A new pilot program has launched in North Hempstead to improve home health care for seniors on Long Island, that also improves the job market and lowers transportation costs for home health aides. The new project was announced on Sunday at a community meeting in Westbury.
Now, aides will have access to better training and supervision, and can anticipate less expensive transportation to and from their jobs, said Jeannie Appleman, the lead organizer for Long Island Congregations Associations and Neighborhoods (LI-CAN), based in Valley Stream. LI-CAN is a multi-faith and multi-ethnic organization that builds community power to address its members’ concerns.
The 's Project Independence program, which helps the elderly age in place, and two taxi companies – Port Washington-based , and Westbury-based Taxi Hispano – have committed to helping to provide more affordable taxi fares for aides who care for seniors. The program also provides geographical clusters to match aides and clients who live in the same area to lower transportation costs and decrease travel time.
In addition, Partners In Care, which services the New York metropolitan area, and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, are providing a training and supervision model that offers competitive wages and good benefits.
"A lot of aides are working for exploitive agencies," Appleman said. "Instead of getting $9 an hour or $9.50, they'll get $6."
The program began to take root back in 2009, when members of the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore (RSNS) in Plandome worked with LI-CAN to address concerns they had about caring for their elderly loved ones. Those concerns were echoed across other synagogues, churches and a mosque, which all belong to LI-CAN.
“Now is the moment for leaders in the home health industry and elected officials to work with their customers and constituents, as well as community groups like ours, to ensure quality care at the lowest possible cost," said Cantor Eric Schulmiller, of RSNS. "It will take a coordinated effort to prevent a crisis of home health care for seniors on Long Island. But our welfare, and the welfare of our parents and grandparents, is at stake.”
Appleman said she is meeting with town supervisors across Long Island, and hopes to bring the model there as well.
To learn more about the program, contact LI-CAN at email: firstname.lastname@example.org.