The AARP recently reported that the unsung heroes of unpaid home-care givers are a growing minority that needs representation and support in the currently proposed city budget.
The AARP advocated for $15.7 million in additional funding to support unpaid family caregivers at a City Council hearing in March on the 2018 Department for the Aging budget, which was attended by only seven City Council members.
The vast majority of Queens voters ages 50 and older—reported the AARP—want the city to provide those key services and want to know if they will be able to age in their own homes.
“Seniors represent a whopping 18 percent of the city’s population,” said Beth Finkel, the state director of AARP New York. “Our elected representatives should start taking them seriously—and they can start doing that by showing up.”
The AARP said that only seven— Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan), Paul Vallone (D-Bayside), Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn), Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), Rosie Mendez (D-Manhattan) and Chaim Deutsch (D-Brooklyn)—of the City Council’s 51 members showed up at the hearing in March.
In an AARP citywide survey of 1,000 registered voters over age 50, the group found that there are more Queens residents providing care for an older generation than in other boroughs.
“If the mayor and the City Council truly care about our older residents, who make up a significantly growing segment of the population, they must make a serious financial commitment to meet older New Yorkers’ needs, especially of the most vulnerable,” added Finkel.
She referred to the fact that older adults comprise more than 18 percent of the city’s population.
“What this survey tells us is that older New Yorkers are not happy that the city’s funding of the Department for the Aging has remained flat for several years and feel much more should be done to meet the essential needs of this significant sector of our city’s residents, especially family caregivers,” Finkel said.
Specifically, AARP is urging:
· $4.3 million for homecare for older middle-class adults ineligible for Medicaid;
· $3.85 million for onsite support services for communities with large elderly populations;
· Nearly $3.6 million for senior centers and programs;
· $1.2 million for extra weekend meals for older adults;
· Restoration of $1.2 million to reduce waitlists for case management;
· $950,000 for adult daycare and;
· $660,000 to support core services.