Western New Yorkers Caring for Aging Loved Ones Feel Stressed, Short-Changed by State: AARP New York Survey

Posted on 02/22/24

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Adults in Five-County Region Report Mounting Responsibilities, Stress from Helping with Caregiving While Juggling Work and Family

EN ESPAÑOL | BUFFALO, N.Y. - Nearly half of Western New York voters age 40 and older are caring for an aging family member or have already done so, and the vast majority (74%) say the responsibility is causing emotional stress, according to an AARP New York survey released today. In addition, very few of these family caregivers (19%) believe New York State government offers the financial support or respite services they need to balance caregiving with their other responsibilities, a reality reflected statewide in other recent AARP surveys on family caregiving.

 “At a time when our population of older adults is rapidly growing, their family caregivers in Western New York, like those across the state, are making it clear: They need help,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “We are asking Governor Hochul and State Legislature to hear their voices by allocating the necessary funding to support the services their loved ones require, instead of cutting them as the Governor has proposed in her 2024-25 Executive Budget.

 “We also know that when we don’t give unpaid family caregivers help with transportation, home-delivered meals and home care, they are often tasked with providing those necessities on their own. They and their aging loved ones suffer as a result and ultimately taxpayers bear more of the burden when the older person must enter an adult care facility.”

The responses in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties were gleaned from a telephone survey of 1,345 registered voters age 40-plus that AARP New York conducted last fall. Most respondents in this report – “Western New York Voters Ages 40 and Older: Their Thoughts and Opinions about Caregiving and Caregiver Supports” – are responsible for a parent (64%) and the majority (56%) also work. In addition, four in ten caregivers say their loved one suffers from a cognitive decline.

A majority (81%) believe the state doesn’t do enough, or they aren’t sure if the state does enough, to help them. Three-fourths said they want more access to the health care supports New York State does offer.

Among the Western New York caregiving report’s other key findings:

  • 86% would prefer to receive supported long-term care at home
  • 94% offer social activities and companionship, topping the list of tasks
  • 80% support increasing funding for respite care
  • 83% believe home- and community-based services are important
  • 95% have incurred personal expenses while caregiving, including transportation, home modification and medical equipment

Among the recommendations AARP New York is advocating in the final 2024-25 state budget:

Eliminate Waiting Lists – Providing $51 million will eliminate the waiting lists too many older New Yorkers find themselves languishing on as they and their family caregivers await basic services such as transportation, housekeeping and personal care.

Increased Transparency – Require the State Office for the Aging to develop and post detailed reporting of where the waiting list exists by county and service requested, and provide this information to the Governor and Legislature annually as well as an accounting of the prior year’s expenditure, by county and service, on addressing the waiting list.

Fully Fund Long-Term Care Oversight – Add $15 million to the long-underfunded Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, which serves as another set of eyes and ears for residents of nursing homes and other adult care facilities as well as for their families.

To read the full report and learn more visit: www.aarp.org/NYWomenCaregivers


Connect with AARP New York on X: @AARPNY and Facebook: AARP New York
 
About AARP
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 a nationwide presence, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to the more than 100 million Americans 50-plus and their families: 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 nation's largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/about-aarp/, www.aarp.org/español or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspañol and @AARPadvocates on social media.
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