Senior Services Disrupted; Volunteers Have to Revert to Phone Contact to Provide Help

Older persons are most at risk of serious illness from the coronavirus. The first death in New York State is an 82 year old woman with emphysema. Though most will not get the virus, our way of life including senior services programs are being disrupted. Congregate meal programs at local sites are closing with meals offered at home if needed. We are fortunate that so many older persons are volunteers in senior services programs but many are now calling in to say they are not going to volunteer in the short term during this crisis. Visitation at hospitals, nursing homes and other senior facilities is being sharply curtailed. So, it’s up to all of us to help older friends, neighbors and relatives through watching out for them, re-assurance phone calls, picking up medicine and groceries for them if needed and more.

Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Announces $150 Million in Grants Including $18 Million for Aging

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation which was formed from the assets of the non- profit, Catholic-related Fidelis Insurance company when it was sold and privatized has announced the first round of its health care grants totaling about $150 million funding about 500 projects statewide. $18 million was given to projects directly supporting aging projects.

Among the many interesting grants for aging services in the community are:

$340,000 to Mercy Care for the Adirondacks for its Age Friendly Communities Initiative,

$75,321 to Lifespan in Rochester for its Finger Lakes Healthcare Elder Justice Specialist Project;

$1 million to the Jewish Association of Services in New York City for its Caring Link program to help seniors with referrals and support to avoid isolation

$373,076 to Catholic Charities of the Albany Diocese for its Aging Life Care Services Project.

$1,750,000 ArchCare PACE programs

$79,623 to Interfaith Works of Central New York for its Senior Services One to One Program

$117,396 to the Medicare Rights Center for its benefits enrollment for low income persons

$175,000 to St. Peters Hospital Foundation, Albany for Improving the Pathway to Healing: Connecting Older, Vulnerable Individuals to Spiritual ResourcesLike

New York’s 65+ Population Up 26% from 2007-2017

The Center for an Urban Future joined AARP for a conference in Albany on January 21 and provided information on New York’s growing 65+ population. In the 2007-2017 ten year period, the 65+ population rose 26% by 647,045 persons while the under 65 population dropped 1% by 95,375. Seniors 65+ now were 16% of the state’s population in 2017 versus 13% ten years earlier. There were 444,005 persons 85+ in 2017 versus 353,299 in 2007.

New York’s Paid Family Leave Benefit Phase In Continues on January 1, 2020 with 10 Weeks

The New York State Paid Family Leave Law which took effect on January 1, 2018 continues its four year phase-in of full benefits. As of January 1, 2020, eligible workers in New York can take up to 10 weeks of paid leave off with a maximum weekly benefit of $840.70 which is now at 60% of the state’s average weekly wage. The phase in will be complete on January 1, 2021 when workers will be eligible for 12 weeks of paid leave at 67% of the state’s weekly wage. This year, eligible farm laborers are now eligible for the program which is paid with a small payroll tax into the state’s disability system. Paid leave is available for those caring for a newborn, caring for an ill relative or caring needs related to a military deployment.

Here is more information with a link to the New York State press release

AARP Says NY Caregivers Give $31 Billion in Unpaid Care; Wants NY State Tax Credit

AARP Urging Governor to Propose Caregiver Tax Credit

ALBANY, N.Y. –About 2.5 million family caregivers provided an estimated 2.1 billion hours of unpaid care – worth a staggering $31 billion – to their parents, spouses, partners, and friends across New York State in 2017, according to state data available in the latest report of AARP’s Valuing the Invaluable series.

The complexity of family caregiving increases as medical and nursing tasks continue to enter the home, and family demographics change amidst an aging population.

AARP is fighting to support family caregivers and the older family and friends who count on them.

AARP New York is urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to propose as part of his next state budget a state caregiver tax credit, which would help offset the nearly $7,000 family caregivers spend on average each year to care for loved ones.

“Family caregivers are the backbone of our long-term care system,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “This report shows just how critical their contributions are. We need to support them so they can continue to provide care for our loved ones.

“A modest tax credit for middle class family caregivers would save all New York taxpayers money in the long run by keeping older adults from nursing homes and other taxpayer-funded institutions,” Finkel added. “Supporting our family caregivers will become even more important as our population ages, leaving fewer caregivers to care for more frail elderly.”

Already in 2019, AARP New York helped family caregivers by successfully advocating for an historic $15 million increase in state funding for in-home services for the elderly such as home-delivered meals, transportation to medical appointments and assistance with daily activities.

In 2020, AARP will continue to fight for commonsense solutions to give family caregivers more support, help at home, training and more. Those solutions include:

· Creating a caregiver tax credit, which would provide up to 50% of eligible caregiving expenses, up to $3,500
· Working to ensure protections under the 2015 CARE Act are fully realized. The CARE Act allows hospital patients to designate a family caregiver and requires hospitals to provide those caregivers with demonstration and instruction in post-hospital care.
· Continued funding for in-home services for the elderly.

· Expanding telehealth—digital information and communication technologies, like computers and mobile devices – that help family caregivers manage their own or their loved one’s health

The full report will be available on November 14 and will include national figures, trends in family caregiving, and policy recommendations.

To review state figures and the methodology, visit:

Resources and information on family caregiving, including AARP’s Prepare to Care Guides, are available at

Twitter: @AARPNY and Facebook: AARP New York

In the 2020s, Robots and New Technology To Have Greater Impact on Aging

Technological change is accelerating in every aspect of life and health care and aging services are part of it. Last week, it was reported that UPS is planning to use drones in the near future to deliver medical supplies to some health providers. Time magazine, in its November 4th Health Innovation issue, devotes much of the magazine to these issues. In one article, The Robot Will See You Now, it reports on a demonstration of a “social robot” that interacts with older persons at Knollwood Military Retirement Community near Washington. The Robotics and Innovation Lab at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland is working with the health facility to try out robots which are used in multiple tasks. Robots help to lift patients. There are delivery robots that “zip around hospital hallways like motorized room service carts.” There are “social” robots which comfort dementia patients. The article describes “Stevie” a “socially assertive” robot who engages with residents. “He” moves autonomously and like Alexa he can respond to questions. He can tell jokes and go door to door taking meal orders with his touchscreen attachment.

In the next three years there will be a 29% increase in the demand for these social robots and a 45% increase in demand for rehab robots. As the population ages, there will be an estimated shortfall of 151,000 paid care workers in the United States by 2030 and 355,000 by 2040.

There is a debate about whether this technology should be used to replace human contact, but health care experts and aging advocates say they can be of assistance to enhance services and provide information and support rather than replace people. It is an issue though that older persons and their advocates should be discussing. Here in Albany, many of us are talking about having a committee as part of our local village movement to discuss technology’s benefits and drawbacks. Above all, we want to be educated and know and understand what new innovations can enhance the quality of life.

US Population Older and More Diverse; 65+ To Outnumber 18 and Under by 2035

(Associated Press story)

The trends described below probably will be even greater in upstate New York and rural areas with the population continuing to be older with young people moving away from those areas. – Michael Burgess

The U.S. population will grow older and more diverse over the next four decades, according to new Census Bureau projections presented last week at a meeting of demographers.

As the U.S. median age increases, there will be a smaller ratio of workers in the labor force able to pay the payroll tax that funds Social Security payments to people of retirement age. In 15 years, the number of people over age 65 will be larger than the number of children for the first time in U.S. history.

A “demographic tidal wave” is one big reason for the nation’s expected aging and the eventual drop in natural population increase from births outpacing deaths. That wave is the Baby Boomers, born between the end of World War Two and around the time of the American invasion of The Beatles.

“The youngest Baby Boomers are 55 and older now, said Allison Plyer, a demographer attending the meeting. “In 10 years, they will be 65 and older, and as those folks pass away over the decades, that’s a very larger section of our population reaching an age where they will likely experience mortality,” Plyer said.

As the U.S. grows older, it will also become more diverse, with children leading the way. By next year, no single race group alone will make up more than half of U.S. children, the projections show.

Although non-Hispanic whites currently are a majority in the U.S., their numbers will dip below 50% of the population in 40 years, declining from 199 million next year to 179 million in 2060, the projections show.

“Immigrants do continue to fill in the ranks of working-age population and workforce as the Baby Boomers age,” Plyer said. “The most likely people to replace them will be people of color, particularly Latinos who are already here and have children.”

People who identify as two or more races will be the fastest-growing group in the next 40 years, with their population expanding as births outpace deaths.

Other fast-growing groups include Asians, whose growth will be driven by migration, and Hispanics, whose growth in the U.S. will be driven by natural increases, according to the projections.

The U.S. is expected to cross the 400 million-person threshold by 2058, as it adds 79 million more people in 40 years, but annual growth will slow down. The U.S. has about 326 million people today.

Population growth, currently 2.3 million people per year, is expected to slow to 1.6 million people a year by 2060.

Growth comes from immigration and from births outpacing deaths, but that natural increase will decline as the nation ages. The nation’s median age is expected to go from 38 today to 43 by 2060.

Young adults are getting married and having children at older ages than their parents and grandparents, and they won’t be having children in the numbers to replace the Baby Boomers, said Andrew Beveridge, a demographer at the City University of New York.

As the number of people over age 65 grows, the share of working-age adults — who pay, along with their employers, for Social Security through a payroll tax — will also decline. Next year, there are expected to be 3.5 working-age adults for every person of retirement age, but that ratio declines to 2.5 by 2060, according to the projections.

That ratio will put the U.S. more in line with Europe, though it won’t be as severe as in Japan, which for years has had an aging population without the help of migration to add to the population, the demographers said.

“It’s definitely a shift, but we’re not going to be like Japan,” Beveridge said.