Washingtonians for a Responsible Future

Support of The Long-Term Care Trust Act

Ava Frisinger, Issaquah

My name is Ava Frisinger and I’m here in support of The Long-Term Care Trust Act. I live in 5th district in the Issaquah area where I served as the mayor for 16 years. I now serve on my local Seattle-King County ADS Advisory Council for the Area Agency on Aging and the state council on aging. My family has dealt with the issue of caregiving and I want to speak to that experience today.

Our first experience with family caregiving occurred when my mother-in-law was widowed and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My husband and his siblings all lived at a distance and were in jobs that they simply could not leave. My 23 year old daughter Diane volunteered to leave her supervisory job in Washington and move to Florida to be with her grandma during her final year of life. Being dropped into a new place and responsible for 24 supervision of her grandma was isolating and emotionally straining for Diane. She loved her Grandma but the whole situation was extremely hard for her. My family was able to afford to pay Diane’s and grandma’s living expenses and some home care to help give Diane a break, and she felt that was invaluable for her health and wellbeing. Thankfully, after a year of unpaid caregiving Diane was able to return to Washington and get her job, but that was no guarantee.

After going through this experience, my husband and I chose to purchase long-term care insurance. We have had our plan for 17 years during which the premiums have become unaffordable. This past year, the premium was set to triple, so we decided to lock ourselves into a doubled premium level of $230 per month offers us fewer benefits than our original policy and the premium will continue to rise. The policy is worth $25,000.

Our biggest concern is that even with this policy in place, our family would still need to help out, and that would be incredibly hard for our children, placing them firmly in the sandwich generation. Our kids would not be able to continue working in their current jobs if they had caregiving responsibilities in addition to raising their children. And that’s not something I want for my kids or grandkids.

House Bill 1636 offers real choices for families dealing with long-term care issues. If this program had been around while I was working, if and when my husband or I need care, my children wouldn’t have to choose between paid employment and providing quality care for their parents. My grandchildren would have parents who could devote more time to their lives, and have fewer worries about their parents’ health.

I thank the committee for hearing this bill and thank co-sponsors, Rep. Jinkins and Rep. Johnson for their hard work on this important issue. And I ask that you all support HB 1636.

-Ava Frisinger, Issaquah