Poll: More, More, More, NY’s Top Voting Bloc Wants More Home Care Services & Nursing Home Oversight, Caregiver Tax Credit

February 1, 2022

New York State’s most powerful voting bloc wants better wages for home care workers, more access to services that help older adults age in their own homes.

Including more inspections of nursing homes and a tax credit for financially strapped unpaid family caregivers.

Those are the chief findings of an AARP statewide survey of 1,200 voters 50 and older, the largest voting bloc in New York.

According to the survey:

  • 85% support increasing government funding to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to improve pay and benefits to help attract and maintain staff;
  • 94% support increasing community and state services to help seniors live independently at home longer as they age;
  • 93% support increasing funding so more seniors can receive long-term care at home, instead of a nursing home;
  • 96% say it’s important (extremely, very or somewhat) to remain at home as long as possible if long-term care is needed, and over 80% said they’d prefer to receive long-term care at home with caregiver assistance;
  • 85% support a state tax credit for family caregivers to help offset some of their out-of-pocket caregiving expenses – which exceed $8,200 per year on average in New York and account for a higher percentage of income for African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos; 37% of current and former family caregivers feel or felt financially stressed because of their caregiving responsibilities;
  • 52% said the State does not offer enough support for unpaid family caregivers.

Backing for all of those issues was strong among Republicans, independent voters and Democrats alike, and in most instances was particularly strong among African American and Hispanic/Latino voters.

Meantime, voters 50+ are deeply worried about conditions inside nursing homes and favor more oversight. If a nursing home is needed, overwhelming majorities of survey respondents expressed concern (extremely, very or somewhat) about:

  • Lack of sufficient staff to provide care (94%);
  • Quality of care (98%).
  • Exposure to COVID or other infections (90%)
  • Being isolated and alone (94%);
  • Not being able to have visitors (95%), and;
  • Cost (96%)

And 94% support at least one inspection of every nursing home each year.

“As New York’s population ages, it’s clear that voters 50-plus want better care at home and a closer eye on nursing homes,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel, who is scheduled to testify before state lawmakers tomorrow on Governor Kathy Hochul’s executive budget proposal.

“Family caregivers provide $31 billion worth of unpaid care every year in New York, and it would be pound-foolish not to better support them as the majority of those they care for – the huge Baby Boomer generation – approaches its 70s and 80s. And with COVID already having taken more than 15,000 nursing home residents since the pandemic began, we simply cannot allow substandard care.”

Finkel plans to urge state lawmakers to include in the 2022-23 state budget due April 1:

  • Better identification of unmet need for in-home services and increased funding coupled with home care wage increases to ensure service for more qualifying seniors;
  • Better pay and benefits for home care workers – with New York facing the worst home care shortage in the nation – as outlined in S5374A (May)/A6329A (Gottfried);
  • A tax credit for unpaid family caregivers as outlined in S620 (May)/A6932 (Kim);
  • A $20 million increase in the woefully underfunded Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, the State’s independent nursing home watchdog that now ranks 39th in the nation in spending per nursing home resident.

The telephone survey of 1,201 registered voters 50 and over was conducted in November and December 2021 and has a margin of sampling error of +/- 2.83%.

The survey included an oversample of 200 registered voters identifying as African American or Black, 200 identifying as Hispanic or Latino, and 202 age 40 and over-identifying as Asian American or Pacific Islander.

Follow AARP New York on Twitter:  @AARPNY and Facebook: AARP New York

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age.

With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment.

AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name.

As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin.

To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

Photo credit: Nurses Union.

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