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Older Mainers share concerns ahead of midterm elections

Older Mainers say they are focused on the economy and health care this election season.

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — Jessica Simpson is 71 and worked for the Social Security Administration for more than three decades before retiring to Maine.

"I do consider myself one of the fortunate people," Simpson said.

She added that's because she has a federal pension. Now she spends her time advocating for other older people with AARP.

Simpson said the issues she and her friends are looking at this midterm election are the economy and healthcare, especially aging in place.

"My friend that I just went to go visit, she's gonna go live with her daughter in California, her only child," she said.

Only 28 percent of Medicaid can be used for people to stay in their homes and get the care they need, and Simpson said that's something that concerns her.

"Getting older myself, I do care about long-term care," she said.

Simpson is in the majority. The average age of Mainers is 45 years old, the oldest in the nation. And 3 in 5 people in the state are retired, many of them on fixed incomes.

"More than ever, we're seeing a lot of older adults saying, 'Enough is enough,'" Noel Bonman, executive director of AARP Maine, said.

He added that he expects older Mainers are going to come out in droves this election and support candidates who they believe will do their best to combat inflation and provide more resources for aging people.

"This is really on their mind, just economics right being able to make sure they have enough money for their basic needs," Jess Maurer from Maine Council on Aging agreed.

The deadline has passed to request an absentee ballot here in Maine, but voters can still do it the old-fashioned way and head to the polls on Tuesday.

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