Every year, 4.1 million New Yorkers assume the role of caregiver at some point, providing more than 2.6 billion hours of direct, hands-on, unpaid care to loved ones. The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) and its network offer many services to support unpaid caregivers who are helping New Yorkers of any age.
New York State Office for the Aging Director Greg Olsen said, “When most people hear the word ‘caregiver,’ they think of formal systems of care, whereas most caregiving is provided by parents, spouses, grandparents, friends, and neighbors – an estimated 4.1 million New Yorkers. NYSOFA is dedicated to helping these individuals recognize the full extent of their role and provide help, including in-person supports as well as tools to relieve caregiver stress, find resources, learn evidence-based best-practices, and feel empowered. We are proud to partner with local organizations as well as leading national programs and initiatives to support caregivers and the people who rely upon them.”
Self-Identifying as a Caregiver
More than half of unpaid caregivers don’t even self-identify as caregivers. These are family members, friends or neighbors who provide uncompensated care and support to someone else, such as a spouse, an older parent, children, or someone with chronic or other medical conditions. If you routinely provide help to a friend or family member, then you are a caregiver. This can include many activities: household tasks, transportation help, assisting with medical or self-care needs, and more.
To help caregivers self-identify, NYSOFA has developed a Caregivers Guide Video that summarizes the many services and supports available to caregivers in New York State. During National Family Caregivers Month, individuals are encouraged to share the video widely on social media here.
Local Aging Network Services to Support Caregivers
NYSOFA's network of Area Agencies on Aging and their community partners provide services to 1.3 million older adults annually. These include many services that directly help caregivers, such as respite and adult day care programs. Offices for the aging and community partners also help family caregivers by providing formal supports that a caregiver might otherwise assume on behalf of an older adult or person with disabilities, including personal care services, transportation to medical appointments or for other necessities, home-delivered meals, home modifications or assistive technologies to support aging in place, benefits assistance, and more. To learn about and find these services, use the NY Connects Statewide Resource Directory or helpline at 1-800-342-9871.
Digital Tools for Caregivers
NYSOFA has also partnered with leading organizations that support caregivers to provide several innovative digital tools available at no charge for any caregiver in New York State.
- Any Care Counts NY and the Caregiver Intensity Index: NYSOFA has partnered with ARCHANGELS and the Association on Aging in New York (AgingNY) to launch the Any Care Counts NY (ACC-NY) Campaign across the state. ARCHANGELS’ omni-channel, data-driven platform uses a campaign approach to engage caregivers wherever they are – even those who do not see themselves in the role. As part of the platform, the ARCHANGELS Caregiver Intensity Index (CII) provides each caregiver with a score, validates their experience, and navigates them to resources offered by New York State. Caregivers not only get support in the moment, but insights are captured that support policy and advocacy efforts. The ACC-NY Campaign has reached 1.5 million New Yorkers, with thousands of unpaid caregivers finding their Intensity Score through the CII and over 25% exploring resources such as New York’s Caregiving Portal and NY Connects. Of those who have gotten their Intensity Score in New York, 27% are in the "red," experiencing the highest levels of intensity. Learn more about Any Care Counts NY and get your score here.
- New York’s Caregiving Portal, powered by Trualta: NYSOFA offers a New York Caregiving Portal that is available free of charge to any of the 4.1 million people who provide unpaid care to a loved one. This evidence-based caregiver training and support platform, powered by Trualta, helps families build skills to manage care at home for loved ones of any age. It also connects to local resources and support services by delivering personalized education, training, and information links. Once registered, caregivers can select personalized training and track their progress on topics like self-care, stroke recovery, dementia care, medication management, and more. Users can log-in from any computer, tablet, or smartphone. Content is available in English or Spanish.
AgingNY Executive Director Becky Preve said, "The Association on Aging in New York is thrilled to highlight and support the amazing caregivers across the state. Our partnership with the New York State Office for the Aging, Trualta, ARCHANGELS and many other leading national organizations has allowed for identification and support directly to the millions of caregivers providing uncompensated care to a loved one in New York State."
ARCHANGELS Co-Founder and CEO Alexandra Drane said, “Being the go-to person caring for the people in our lives is an honor. It can also be intense – in some ways that are good and also some not-so-good ways. This intensity has a very real and measurable impact on how we feel in our bodies, minds, and even with our relationships and work. ARCHANGELS is all about validating and supporting that reality for caregivers. Our campaigns reflect the extraordinariness of what it is to care, grabbing the attention of these incredible humans who provide care to others, encouraging that ‘aha’ moment of ‘wow, I had no idea I was in this role’ as a caregiver and ‘wow, it’s intense,’ then connecting them to invaluable resources that most folks don’t even know exist. Supporting the incredible work of unpaid caregivers is fundamental to building systems and organizations in a sustainable and scalable way – it’s also the single best way to reinforce this invisible backbone of our nation. We have big love for the state of New York as they work with us to make change happen for all the unpaid caregivers who in turn make life possible for all of us in New York State.”
Trualta Founder and CEO Jonathan Davis said, “Through our partnership with NYSOFA, we continue to help family caregivers in New York learn how to better care for loved ones with conditions such as heart disease, a recent stroke, Alzheimer's and dementia, intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), and diabetes, among others. And we are seeing amazing results. Ninety-nine percent of participants in our recently-launched support groups have reported lower feelings of isolation, and 96 percent of participants in our online events have reported learning something new. We're excited to help more New Yorkers in the coming year.”