The elderly face many obstacles as they age and their physical and mental capabilities decrease. For those living in assisted living facilities, they often must rely on beneficial regulations and agencies that support their best interests and welfare.
A new New York program shows potential for improving the lives of seniors.
The features of the program
The New York State Department of Health and the State Office for the Aging implemented a five-point plan to aid seniors in long term care facilities. The program allocates $1 million in funding to purchase tablets, webcams, headphones and other devices to help residents connect with family and friends. The goal is to reduce social isolation for seniors.
The initiative also aims to better publicize the availability of the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. This allows facilities and families continued access to the services offered by the LTCOP. Other features of the initiative include additional resources for families appealing involuntary discharges, the expansion of recruitment for volunteer opportunities and additional measures to assists residents and their families.
The role of the LTCOP
According to the Office of the New York State Comptroller, the New York LTCOP became necessary under the rules of the Older Americans Act of 1965. Operated by the New York State Office for the Aging, the agency’s mission includes the following:
- To serve as an advocate for older adults and those with disabilities living in long term care facilities
- To ensure residents have full access to its services
- To investigate complaints
- To analyze and monitor laws and regulations related to LTC facilities
The LTCOP relies heavily on a network of volunteers to carry out its mission. A 2019 report stated that a decline in volunteers might impact the quality, effectiveness and reliability of the program.