Raia Pushes For Respite Care Program For Seniors

Assembly member forces vote on vital legislation
April 17, 2007

Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,C,I,WF-East Northport) today built upon his strong history of advocacy on behalf of seniors and their families by submitting a motion to discharge legislation from committee that would create a community-based New York State Lifespan Respite Program.

“I am committed to doing whatever it takes to increase awareness, availability and access to respite care programs in New York,” said Raia. “There are approximately 1.7 million caregivers who spend countless hours and resources caring for their elderly relatives. They should have access to affordable, high quality, respite care programs that provide temporary relief from their round-the-clock duties.”

Raia noted that this legislation creates a statewide centralized program (under the auspices of the Office for the Aging) to provide direction, resources, and support for the establishment of a community-based NYS Lifespan Respite Program. Coordinated, non-categorical respite care services must be available locally to provide reliable and professional short-term relief when needed by families and caregivers, regardless of where they live in state.

“As the baby boomer generation ages, we must think about the likely problems that a drastic increase in those age 65 and older would cause and what programs we can develop to offer support and relief,” said Raia. “Families who can receive occasional respite care services are less likely to request admission to a nursing home or other out-of-home care at the public’s expense.”

The 2000 census shows 2,370,873 New Yorkers are 65 and older of which 920,687 are suffering from a disability. Raia added that this population is expected to double as the baby-boomer generation ages.

“To not allow this legislation to the floor for a vote is simply unacceptable. Today, I did what was necessary to bring proper attention to an issue that affects millions of New Yorkers,” concluded Raia.