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AARP: Governor, Lawmakers Ignore Critical Middle Class Issue in Aid to Localities Budget

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- istockphoto.com/Getty Images-Cathy Yeulet
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Woefully Underfund Services to Help Older NYers Age in Own Homes, Support Family Caregivers

ALBANY, N.Y. – Although the developing state budget is being touted as a boon to New York’s middle class, AARP says a key component of the 2017-18 spending plan fails to address a critical middle class issue: older New Yorkers’ ability to age in their own homes.

Even though the Senate’s one-house budget proposal included an additional $5 million for services that support middle class family caregivers in helping older New Yorkers age at home and the Assembly’s one-house budget plan included an extra $2 million, the final budget will add just $875,000 - far short of the $25 million it would take to make serious inroads in reducing waiting lists for these services around the state.

AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel issued the following statement:

“Our population is aging, and nearly nine out of 10 New Yorkers want to age at home. It is inexplicable that the final budget includes just $875,000 for cost-effective services that help middle-class New Yorkers remain in their homes as they age, such as transportation to doctor’s appointments, home-delivered meals and assistance with daily activities – especially when the Senate and Assembly themselves had proposed adding $5 million and $2 million respectively.

“At least 17,000 New Yorkers are stuck on waiting lists for these services; $875,000 hardly makes a dent. This legitimate demand will continue growing, and these services represent the most compassionate and cost-effective way to care for our seniors. The alternative is much costlier, taxpayer-financed nursing homes.”

Background:

The $875,000 increase in Non-Medicaid in-home services for the elderly is included in the “Aid to Localities” portion of the 2017-18 state budget, which the Senate has passed and which the Assembly is expected to pass based on an agreement between the Legislature and Governor. These services help middle class family caregivers avoid burnout and personal financial strain – which often lead to unwanted placements in much higher-priced institutional care settings at taxpayer expense.

Nearly 2.6 million family caregivers provide unpaid care worth $31.3 billion annually in New York and should be supported in their efforts. And as the number of potential 45- to 64-years-old caregivers for every New Yorker 80 or older dwindle s, from 6.6 in 2010 to 3.5 in 2050, the need for in-home services will continue increasing.

Strong majorities of New York’s Generation Xers and Baby Boomers say those services would help them care for loved ones at home, according to an AARPNY/Siena College survey – which also showed 87% want themselves and their loved ones to receive care at home and just 2% would opt for a nursing home.

Contact: Erik Kriss, ekriss@aarp.org

Follow us on Twitter:   @AARPNY and Facebook: AARP New York

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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