New York Failing its Seniors

nursing home grades

Families for Better Care, a Florida based nursing home resident advocacy group, has ranked New York State 45th in nursing home care, giving it an F, the only state on the east coast to receive a failing grade.

The state failed half of the measures and received only one above average grade. The lowest scores were in the areas related to direct care staff hours, professional nurse services and ombudsman complaints. Brian Lee, the Executive Director of families for Better Care says that our state “represents what is terribly wrong with nursing home care and oversight in America.” Lee also cites inadequate staffing as a major contributing factor of nursing home neglect.

The report also detailed a case in Oklahoma, another state that got an F, of an incident where a 96 year old nursing home resident was shown on hidden video to be physically and verbally abused. You can watch the horrifying video here http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50152697n

My friends, I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am that we are doing such a disservice to our seniors in New York State. This is why I fight so hard to advocate for our seniors and to make sure they receive the best care we can provide for them. It’s also why I continue to support our Albany County Nursing Home, its residents and employees.

But I sense there is a larger issue at play here. I sense that perhaps we as a society do not place our seniors in the regard that we should. Years ago, when our parents and grandparents got older, they would move in with their children. Obviously, many of our seniors need round the clock care that can only be provided by professionals and in the age of two income households, moving in with your children would not work.

It would be almost impossible for a modern family to care for a loved one who needed round the clock care. This ties into the fact that while we are indeed living longer, we are not necessarily living healthier. Diseases such as Alzheimers were certainly not as common 60 years ago, when it was common practice for senior parents to move in with their children. That being said, it should still be our goal as a society to keep our seniors at home and with their families for as long as humanly possible. The decision to put our loved ones in a facility can be extremely difficult and very emotional because we love our families and want to keep them close.

So in light of these horrible findings, I will work even harder to advocate for our most vulnerable population. I will continue to do the best thing for them, not what is best for me politically or what is popular at the State Capitol.

And I hope that my friends in state government take a hard look at these findings and look at how our system in New York can be improved upon. We owe our seniors, we owe the greatest generation that much.

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