Senator Rachel May (D-Onondaga, Madison, Oneida) is among 70 state legislators and three governors from 30 states whom AARP has selected to honor as a 2019 “Capitol Caregiver.” The sixth annual class of honorees focuses on legislators and policymakers who have worked together to advance policies that help support older Americans.
AARP lauded May, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Aging, particularly for her leadership in securing enhanced funding for home and community-based services for older New Yorkers. This funding has helped area agencies on aging clear waiting lists of clients—some in their 90s—in need of vital home-based services.
“I am honored to be recognized by AARP as a ‘Capitol Caregiver,’” May said. “Seniors comprise the fastest-growing segment of our state’s population, and we have to ensure we have the services and resources to support them in their daily living.
“This funding helps fill a tremendously important need among those who, with some key support, have the capacity and desire to remain in their homes rather than having to move into a publicly funded, and much costlier, nursing home. It makes good economic sense—and it aligns with the wishes of a vast majority of seniors.”
May also has sponsored a bill creating a tax credit for unpaid family caregivers and co-sponsors a package of bills designed to rein in prescription drug costs, all of which are endorsed by AARP.
“AARP is grateful to Senator May for supporting New York’s 2.5 million family caregivers, including by successfully fighting for an historic increase in this year’s state budget for home and community-based services for older New Yorkers—which provide respite and relief for caregivers,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “Family caregivers spend nearly $7,000 a year on average out of their own pockets to help their loved ones age at home with dignity – about 20 percent of their income. We are honoring Senator May because she recognizes that supporting family caregivers is the right and humane thing—and protects a New York industry worth $31 billion, the value of the unpaid care family caregivers provide.”
AARP created its annual “Capitol Caregivers” designation six years ago as a way to call attention to and rally support for the approximately 41 million U.S. citizens who provide care for an aging loved one or child with a disability. About 60 percent of these caregivers also hold full- or part-time jobs and often struggle to save for their own retirement.
May represents New York’s 53rd Senate District, encompassing much of Syracuse and Onondaga, Madison and Oneida counties.