self-neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults 18 years of age and older. As governor, Ben Jealous will provide the staffing and oversight that Maryland’s seniors deserve, by fully staffing Adult Services at the Department of Human Services, and doubling the number of staff at the office so that it can drastically expand its level of oversight.
  • Normalizing Respite Care
    • Respite Care is a service that offers family caregivers for the elderly, or children with disabilities, a respite during family crises or other events that disrupt their ability to care for their family members. As governor, Ben Jealous will fully staff Adult Services at the Department of Human Services, and double the number of staff at the office so that can drastically expand its level of oversight.
  • Creating a Database and Training Program for Best Care Practices Around the State
    • As governor, Ben Jealous will work with local organizations across Maryland to create and regularly update a Best Practices Guide. Further, he will charge DOA with funding and facilitating annual training that helps local organizations implement these best practices. By doing so, not only will more seniors benefit from the collective knowledge of Maryland caregivers, but the organizations they depend on for support will be better positioned to secure federal funding on the basis of that improved quality of care.
  • Dedicated Funding Streams for Senior Nutrition
    • As governor, Ben Jealous will provide dedicated funding for senior nutrition that expands the following programs to every area in Maryland.
      • Home Delivered Meals and Group Dining (Congregate Nutrition)
      • Nutrition Screening, Counseling, and Education
      • My Groceries To Go! (Commodity Supplemental Food Program)
      • Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
  • Expanding Maryland’s Healthcare System to Truly Cover Home Health Costs and Prescription Drugs
    • Jealous’ Medicare for All Plan includes additional coverage beyond the baseline currently provided by Medicaid and Medicare, including home health aides. It also includes a focus on ending the “donut hole” in prescription drug coverage for seniors under Medicare Part D. As governor, Ben Jealous will pioneer an approach to drug coverage that provides “generic” options for seniors at a deeply discounted rate.
  • Grants and Labor Partnerships that Allow Seniors on Fixed Incomes to Age in Place
    • As governor, Ben Jealous will partner with organized labor to utilize their apprenticeship programs in senior home maintenance, providing our next generation of tradespeople with valuable on the job experience while caring for our aging population in the process.
  • Developing Intergenerational Spaces to Combat Social Isolation and Improve Mental Health
    • As governor, Ben Jealous will embrace proven programs that bring together children and seniors. He will do so by tabbing state funding for community spaces like recreation centers to require intergenerational programming, and offering tax incentives to senior facilities that incorporate child care into their portfolio of services and programming.
  • Helping Family Caregivers Build Community and Networks of Support
    • As governor, Ben Jealous will charge Maryland’s Department of Human Services with expanding its Adult Services division to include a peer mentoring program using the Department of Veteran Affairs’ established model as a framework. The expanded staffing levels at Adult Services, outlined above, will ensure that state government has sufficient resources to properly facilitate and administer the program.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Ben Jealous on this topic contact
Paid for by Friends of Ben Jealous, Jason Small, Treasurer