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Office for the Aging

Office for the Aging holds open house to highlight services as it approaches 50th anniversary

By Howard B. Owens
office for the aging 50th anniversary open house

On Tuesday, Genesee County's Office for the Aging commemorated Older Americans Month with an open house at its community center on Bank Street in Batavia.

The agency is also approaching its 50th anniversary, which it will mark on June 1.

The open house was intended to help the entire community better understand the service available, but especially older adults who are new to the area or those who have recently turned 60 or 65, said Diana Fox, executive director.

The office offers various services to local residents age 60 and older, including support for caregivers, in-home services, meals, a nutrition program, help with services for seniors, and activities for seniors.

"You know, people sometimes say that it's kind of the best-kept secret, but I think one of the things that are so great about (the Office for the Aging) is that these are services that are available for the community that, for the most part, don't cost anything. People don't realize what we have to offer. And I'm just so proud of the staff and their commitment. The people who come here, and they work here for years and then sometimes retire from the Office for the Aging because it's such a great place to be, and we love the people who come in to see us."

Photos by Howard Owens.

office for the aging 50th anniversary open house
office for the aging 50th anniversary open house
office for the aging 50th anniversary open house
office for the aging 50th anniversary open house

GC Office for the Aging invites public to open house May 14

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Genesee County Office for the Aging invites you to an exciting Open House event on Tuesday, May 14, from 2 - 4 p.m. at 2 Bank Street, Batavia.

Come meet our dedicated staff and learn about our comprehensive programs and services, which positively impact residents of Genesee County. Engage with our team, ask questions, and explore the resources designed to enhance the quality of life for older adults, individuals living with disabilities in our community, and their caregivers.

Enjoy light refreshments and participate in fun activities with chances to win exciting prizes throughout the event!

We encourage everyone to attend and discover the valuable resources available through the Genesee County Office for the Aging. Save the date for May 14 and join us at our Open House! 

For more information, please contact Maureen Estabrooks at 585-343-1611 or

Town hall meeting on May 3 in Batavia will tackle subject of medication for opioid use disorder

By Press Release

Press release:

While there are plenty of acronyms in the field of substance use prevention and treatment, not many are as relevant to today’s environment than MOUD.

The Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming Opioid Task Force, in conjunction with The HEAL Initiative, is continuing its effort to inform the public of the benefits of MOUD – medication for opioid use disorder – by hosting a public forum on May 3 at the Genesee County Office for the Aging at 2 Bank St.

The “MOUD Anti-Stigma and Awareness Town Hall” will feature six speakers, including two men who are in recovery, and will be moderated by Paul Pettit, public health director for Genesee & Orleans Health Departments.

Registration is set for 5 p.m., with the session to run from 5:15 to 7 p.m. Registration is recommended but not required, and a light dinner will be served. Naloxone training will be offered following the presentation.

“The major insights that we are looking to share with the public are defining MOUD and illustrating its effectiveness in treatment,” said Christen Foley, GOW Opioid Task Force coordinator. “We hope that this town hall meeting is a step toward clearing up any misconceptions with MOUD and reducing the stigma associated with substance use disorder.”

The forum also will touch upon topics such as creating a supportive environment for those struggling with opioid use disorder and providing local treatment and recovery resources in the region.

Panelists are as follows:

-- Dr. Samantha Gray, PhD, an advanced practice clinician at Horizon Health Service’s Batavia location and an adjunct professor within the department

of Counseling, School and Educational Psychology at the University at Buffalo. She also has her own private practice.

Dr. Gray said she became invested as an advocate after her father passed away from an overdose in 2015. Her experience beyond the outpatient settings includes work with methadone programs, crisis response, homeless shelters, housing programs and community/resource coordination.


-- Reilly Climenhaga, a detox technician at Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, who has recovery coach and peer advocate certifications.  He struggled with opioid use disorder for more than 20 years, and has been on and off since the age of 20. He had been taking Sublocade -- a once-a-month injection of buprenorphine.

Climenhaga said that MOUD, coupled with working a strict program of recovery, has changed his life for the better.


-- Randi Johnson, a physician assistant at GCASA for three years, working at the Albion outpatient clinic, at the detoxification facility and the methadone clinic. Previously, she worked in emergency room and urgent care settings.

