Caregivers Seek Solutions from Candidates to Ease Burdens – May Influence How They'll Vote
NEW YORK, Aug. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Caregivers in New York City face a cascade of challenges as they care for an elderly or disabled relative or friend, according to a new AARP survey released today. The survey of New York City registered voters age 50 and over found that nearly 60 percent of unpaid, family caregivers experience financial, emotional and workplace strain. The survey also found that voters want to see support for caregivers from the NYC mayoral candidates. The survey results were presented at a Caregiving Listening Session in Manhattan, where caregivers came together with community leaders to speak out about their challenges and ask for additional resources and funding to ease their burden.
The survey results come in the wake of a report which ranked New York State 48th out of 50 states for its support of family caregivers. The State's overall ranking for its long-term care services and supports was 41st out of 50.
Key findings of the AARP survey include:
- 39% of respondents have provided care to an adult relative, friend or spouse in the last 5 years. Staten Island had the highest percentage of caregivers among respondents, at 45%, followed by Manhattan, at 41%.
- 79% of respondents indicated that strengthening laws and regulations and funding services that support caregivers should be a priority for New York City elected officials. 50% said this should be a top priority, and 29% said it should be a high priority.
- 78% of respondents indicated that they would be extremely or very likely to vote for a NYC mayoral candidate who will support New Yorkers who provide care at home for a loved one.
- 59% of respondents indicated that caregiving puts a strain on their quality of life, including financial hardship, emotional stress, and stress at work. 24% indicated overwhelming strain, and 33% indicated a good deal of strain. Staten Island caregivers indicated feeling the most strain among NYC respondents, at 70%.
- 15% of respondents have felt they were treated unfairly in their workplace or by their employer because of caregiver responsibilities. Manhattan residents indicated the highest degree of unfair treatment, at 21%, followed by the Bronx at 20% and Queens at 19%.
The report's findings echoed the discussion at the listening session, which was hosted by AARP New York, the New York State Caregiving & Respite Coalition, and the Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City, Inc.
At the session, caregivers and a panel of health and caregiving experts discussed the challenges facing family caregivers and examined state and local policy that could assist their efforts. The Manhattan event is one of nine listening sessions being held across New York State.
As New York City's population rapidly ages, support for the city's caregivers becomes increasingly important. Currently, there are 1 million people over 65 living in NYC, and by 2030 this number is expected to increase by 50% -- the most rapid increase in history.
Unpaid, informal family caregivers play a vital role in the delivery of long-term care in New York State. An estimated 4.1 million caregivers in New York provide 2.68 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $32 billion annually. The care they provide to loved ones, however, can leave the caregiver feeling isolated, burned out and even depressed. Many caregivers struggle with the stress of balancing working full-time with caring for an elderly parent and young children at the same time, and many face financial problems.
"By keeping loved ones out of costly taxpayer funded institutional settings, New York's unpaid caregivers save the state money and allow people to remain in their home as they age," said Neal Lane, AARP New York State President. "Simply put, investing in caregivers is a wise investment. Through these caregiver listening sessions we want to hear directly from caregivers to help formulate policy that will help improve their lives and sustain them in the important roles they play."
"Caregiving is one of the most important issues affecting New Yorkers today," said Igal Jellinek, Executive Director of the Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City, Inc. "We are looking forward to these listening sessions to hear from caregivers and other community members. Through their words and shared experiences, we will develop policy recommendations that will make caregiving a legislative priority in New York State."
"Caregivers are the backbone of the entire long-term care system," said Ann Marie Cook, President/CEO of Lifespan & Director of the NYS Caregiving & Respite Coalition. "As providers, we want to recognize the extraordinary work of unpaid caregivers, assist them and strengthen needed services. To do that, we need to listen. We are thrilled to join AARP in these listening sessions to learn from those who do so much day in and day out."
More information on the survey and future listening sessions around the state can be found at www.aarp.org/ny.
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 Espanol, 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.
SOURCE AARP New York