ALBANY, New York - Statement by AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel:
“AARP applauds Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and their colleagues for putting forward paid family leave plans that would provide a critical lifeline to countless family caregivers across New York. We call on the Legislature and Governor Cuomo to come to an agreement on this crucial issue as part of the new state budget.
“The typical family caregiver in New York is a 64-year-old woman caring for her mother. These selfless citizens need help if they are to continue providing a key but underappreciated economic support for our health care system.
“Helping family caregivers would help employers and taxpayers by improving workplace productivity and allowing our frail elderly to age with dignity and independence in their own homes – rather than expensive, Medicaid-funded nursing homes.
“Caregivers, many of them Baby Boomers, are stressed and strained and too often on the edge of burnout. They need a break.
“And as the population ages, there will be fewer potential caregivers to care for more frail elderly. Things will only get worse - unless caregivers get help.
“Paid family leave would let caregivers take care of our frail elderly without worrying about losing their jobs. That is huge. And it’s a real concern.
“Many family caregivers face such overwhelming demands that they leave the workplace and lose health insurance and retirement security.
“A typical female caregiver forfeits nearly $325,000 - conservatively - between lost wages from having to leave a job early or cut back on hours, lost Social Security benefits, and lost pension benefits, according to a 2010 MetLife study.
“Caregivers need help. The time to act is now – before our caregiving crisis turns into a disaster.”
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org ; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity of AARP that is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org .