Johnson said she has utilized buprenorphine micro-inductions to successfully initiate many patients on buprenorphine.

-- Scott Davis, who is in his second year as a recovery coach and certified peer advocate with the Rochester Regional Health system. In recovery for three years, he attributes his success to determination, faith, a strong support team and the application of medication for substance use disorder.

Davis works with clients through Monroe County treatment courts – providing guidance and peer support, providing transportation for same day/next day inpatient admissions, and other services, including reentry into society following incarceration.

-- Kate Gregory, a licensed master social worker who is the manager of Chemical Dependency at Rochester Regional Health and Hope Haven Inpatient unit.

A social worker since 2005, she has worked in both the mental health and chemical dependency fields in a variety of treatment settings, with direct patient care ranging from residential counseling, inpatient social work, jail counseling, community based crisis response and primary therapy.

Gregory, a RRH employee since 2018, was instrumental in overseeing the development of the system’s central access team to increase immediate access and response support across all RRH chemical dependency departments.

-- Daniel Hauck, clinical supervisor at Hope Haven Inpatient Rehabilitation, RRH Chemical Dependency unit in Batavia. He has worked in the substance use treatment field since 2005 across multiple states, having received Master Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor status, specializing in trauma-informed care, community engagement and crisis intervention.

Hauck also has worked as a treatment court liaison for the Tompkins County Drug Court.

To register for the town hall meeting, go to

Series of workshops offered on chronic disease self-management

By Press Release

Press release: 

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) and the Genesee County Office for the Aging (GCOFA) will hold a series of Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshops on six Wednesdays, at no charge, starting with an Introductory Meeting, April 5, 2023 and continuing with the Workshops on April 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, 17 from 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM.  Classes will take place at the GCOFA, at 2 Bank Street in Batavia, NY 14020, and Snacks will be provided.

Participants will learn how to manage ongoing health conditions such as: Arthritis, Diabetes, Cystic Fibrosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Other Eating Disorders, and Asthma.

Those who attend will be shown practical steps to gain control of their daily health concerns.  Participants will learn about healthy eating, problem-solving, action plans, medications, weight management, physical activity, sleep and relationship communication skills.

Participants who complete the series will receive a great resource book and gift card. 

Pre-registration is required; please call Cathy DeMare at 585-815-8501, ext. 400, by April 5th.

For individuals with disabilities or language interpretation needs, requests for reasonable accommodations should be made with five days’ notice. If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, we respectfully ask you not to attend.

This program is made possible through funds from the NY State Office for the Aging, NY Connects, the Older Americans Act, the generous support of the Genesee County Legislature, and in partnership with Independent Living of the Genesee Region.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region is a member of the Western New York Independent Living, Inc. family of agencies that offer an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

NYS Office for the Aging asks residents 60 and older to complete survey

By Press Release

Press release:

The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) urges all individuals 60+ to answer a newly launched statewide Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults (CASOA).

NYSOFA is conducting the survey in partnership with the Association on Aging in New York (AgingNY) and the research firm Polco. It is the first survey of its kind to be conducted statewide in New York.

Initial feedback had previously been collected through a randomly selected sample of residents who received a printed survey by mail from NYSOFA. In this second phase of the survey, all community members age 60 and over are encouraged to share their input by completing the survey online. The survey will close on March 30, 2023

NYSOFA Director Greg Olsen said, "Older adults are important to their families, communities, and the state’s economy. Our goal is to help them age successfully and keep their enormous contributions in New York State. We need older adults to provide us with feedback as we build on New York's promise as the first age-friendly state in the nation."  

AgingNY Executive Director Becky Preve said, “Data is imperative in the creation and implementation of policy and funding needs of older New Yorkers. This survey provides an opportunity for federal, state, and local governments to hear directly from residents on current and future needs to support the older population. We strongly encourage participation in this free, anonymous survey, as the results will be paramount in planning for the future.” 

The survey’s results will inform the priorities of NYSOFA as it prepares its four-year plan to the federal government. NYSOFA’s four-year plan guides service delivery and policy development for aging services that support New York’s 4.6 million older adults.

Under the direction of Governor Kathy Hochul, New York is also developing a comprehensive Master Plan for Aging(MPA). The MPA is designed to ensure that older adults and individuals of all ages can live healthy, fulfilling lives while aging with dignity and independence. While NYSOFA’s Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults is a separate initiative from the MPA process, the survey results may also provide further information to support the goals of the Master Plan for Aging. 

The Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults is being conducted in partnership with Polco, an online civic engagement platform. It is anonymous and takes only 10 to 15 minutes to complete. The survey is available in six languages by clicking the language options at the top of the survey page. 

The survey covers the following areas:

  • Overall community quality – assessing the community as a place to live and retire, whether individuals recommend the community to others, and residential stability.
  • Community and belonging – assessing views about community safety, the belief that older residents are valued in the community, and concerns about crime victimization and abuse. 
  • Community information – assessing the availability of information about older adult resources and financial or legal services.
  • Productive activities – assessing civic engagement, such as volunteering, voting, social engagement, social and religious activities, recreation, personal enrichment, caregiving, and economic contributions.
  • Health and wellness – physical health, physical fitness, mental health, emotional wellbeing, quality of life, health care, independent living, activities of daily living, and hospitalizations.
  • Community design and land use – housing variety and availability, ease of travel (by car, foot, and bus), access to daily needs, overall quality of life.

Office for the Aging offering assistance for expanded Medicare Savings Program

By Press Release

Press release:

Higher-income eligibility (revised) for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) (due to higher federal poverty guidelines) in New York. Single individuals with Medicare have a gross income of up to $2,280 per month, and couples with monthly gross incomes of up to $3,077. New York State does NOT look at your assets for this program.

The MSP helps older adults and people with disabilities living on low incomes by paying their Medicare Part B premiums ($164.90 each month) and enrolling them in Extra Help, the federal prescription drug subsidy program that the Social Security Administration estimates is worth about $5,100 per year. This program lowers prescription costs and gets rid of the deductible and the “donut hole,” or gap coverage.  The financial assistance can be a lifeline, allowing enrollees to maintain their Medicare coverage, access needed care, and afford other necessities, like food and rent.

The Genesee County Office for the Aging will be holding a walk-in assistance day for anyone will be new to this program, on Wednesday, March 29th, from 2 to4 p.m.  We are located at 2 Bank Street in Batavia.  Bring with you: a birth certificate, social security card, Medicare card, License, Current (2023) Social Security award letter, and any other reoccurring income proof (weekly, monthly, or yearly).

Free program to improve body and mind offered this week at OFA in Batavia

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Western New York Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association will offer a free event Tuesday in Batavia about how healthy habits can improve both the body and the mind.

“Healthy Living for Your Body and Brain” will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. on Tuesday at the Genesee County Office for the Aging at 2 Bank St. in Batavia. The program will cover four areas of lifestyle habits that are associated with healthy aging: cognitive activity, exercise, diet and nutrition, and social engagement.

Participants will learn, based on current research, the steps they can take now to improve or maintain overall health in each area and use hands-on tools to help incorporate these recommendations into a plan for healthy aging.

Registration is recommended and can be done online HERE or by calling 800-272-3900.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, call the 24/7 Alzheimer’s Association Helpline at 800.272.3900 or visit

Office for the Aging offering assistance with expanded Medicare Savings Program

By Press Release

Press release:

Starting Jan. 1, eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) in New York expanded to single individuals with Medicare who have a gross income up to $2,107 per month and couples with monthly gross incomes up to $2,839. New York State does NOT look at your assets for this program.

The MSP helps older adults and people with disabilities living on low incomes by paying their Medicare Part B premiums ($164.90 each month) and enrolling them in Extra Help, the federal prescription drug subsidy program that the Social Security Administration estimates is worth about $5,100 per year. This program lowers prescription costs and gets rid of the deductible and the “donut hole”, or gap coverage.  The financial assistance can be a lifeline, allowing enrollees to maintain their Medicare coverage, access needed care, and afford other necessities, like food and rent.

The Genesee County Office for the Aging will be holding a walk-in assistance day for anyone will be new to this program, on Wednesday, January 25th from 1 to 4 p.m.  We are located at 2 Bank St., Batavia.  Please call ahead, so we may give you information on what you will need to have with you for proof on that day.  585-343-1611.

Aging in place is not impossible, but answers should be in place as well

By Joanne Beck

You’re getting older, feeling those achy joints a bit more, cursing the stairs each time you need to use them, and wishing that perhaps you had better equipped the house to accommodate the future you.    

