Establishing a Special Needs Assisted Living Program for Persons with Advanced Cognitive Needs Is Vital In New York State

By Assemblymember Patricia Fahy | November 28, 2023

As older New Yorkers continue to make up a larger and larger share of our state’s population, I am frequently asked for help by constituents who are desperately in need of a safe place for their loved ones when they are no longer able to care for them. The New York Times and other media outlets have reported how elderly patients who sometimes act out with undesirable behaviors due to confusion, delusions and hallucinations have been either rejected for placement in long term care facilities or unable to return from hospitals. That is why I’m urging the Governor to sign legislation I sponsor with Senator Gustavo Rivera, A7035-A/ S2161-A.

The bill would help families and others who face the impossible task of caring for or seeking care for family members afflicted by severe neurodegenerative diseases with behavioral manifestations. These individuals with behavioral manifestations who suffer from neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, Lewy Body dementia, Parkinson’s disease, etc. have complex care needs and require intensive staff time that typically neither assisted living facilities nor nursing homes are able to provide creating a gap in the continuum of long-term care. Sadly, these patients are often left for months in hospitals with no care in the surrounding community available.

We are joined by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, The Alzheimer’s Association, Sun Medical Care, together with families across the state asking Governor Hochul to sign into law this important measure A.7035-A/S2161-A which establishes a Neurodegenerative with Behaviors Enhanced Special Needs Assisted Living Residence Program to Serve Persons with Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Families across the state face these challenges: unable to care for their loved one at home themselves; unable to access appropriate home care services; and unable to find any assisted living or nursing home to take them. The need for this type of care in New York can best be said by patient’s families:

“Within one month of moving her (Mom) into an assisted living facility we were told we had to move her because of aggression and behavioral issues…. New York has no facilities to care for patients that demonstrate aggressive behaviors.”

“Dad’s journey…highlights how deficient the eldercare system is at meeting the needs of a population whose size is only expected to grow. If even a patient of independent means cannot secure adequate care, one can only imagine the fates that accrue to those patients, and their families, who lack the wherewithal to find and to finance what they’ll need.”

My legislation, which has the support of the The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration,  The Michael J. Fox Foundation, The Alzheimer’s Association, Sun Medical Care, Argentum NY, and The Empire State Association of Assisted Living seeks to take the first step in providing a safe place for these members of our communities by licensing qualified long-term care providers in a private pay setting. In the future I hope to make these types of residences accessible to those in need with the option for funding. Please join me in urging Governor Hochul to sign A7035-A/ S2161-A and ensure that these New Yorkers receive the care they deserve!

Assemblymember Patricia Fahy represents the City of Albany, Town of New Scotland, and part of the Town of Guilderland as part of the 109th District in the State Assembly.