A legislative Column by Assemblyman Will Barclay
In New York State, approximately 3 million caregivers provide more than 2.6 billion hours of care to loved ones each year. According to the New York State Office of the Aging, the economic value of this care is $32 billion. A family caregiver’s commitment often allows loved ones to stay out of nursing homes or assisted living, and in familiar surroundings close to family and loved ones.
Locally, the Offices of the Aging can assist and provide recommendations for a variety of programs related to health care, nutrition, and counseling to assist caregivers.
These offices also can assist caregivers with NY Connects, a service to potential consumers of long-term care and their caregivers.
Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly Program (EISEP) is one such program that is administered at the local level and funded by New York State.
EISEP provides non-medical support services for older adults who are not eligible for services through Medicaid. The program assists with things like dressing, bathing, personal care, shopping and cooking, and can temporarily relieve the primary caregiver.
EISEP enables those 60 and older to stretch their private resources and to delay nursing-home level care.
This year the program received $50 million in state funding.
I was pleased to support this in the budget.
It is an income-based program, which means that clients provide income information and a percentage is paid through the program for the client based on their income level.
Being a family caregiver comes with some rights and authority, particularly when dealing with doctors, and social service agencies.
Knowing your rights as a caregiver can alleviate stress.
Through use of a health care proxy and/or power of attorney, family caregivers have the right to get information about a family member’s condition from healthcare providers if permitted by the loved one.
Family caregivers also have a right to be involved in decision making about a family member’s care, again, as long as they are permitted.
If a loved one has been in the hospital, treatments may continue at home and it’s important that the family caregiver understands things like administering medicine, providing oxygen treatments, or helping their loved one to follow a specific diet.
To learn more, visit the U.S. Health and Human Services guide on health information privacy at http://1.usa.gov/1Fj9gYa
The need for a family caregiver(s) can be triggered by an emergency event or a steady decline of a loved one’s health or mind.
If the Office of the Aging is notified before a loved one is discharged from the hospital, for example, they can help ensure that caregivers have access to things like a wheelchair or any other medical equipment.
There are also a number of support groups available such as Alzeihmer’s Support groups and those who are caring for those with cancer.
The Offices of the Aging is also the best place to find more information on EISEP and many other programs such as Senior Nutrition Program, transportation, legal referrals, health insurance information counseling and other outreach program.
Oswego County residents may call (315) 349-3484. Jefferson County residents may call (315) 785-3191 and Onondaga County residents may call (315) 435-2362 for information.
There are also several programs under NY Connects, a searchable database, that can be accessed at https://211cny.com
Caregivers of all kinds can find information specific to a situation.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.
My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.
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