Saratoga County

Effort to help elderly starts

The calls sometimes come to town supervisors, or to county public health nurses, or the county Offic

The calls sometimes come to town supervisors, or to county public health nurses, or the county Office for the Aging.

An elderly person needs help coping, and the family calls because they don’t know where to start. Their relative doesn’t need to be in a nursing home, but does need some help with daily living. The problems can be complicated, and sorting through solutions confusing.

A new state and county initiative, NY Connects, is supposed to make finding the right answers easier.

Several dozen public or private agencies that offer various services came together Monday at Longfellow’s Restaurant in Saratoga Springs to offer information on how they can help, educating both each other and public officials.

“Someone will call us, and somewhere along the line they may need one of these services,” said county Office for the Aging Director Sandi Cross, whose office organized the event.

With the nationwide population of people over age 65 expected to grow by 23 million between 2010 and 2025 — when about one in every six Americans will be a senior citizen — NY Connects is part of a statewide effort to promote the availability of care at home, so people don’t have to move into nursing homes or other institutions.

Under NY Connects, the county Office for the Aging has been established as a new contact point for people to find agencies with the kinds of services they need.

“It’s great to be here and get a first-hand look at the services that are available,” said Halfmoon Supervisor Mindy Wormuth, chairwoman of the county supervisors’ Social Programs Committee.

Wormuth, like many town supervisors, said she sometimes gets calls from families needing help for a local relative, and it’s good to know what agencies provide particular services.

“We’re seeing more requests for help. We’re seeing an older population and there can be more illnesses,” said Janet Glenn, acting director of the county Public Health Nursing Service, which can visit people just discharged from a hospital and needing aid.

Agencies represented at Monday’s event included county social services and nursing agencies, private home care providers, and public and private nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

“By getting everyone together, we found out there’s more than enough people who need our services,” said Cindy Reicker, community relations manager for Home Instead Senior Care, a private home non-medical care agency that has offices in Schenectady, Saratoga Springs and Albany.

Assisted living facilities like housing in Malta, Saratoga Springs and Wilton run by Home of the Good Shepherd provide their residents with some support, as long as they’re mobile.

“People do better if they stay in their community,” said Ballston Supervisor Patti Southworth, who is advocating providing assisted living housing in that town.

Agencies that provide medical care were also represented.

Janet Ramos, outreach coordinator, said free cancer screenings are available at Wilton Medical Arts through a state program. Free screenings for several types of cancer are being scheduled at Wilton Medical Arts for this Saturday.

“If you have no insurance, we’ll take care of you to get screening,” Ramos said. “We’re looking for the uninsured. We’re hoping if we screen more, we can catch it early.”

The county Youth Bureau, which is overseeing a new council on autism, was also represented.

“People think of long-term care as for the elderly, but we have kids who have a need for long-term care,” said Wes Carr, the county youth bureau director.

Monday’s session was designed primarily for professionals who have to understand what help is available, but Cross said a similar program for the general public will be held next spring.

NY Connects is supported by the state Office for Aging in collaboration with the state Health Department. Every county in the state is required to participate.

The Saratoga County NY Connects program can be reached at 714-4826.

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply