(readMedia) Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proclaimed September "Assisted Living Month" in recognition of the more than two million New Yorkers who will need some form of long-term care by 2015.
The National Census Bureau estimates by 2050 the number of Americans aged 65 and older will be 88.5 million - more than double the current population. In New York, the most rapid population growth in the last decade has occurred among the oldest and frailest population groups.
"Assisted Living Month presents a unique opportunity for all aging New Yorkers and their families to discuss their future long-term care needs and consider assisted living as a desirable option," said Lisa Newcomb, Empire State Association of Assisted Living executive director. "For those no longer able to live alone, licensed assisted living is a viable alternative, offering them not only assistance with daily living, but many occasions for socialization and activity. Furthermore, at less than one-half of the cost of a nursing home, assisted living is a safe, cost-effective community-based option."
New York has three types of licensed residences: adult homes, enriched housing programs and assisted living residences. While accommodations vary among residences, each offers a home-like atmosphere and is dedicated to preserving the dignity and independence of residents. Some residences are licensed to provide "age in place" programs, allowing seniors to remain in their current assisted living setting even as they begin to require more specialized care. One of these programs, the assisted living program, enables seniors to utilize Medicaid for assisted living expenses.
"Today, access to quality, affordable long-term care is a necessity," Newcomb said. "I urge seniors and their families who are unfamiliar with assisted living to contact and visit a local licensed residence during Assisted Living Month."