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Advocates Pushing State Aid For Family Caregivers

The care of older Americans increasingly falls to their family and friends, and there is little financial support for them.
The care of older Americans increasingly falls to their family and friends, and there is little financial support for them. 

Doris Green admits watching her mom Joany get older has been difficult. 

"The worry is the worst. And watching to see her decline is hard because that could be my future, too," she said.

Joany is 82 and lives with her daughter. In addition to her own full-time job, at one time Green had become her mom's full-time caregiver. 

"All of the sudden when someone is unable to do those things for themselves, you're doing it for them and yourself and it's hard. It's hard work," Doris said.

Green's story is just one of thousands in Monroe County where relatives are quickly becoming caregivers at their own expense. Advocates for the aging say they have a plan, and it stems from recommendations from caregivers themselves. AARP held a series of listening sessions across the state where caregivers were able to express their biggest concerns. The plan includes establishing a community care navigator. That navigator would direct caregivers to available help, support and services for their ailing loved ones. Advocates are also pushing for $26 million in state funding to move an estimate 7,000 New Yorkers off various waiting lists and into programs.

"It allows for less stress for the caregiver. It allows for help for people who need care," AARP Associate Director Bill Armbruster said.

As for Green, she works in the aging field. So she knows the impacts these changes could have both personally and professionally. 

"People need hand-holding to navigate through the system. It would've helped me and it will help millions of others if it comes to fruition," she said.

Coming up with a plan is half the battle. Now these advocates are tasked with making it a reality. For more information, click here.
 
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