shadows of two older people walking Supporters of the Washington program say it just needed fine-tuning and note that social programs like Medicare and the Affordable Care Act also underwent tweaking. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Patricia Keys, 71 and a stroke survivor, needs help with many everyday activities, such as dressing and bathing. Her daughter Christina, who lives near her mom in Vancouver, Washington, cares for her in the evenings and pays about $3,000 a month for help from other caregivers. Christina Keys, 53, was thrilled three years ago when Washington state passed a first-in-the-nation law that created a long-term care benefit for residents who paid into a state fund. She hoped it would be a resource for others facing similar challenges.

The benefit, which has a lifetime limit of $36,500, would have made a big difference during the first year after her mom’s stroke, Keys said. Her mom needed a ramp built and other modifications made to her house, as well as a wheelchair and hospital bed. The extra money might also have made it easier for Keys to hire caregivers. Instead, she gave up her technology sales job to look after her mom.

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