We are seeing all the signs of a looming home health aide worker crisis, one that is very real and very personally impacting Cayuga County residents and their caring families. Older residents may face costlier facility-based care when they cannot obtain preferred and less expensive services at home.
Regardless of a person’s income, there simply are not adequate home health aide services available to provide care to those who currently need it. There are approved and funded hours of care – cases that have been assessed and determined to be appropriate for home health aide care or personal care aides – that are going unfilled due to lack of aides. Families and friends are burning out as informal caregivers who are trying to fill the care gaps.
Currently, home care employers are having difficulty recruiting and retaining an adequate home health aide workforce to meet client needs. Rural areas of Cayuga County are especially challenging.
We are part of a consumer and provider coalition working to raise awareness about the inadequate home health aide worker services in New York State and seeking solutions to provide accessible, affordable, and available home health care for people who need it in NYS.
We are pleased to note Governor Cuomo’s recent State of the State Message recognizes this problem and announces the “launch” of a Long Term Care Planning Council including external stakeholders to “analyze, evaluate, and identify the existing service gaps in New York’s long-term care system, determine the most cost-effective evidence based interventions, and prepare a strategic plan to meet the emerging needs of New York’s aging population over the next decade.”
We must come together to solve this problem quickly. Seniors, senior advocates, and senior services providers are ready to serve on the council and improve the situation for Cayuga County’s senior and disabled population.
Wiemann, director of the Cayuga County Office for the Aging, submitted this letter on behalf of The Human Services Coalition of Cayuga County, Elderly and Disabled Task Group and the Cayuga County Long Term Care Council.