Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
News : Recent Press Releases     Op-Ed     Publications     About the Legislative Press Bureau Printer Friendly View
9/8/2023 Media Advisory: New commission studying services for older Rhode Islanders to hold first meeting next week
STATE HOUSE – A House commission will meet for the first time on Tuesday to begin its work studying the services and programs for older adults in Rhode Island and making recommendations for ways to improve and coordinate them.

The Special Legislative Commission to Study and Provide Recommendations Pertaining to Services and Coordination of State Programs Relating to Older Adult Rhode Islanders is scheduled to meet Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 3 p.m. in the House Lounge on the second floor of the State House.

Besides the election of leaders, introduction of members and a review of the legislation calling for the commission, the meeting will feature a presentation on census data on aging Rhode Islanders by Meredith Brady of the Division of Statewide Planning.  

The commission was created by legislation (2023-H 5224A) sponsored by Rep. Lauren H. Carson and approved by the House of Representatives in May.

“Rhode Island should invest much more than we do in services that enable people to age in place and safely remain in their communities. Those services are far more cost-efficient overall, and encourage an active, more fulfilling lifestyle for people as they age. Considering that nearly a quarter of our population is over 60, and Baby Boomers will continue to swell those ranks, now is the time,” said Representative Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport). “This commission will take a look at the services we have, how we could improve and better coordinate them and offer them to more individuals, where the gaps and needs are, and what we need to do to better enable our population, as we grow older, to safely remain in the community and lead full lives.”

The legislation calls for “a collaborative study of Rhode Island’s current services, and recommendations for potential initiatives that would help residents, agencies, providers, and the government to better assist the growing population of older adults in our state achieve well-being and maximum independence in ways that value, empower and engage them,” adding that such an effort is essential to the state’s future resilience and prosperity.

The commission include Representative Carson, Rep. Thomas E. Noret (D-Dist. 25, Coventry, West Warwick), Rep. Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung (R-Dist. 15, Cranston), Department of Health Interim Director Utpala Bandy, Office of Healthy Aging Director Maria Cimini, Warwick Senior Services Director Meg Underwood, Carmela Geer of Edward King House in Newport, Coventry Human Services Director Robert Robillard Jr., Paul Salera of the Rhode Island RI Association of Community Action Agencies, AARP Rhode Island Director Catherine Taylor, Paula McFarland of the Rhode Island Long Term Care Coordinating Council, James Burke Connell of Age-Friendly RI, Cindy Coyne of the Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island, Robert Marshall of the Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council, former Department of Elderly Affairs Director Maureen Maigret and former AARP RI Director Kathleen Connell.

The commission is to study key statistics about services for older adults in Rhode Island, examining strengths, vulnerabilities, and demographic and financial statistics; assess the current state, federal and local services currently available, as well as any duplication of services; recommend ways to coordinate services within agencies and focus on better service delivery, including housing options and various living arrangements, health status and health care resources; provide recommendations for the creation of a portal to coordinate aging services in employment, education, independent living, accessibility and advocacy, as well as local older adult centers and services;  provide recommendations on mental health, transportation, food access, and health care; provide recommendations for the funding of services through state, federal and private grants and for more efficient distribution and use of these dollars; and explore more regionalization of services.

Currently, more than 240,000 Rhode Island residents are age 60 or older. That number is expected to increase to almost 265,000 by 2040, constituting an increase of nearly 75 percent since 2010.

For more information, contact:
Larry Berman, Communications Director for the Office of the Speaker
State House Room 322
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2466