AARP, LiveOn NY: Status Quo Homecare Funding in Mayor’s Budget Not Enough
Increase Needed to Keep Pace with Aging Population, Help New Yorkers Age Safely at Home
NEW YORK, N.Y. – AARP New York and LiveOn NY today called on the city to go beyond Mayor Bill de Blasio’s preliminary budget by increasing funding for homecare services to allow growing numbers of older middle class New Yorkers to age in their own homes with dignity, rather than in institutional care settings that cost taxpayers even more.
The groups thanked the mayor for recognizing the importance of homecare by maintaining last year’s $4.3 million in the preliminary budget he released today to ensure existing recipients continue to receive their care.
But status quo funding does not meet the growing needs of an aging population.
For years these services have been underfunded, leading to waitlists that prevent some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers from receiving the care they need. Two months after the passage of last year’s final city budget the homecare waitlist increased by 15%.
“Homecare services are a win-win for all; they help New Yorkers age with dignity in their own homes - where most want to stay - while helping avoid even more expensive, taxpayer-funded institutional care settings,” said Beth Finkel, State Director of AARP NY. “AARP urges the city to increase overall homecare funding for seniors in the final budget.”
“We acknowledge that Mayor de Blasio allocated funding for City-funded home care. Yet with hours frozen and a waiting list of nearly 600 people, the amount will neither address those languishing on lists or increase hours for those in need. Further, there are over 1,800 older people waiting for case management services. With research continuing to show that isolation is a bigger determinant of morbidity than obesity – we urge the City and Mayor de Blasio to act immediately to increase funding for these life-sustaining services,” said Allison Nickerson, Executive Director LiveOn NY.
The $4.3 million the mayor is proposing should be baselined, but the program needs a more realistic investment to avoid perpetual waitlists that harm New Yorkers.
This need is only growing as New York’s population ages - the city’s 65 and over population is projected to increase 40% between 2010 and 2040. The city has a responsibility to do more to support seniors with comprehensive services.
As the budget process continues, AARP NY and Live On NY will continue working with the city’s policymakers to ensure that these essential services provided by the Department for the Aging are adequately funded and baselined to support aging in NYC.