Town hall spotlights elder abuse, family caregiving, housing and telehealth issues
ROCHESTER, N.Y.—On February 8, more than 250 attendees met with state and local elected officials at the Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly’s (G.R.A.P.E.) annual legislative town hall meeting. G.R.A.P.E. members and advocates brought to the attention of legislators key issues facing the area’s elder population and their caregivers.
N.Y. Assemblymember Harry Bronson (D-138) presented key priorities he plans to focus on as a chair of the Standing Committee on Aging. “My mother was able to age at home until the end of her life because my 11 siblings and I could provide around-the-clock care of her. Most families are not as fortunate. I will work to implement policies allowing our older New Yorkers to age at home,” Bronson said. “I will make sure that our homecare workforce is well paid and that we support family members and friends who care for their loved ones. We also need to have policies in place so that those aging New Yorkers who are still working for financial reasons could balance that need to work with quality of life. Lastly, I will ensure that aging members of LGBTQ community have access to assisted living and other services without discrimination.”
G.R.A.P.E. members asked the state and local officials in attendance to address the following needs of the area’s elder population and their caregivers: housing options for all levels of income; protections from financial, physical and emotional abuse of the elderly; legal, financial and emotional support for family caregivers; and adequate access to telemedicine for the elderly. Specific public policy asks on behalf of G.R.A.P.E. were presented by Loren Ranaletta of Episcopal SeniorLife Communities (housing), Paul Caccamise of Lifespan (elder abuse), Jane Stets of Crossroads Elder Services (caregiver support), and Dallas Nelson, MD, of URMGG (telehealth).
“In its 17th edition, this year’s legislative town hall brought together a strong group of advocates and representatives of public and private agencies from Rochester and Monroe County. G.R.A.P.E. members urged our elected officials to implement public policies that prioritize the needs of the aging in our communities. Special thanks to members of our advocacy committee and its chair Richard Marchese who helped organize this event,” Kim Kenna, executive director of G.R.A.P.E. said.
At the event, state legislators in attendance had the opportunity to interact with constituents. A group of Alzheimer’s Association advocates including Jane Adams of Irondequoit, Bruce Holroyd of Rochester, and Candace and Bill Ryan of Canandaigua asked Senator Rich Funke (R-C-IP, 55) and Assemblymembers Marjorie Byrnes (R-133) and Mark Johns (R-135) for continued support to family caregivers who provide unpaid care to their loved ones living with dementia.
The town-hall style breakfast also included remarks from Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and Assistant Director of Monroe County Office for the Aging John Cochran. Ann Marie Cook, CEO of Lifespan reviewed the New York State budget as it affects the elderly and family caregivers. Other officials whoattended the town hallincluded: assemblymembers Peter Lawrence (R-134) and Brian Manktelow (R-C-IP-130); Senator Joe Robach (R, C, IP-56); Monroe County legislators Frank Allkofer (R-4) and John Howland (R-13); Town of Gates Supervisor Cosmo Giunta; and Mayor of East Rochester Fred Ricci.
Approximately 122,627 persons aged 65 and older live in Monroe County.
This year’s legislative town hall was sponsored by Companion Care of Rochester, ElderOne, Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, EZaccessMD, MVP Health Care, Rochester RHIO and Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP.
About G.R.A.P.E.: The Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly (G.R.A.P.E.) is a membership organization of 300+ professionals representing 200 businesses, agencies, and organizations providing services and products to the elderly. G.R.A.P.E. members pride themselves on staying current with new services, legislation, and products that impact the quality of life of our elders. Through monthly educational programs, networking and advocacy, G.R.A.P.E. connects and enriches senior resources in the Greater Rochester community.