An unlikely scenario, you say? Not for countless senior citizens locally and across New York State, according to Rebecca Preve, executive director of the Association on Aging in New York.

“We all know that New York State is fourth in the nation in the over-60 population. In addition, census data indicate that the fastest-growing segment of the population is individuals over the age of 80. We know that the state's overall population is predicted to grow by 1.3 percent through 2040. But the 80-plus population will see growth of 42 percent,” Preve said during a Dec. 12 Senate hearing on aging-related needs. “Additionally, 70 percent of the older population will need some form of home care during their lifetime … The master plan on aging has instituted a division within the Department of Health for aging and long-term care. We are all enthusiastic about the opportunity to ensure we are looking at aging as a lifelong process, not just starting at the age of 60.”

Genesee County Office For the Aging Director Diana Fox and staff are working toward that end. The county Legislature just approved Fox’s request this past week to renew two grants with Caring Environments J&H, Inc. to assist older folks wanting to remain at home. The grant money helps seniors with expenses related to stair and vertical lifts, wheelchairs and bathroom modifications, such as revamping a bathtub into a shower. In fact, the last grant assisted six people this past year with that type of bathroom modification, she said.

A current contract with Caring Environments will extend the company's services as an installer at a cost of $140 per hour through March 11, 2024.

Your 'Future Self'
With the convergence of the largest age group to hit retirement age by 2030, issues of aging are right around the corner. And it’s about more than merely where to live, Fox said.

“It’s never too late to have those conversations, but what do you want it to look like as you age? To be able to think about where are you currently living? Where are you now to meet the needs of your future self?” she said. “How big are your doorways and hallways, can you get in and out? What is the lighting like, how do you get around, what will you need to get around? Talk to family members. Are there things you can plan for ahead of time?”

Other potential issues are maintaining the home and yard — will you need a landscaping service or at least someone to mow the lawn? Is your place too big; perhaps you need to downsize, she said. Are you near cultural, social and recreational sites to interact with the community? And last, but most importantly — are you taking care of yourself by making doctor visits, being socially connected, keeping active, eating well, and retaining healthy physical and mental well-being?

“We have staff available to have those conversations,” Fox said. “You want to have those conversations and be thinking about those things, ideally, before you hit a crisis.”

One such crisis could be the realization that those stairs are more a hindrance than a help. The grant money can go toward the related costs of a stair lift, or for a wheelchair, ramp, and bathroom modifications to, for example, install a shower when a bathtub is too difficult to use.

The Costs of Aging
The state’s masterplan needs to address the impacts of prevention, education, and accessibility,” Preve said.

“It also needs to ensure that all state government organizations are not working within silos to ensure we're an age-friendly state. As you are aware there's a rapidly growing aging population and, in conjunction with a significant rise in inflation, impacted older residents and increased demand for aging services by over 70 percent,” Preve said. “We continue to see significant waiting lists. For services, we're dealing with huge increases in the cost of raw materials, significant workforce shortages and increased customers.”

Those issues are also prevalent here, Fox said, with the home healthcare workforce being heavily dependent on a soft skill: they typically love what they do. Otherwise, the job usually requires anything from shopping and food prep to hands-on skills of dressing, toileting, eating, and such tasks to take care of one’s personal needs; strength to assist someone out of a chair or bed and when in the shower or bathroom; certification; and an acceptance of low pay in this field.

“I think you have to have a passion for the people,” Fox said. “I think our society doesn’t really value this; it is hard work you’re doing.”

And the Office For the Aging — which uses three different agencies for home health aides — can attest to the ongoing shortage of help, she said. Either there aren’t enough workers to begin with, or they are shuffled to fill in for another staffer who is sick or takes days off. Complaints about being unable to find someone has become constant murmurs in the community.

“They have trouble with being able to fulfill the requests. I hear that people are looking for someone,” she said. “Part of it is the pay; it has been historically low, and it has been something that there has been a lot of advocacy on to increase.

“We might authorize someone to have a personal aide come in for six hours a week. We might authorize it, but then there’s not someone to provide the care; they say all of their staff is full.”

Aging in Place
That’s why the “unmet needs” grants are so crucial, she said.

