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Strenghtening New York state's assisted living industry

Governor Andrew Cuomo has proclaimed September "Assisted Living Month." The proclamation comes after state officials say more than two million New Yorkers will need some form of long term care by 2015.

According to the Empire State Association of Assisted Living, there are about 500 licensed assisted living agencies in New York state and they're more affordable than in previous years. On average, services are less than half of the cost of a nursing home.

But Lisa Newcomb, executive director of the Assisted Living Association, says too often families don't consider assisted living options until the unthinkable happens.

"The person might be in the hospital and can't go home safely," Newcomb says.

Such a situation leaves the family scrambling to try to understand the best way to provide care.

Newcomb says with so many options available today it is important to explore them before a crisis, so that families can make the best educated decision about their loved one's care.

The National Census Bureau estimates that by 2050 the number of Americans over 65 years of age will be 88.5 million. That's more than double the current population.