The lack of available help from senior care agencies is just one of the reasons New York state was ranked 48th in a 2011 national report by AARP’s Public Policy Institute, the Commonwealth Fund and the SCAN Foundation out of 50 states with regard to support for its family caregivers. Caregivers also face extensive waiting lists for adult day care programs and rehab facilities, a lack of support for in the work environment, limited or no access to transportation and inadequate informational resources regarding care options for their loved ones. And with the Baby Boomer generation moving into their golden years, the problem is only going to get worse.
That’s why the AARP of New York is asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature to prioritize funding for the New York State Office for the Aging. They’ve also released a report, “Caregivers in Crisis: Why New York Must Act,” outlining the steps the state must take in order to rectify the problem before it spirals further out of control (see breakout).
“What we think we need is a down payment to help New York state caregivers,” said Bill Ferris, AARP New York state legislative representative. “We want [Gov. Cuomo] to put in his executive budget, which he will put out the third week of January, $26 million to help eliminate the waiting list of 7,000 people waiting to access four programs that assist the elderly and caregivers for the elderly.”
Ferris said the New York State Office for the Aging administers several programs — namely social adult day care, Meals on Wheels programs, transitional services and EISEP, which include non-medical in-home services such as housekeeping, personal care, respite, case management, and related services (such as emergency response systems) — which are not paid for by Medicaid. Due to budget cuts, these programs are suffering, according to AARP constituents statewide.