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New York Celebrates September As Assisted Living Month

Originally Posted: September 02, 2011

Southampton - The Empire State Association of Assisted Living (ESAAL) membership will help kick off Assisted Living Month in New York with the release of a new video detailing the benefits of residing in a state licensed assisted living residence, adult home, enriched housing program, or assisted living program. The New York State Department of Health oversees the operation of 492 residences in state.

In observance of Assisted Living Month, ESAAL members in the community will be hosting a number of events throughout September bringing together residents, families, employees, volunteers and the surrounding community.

"Licensing is an important form of consumer protection for our seniors," said ESAAL Executive Director Lisa Newcomb. "We expect the physicians who perform surgery, the lawyers who protect our rights, and the contractors who build our homes to be properly licensed. We must require those we entrust to care for our aging loved ones when they can no longer live at home safely, to have a license as well."

In 2004, state lawmakers adopted a comprehensive reform package that required all assisted living residences, adult homes, enriched housing programs, and assisted living programs to comply with stricter regulations and frequent inspections. "Unfortunately, there are still a number of facilities providing assisted living-like services without a license, compromising the safety of their residents," said Newcomb. "Our new video is a conversation starter. We hope to educate consumers about the services and resident protections required by law and encourage them to inquire with management if the residence itself is licensed by the New York State Department of Health."

Currently, New York has three types of licensed residences: adult homes, enriched housing programs and assisted living residences. While accommodations vary among facilities, they all offer a home-like atmosphere and are dedicated to preserving the dignity and independence of residents.

Some residences in New York State are licensed to provide "aging in place" programs which allow seniors to remain in their current assisted living setting even as they begin to require more specialized care. One of these programs, known as the Assisted Living Program (ALP), enables seniors to utilize Medicaid for assisted living expenses. Other residences such as Enhanced Assisted Living Residences and Special Needs Assisted Living Residences accommodate seniors that have higher needs due to either dementia or physical limitations.

"I urge seniors and their families who are unfamiliar with assisted living to contact and visit a local licensed residence during Assisted Living Month," said Newcomb. "At less than one-half of the cost of a nursing home, assisted living is a safe, cost-effective community-based option for New York's seniors."

Assisted Living Month will carry a theme, "Forever Proud," which was chosen by the National Center for Assisted Living because the first day of National Assisted Living Week begins on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

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