MONTOUR FALLS, NY (WETM) – In the Sliver Spoon Cafe located in the Schuyler County Human Services building, caregivers sip coffee while sitting in a circle to speak with their Congressman.
Rep. Tom Reed met with some of the people who make up the Schyler County Office for the Aging program to talk with them about the struggles they face while taking care of their loved ones.
Richard Decker cares for his wife, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Decker wanted to Reed to hear what he needs to best support his wife.
“More help from the government for people with Alzheimer’s, and the care, and the waiting time to get into a specialist, it’s too long,” said Decker.
Waiting times and transportation to see a specialist came up several times throughout the meeting. For some people, Rochester is the closest city that has the type of doctor they need to see their family members.
Telemedicine was one solution that Reed mentioned. This is a service where a health physician can visit with a patient over the computer. That method can cut down the commute and potentially help with cutting down time spent on waiting lists, and for people with Alzheimer’s, waiting can be dangerous.
Decker believes that this method is a good idea
“It would get us in quicker,” Decker said with a little smile on his face.
Telemedicine wasn’t the only technology-focused solution Reed brought to the discussion. He said that talks with the CEO of Uber have been happening to help with the transportation need within the caregiver and older adult community.
“The lady who needs to go to her doctor has an opportunity to get to her doctor’s appointment on time,” Reed said. “That makes sense to me, using technology to solve some of these problems.”
“This day in age when you have such a demand on the system, especially with our aging population, we are going to have to get creative and innovative and come up with ways for the private sector and the public sector to work together,” Reed explained.
Reed said that to better help the community, especially on a tight budget, it was best to hear from the people on “the front line.” He also came with another agenda and that was to speak on the Credit for Caring Act.
On the flyer that was passed around, it claims to create up to a $3,000 nonrefundable tax credit. This, of course, would be adjusted to inflation for family caregivers. The mission of this act is to “Helping Those Helping Their Loved Ones” by “Easing the Burden on Caregivers.”
The Credit for Caring Act is supported by AARP. The nonprofit organization said in a letter to the Senate, “AARP, on behalf of our nearly 38 million members and all older Americans nationwide, is very pleased to endorse the Credit for Caring Act. Thank you for your bipartisan work to support family caregivers.”
Reed isn’t sure what the next move is for the Act sighting gridlock in DC. He said that there are some “opportunities” but he’s a “realist” and notes that the support from groups like AARP helps the Act moving forward.