November 26, 2008
Family Caregivers Perform a Vital Role
The month of November was recently proclaimed by Governor David A. Paterson as “Family Caregivers Month” in New York State. In a proclamation presented to Michael J. Burgess, Director of the New York State Office for the Aging, the Governor called on New Yorkers to recognize the significant efforts that caregivers make throughout the year as they provide care and assistance to those who need help to remain in their homes and communities of choice.
“There are more than 2.2 million caregivers in New York State,” said Laurence Schmidt, administrator of the Oswego County Office for the Aging. “These caregivers provide the majority of long term care assistance given to frail, older residents and adults with disabilities. Without the care provided by unpaid caregivers, many older residents would likely be placed in institutional settings or nursing homes, sometimes miles away from their homes and family members.
The financial effect of the care provided by family caregivers is enormous. At an average cost of $9,000 per month, most individuals placed in nursing homes transfer to the government financed Medicaid program.
“Several studies have indicated that the presence of a family caregiver or other unpaid caregiver delays one's need for nursing home placement,” said Schmidt. “Caregivers dedicate an average of 20 hours per week to the provision of care and even more time when caring for someone with multiple disabilities. Almost one-third of all caregivers are balancing work and caregiving responsibilities, making their efforts even more difficult to maintain.
The Oswego County Office for the Aging offers assistance with HEAP applications, Caregiver Support Groups, Medicare questions and the Senior Home Delivered Meal Program. 349-3484 or 1-800-596-3200 ext. 3484.
The newest Caregiver Support Group meets the first Wednesday of the month at 11 a.m. at St. Bernadette's Church, 1667 State Route 49 in Constantia. For information on additional support groups, call Margaret Waters, Caregiver Coordinator at 349-8691.
“Our staff will answer your questions over the phone or you may stop in the office at the Oswego County Health Complex at 70 Bunner Street, Oswego,” said Schmidt. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information about services for the elderly, visit the agency's Web site at www.oswegocounty.com/ofa/index.html or call 349-3484 or 1-800-596-3200, ext.3484.
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