|Sheldon Silver, Speaker • Jeffrey Dinowitz, Chair • Winter 2007|
The 2008 Legislative Session is upon us and I am very excited to begin my first full year as Chairman of the Assembly Aging Committee. I have taken the last few months to meet with senior citizens and advocates to learn about the issues facing the elderly in New York State. There have been several issues of importance which have been expressed to me by many different groups including aging in place, long term care, senior nutrition, prescription drug costs, transportation, elder abuse, and many other important issues.
The Assembly, led by Speaker Sheldon Silver, has been a fierce ally for seniors for many years. We have consistently supported increased funding to provide quality services to seniors who need them. Our new task will be to prepare for the increase in the senior citizen population statewide, which by 2025 is expected to be 4.4 million people (22.2 percent of the population statewide).
I am confident that my colleagues in the Assembly Majority will rise to the challenge of aiding seniors as they grow older in 2008, while building a human services infrastructure that will support older New Yorkers for many years to come. I am looking forward to an exciting and successful 2008.
In 2004, the National Center on Caregiving estimated that New York State had over 1.9 million family caregivers, who provide over 2 billion hours of care each year, at an estimated value of over $20 billion. Family caregivers provide a valuable service that allows New Yorkers to remain in their homes and communities rather than prematurely entering an institutional setting.
Though there are many programs that provide a respite for caregivers including social and medical adult day programs and in-home skilled nursing care, 80 percent of care provided to ailing seniors is provided by their immediate family or other loved ones. To recognize the countless hours of work to their loved ones, November has been designated as caregiver month.
“Dedicating November as Caregiver Month is a small step toward recognizing the invaluable contribution made by caregivers in New York State,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz. “We must now provide additional support to caregivers through information, training, counseling, respite, and support services.”
Assemblyman Dinowitz Listens to Hudson Valley Seniors
In an effort to understand the concerns of seniors throughout New York State, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) participated in a town hall meeting sponsored by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D,C-Monticello) at the Middletown Senior Center in Middletown, New York.
Over 100 seniors from Sullivan and Orange Counties participated in the event where Assemblyman Dinowitz addressed their concerns. Many of the participants expressed concerns over transportation, the cost of health care and housing. Mr. Dinowitz said, “We must devise ways to support seniors as they age in place. I believe that most seniors would want to remain home as long as they possibly can and would delay entrance into a skilled nursing facility until absolutely necessary.”
Assemblyman Dinowitz has expressed his desire to learn about seniors in all parts of New York State. “I understand that seniors in the Hudson Valley do not face the same issues that seniors in New York City do,” commented Assemblyman Dinowitz. “That is why it is important for me to travel to different parts of the state to see with my own eyes what voids exist and how best to fill them.”
Assemblyman Dinowitz plans to arrange more town hall meetings throughout the state over the next several months. For more information, click here.
Rockland County Seniors Discuss Issues With Their Legislators
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Chairman of Assembly Aging Committee, and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) met with the Lower Hudson chapter of the New York Statewide Senior Action Council to discuss issues of interest to seniors. Dozens of seniors came out to offer their opinions on how to improve the lives of seniors throughout New York State.
“Seniors from across the Hudson Valley have asked me for help,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz. He continued to say that “our seniors must be provided with property tax relief, transportation assistance, and access to affordable health care in order for them to stay where they want to be: in their homes with their families.”
Assemblywoman Jaffee added, “The Assembly Majority, under the leadership of Speaker Silver, will fight to preserve and improve the quality of life for seniors. Seniors in the Hudson Valley face unique challenges as they age due to our climate and topography. These are factors beyond our control. But I will work with Assemblyman Dinowitz to overcome these obstacles and assist our seniors in any way that I can.”
Cooperation as a Component for Success
In an effort to foster a better working relationship between the Legislature, Executive, and Not-for-Profit communities, the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) has convened a series of roundtable discussions to develop solutions to some of the most serious issues facing New York seniors.
Topics ranging from civic engagement and senior volunteerism, caregiver support, Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC’s), and senior centers and services are currently being studied by advisory groups comprised of senior citizen advocates, legislative staff, and NYSOFA. Assemblyman Dinowitz commended the effort to foster cooperation by saying “the only way we in Albany can know what is going on is by people on the front lines telling us. I applaud Director Burgess for bringing all the right people into a room and developing solutions that will produce results.”
More information on upcoming meetings and programs by NYSOFA can be found on the Office for the Aging Web site at www.aging.state.ny.us or by calling the Senior Citizen’s Help Line at 1-800-342-9871
2008 Goals and Priorities
I am very excited to begin my first session as Assembly Aging Committee Chairman. For the past several years Assemblyman Steve Englebright had set out to accomplish big things and was very successful as Chairman. I am committed to continuing his good work and expanding upon it, and have formed an ambitious agenda for the upcoming year which will include:
|For additional information, please contact:|
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz
Chair, Committee on Aging
Albany, New York 12248
New York State Assembly
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