Genesee County is ripe with older, two-story homes that wreak havoc with inflamed knees and stability concerns. So the question is how are people going to live out those much-touted golden years? Can you renovate the home to accommodate physical needs, search for a one-story home or apartment, be able to hire a home health care aide, or purchase some equipment to make for easier access, such as stair lifts and wheelchairs?

“It really makes a difference for people to be able to stay in their homes,” she said. “To serve this aging population in order to serve the needs of people; it’s much cheaper to keep people in their homes. I feel like it’s something we in our country don’t particularly value.”

Preve also emphasized that point. Society looks at prevention measures within alcohol and substance abuse, but not so much when it comes to one’s long-term future and services such as Medicaid.

“We don't talk enough about preventing having people spend down to Medicaid or institutional care, and that's really what we want the master plan to focus on. Aging is a lifelong process. How can we make sure that we're targeting people in their 30s with high blood pressure because we know that that's going to impact Alzheimer's disease when they're in their later years?” Preve said. “So it really needs to be a cohesive thought process to ensure that we allow individuals to age in place and that we keep them off Medicaid because we know Medicaid is not sustainable at the current level.”

Mastering the Aging Process
To assist with aging in place, the OFA’s services include retirement planning seminars, tax help, and a Handyman Program, plus an Aging Mastery program twice a year — with the next one scheduled for February.

This program focuses on how to plan for getting older and living comfortably in one’s post-retirement years, Fox said.

“We spend a lot of time in our older years,” she said.

To learn more, sign up for the OFA’s newsletter by going HERE or calling 585-343-1611.

Top Photo of Rebecca (Becky) Preve, executive director of the Association on Aging in New York, from an online post; and File Photo of Diana Fox, director of Genesee County Office for the Aging, during a county meeting, by Joanne Beck.

Film about loneliness offers hope for reconnection: Nov. 2 in Batavia

By Joanne Beck


Joseph Applebaum was surprised when a survey he and fellow filmmaker Stu Maddux put out to 3,000 friends and acquaintances came back with an unexpected winning topic.

While they thought that it would be something about transgender or LGBT issues, the most popular concern for folks was something much more universal.

“By two to one, it came back to social isolation and loneliness. So once we got over our shock, we thought, okay, we better look into this, because we don't know anything about it,” Applebaum said by phone during an interview from San Francisco. “And we started doing serious research, as we do. And we realized what an important subject this is, and how it literally can affect anybody. It is not an easy group that’s affected that you're trying to bring attention to, this is something that, you know, everybody on this planet, whether they want to admit it or not, does feel periods of loneliness and being isolated. So we pursued it.”

And, as it happened, he and his work and life partner discovered that they, too, had become isolated at their home-base office. While the film is not about Applebaum, it seems to serve as a testimony that the topic can be insidious enough to hide from the very people investigating it for a documentary.

“And of course in pursuing it, we realized very quickly that we were lonely and isolated,” he said.


He and Maddux produced the film “All the Lonely People,” which will be presented at 3 p.m. on Nov. 2 at Genesee County Office for the Aging, 2 Bank St., Batavia. Space is limited. Call (585) 343-1611 to reserve your seat.

The film falls right in line with the types of projects Applebaum and Maddux produce, dealing with genuine topics of social, personal, and lifestyle significance. Yet all the while, the couple fell into what they later learned was a familiar trap: moving to an area where they didn’t know anyone, focusing on work, staying at the home base with little personal interactions with the outside world, and eschewing groups for a diligent career mentality. That left them together — but alone.

Being married or in a relationship with someone doesn’t exclude loneliness and isolation, Applebaum said. People need additional support besides that one person in their lives, he said.

Through his research and connection with Age UK, a charity agency founded in the United Kingdom to help older people make the most of their later lives (The UK is a place far more advanced with a focus on this topic, he said), Applebaum found resources and seven suitable candidates to interview and trail for updates and progress on their loneliness journeys.


Although COVID really set everyone back in terms of social distancing, Applebaum was ahead of the times by initiating this film in 2018. By 2020, when the pandemic shut most operations down, his team had completed 90 percent of the film content. They then had to assess whether to just finish it or continue on. He knew it wouldn’t be the film that it could be just yet, so interviews were conducted on Zoom.

While it seemed a bit impersonal, talking via electronic devices was exactly what COVID had created, so it also seemed very real, he said.

“We liked the disconnectivity of Zoom,” he said.

They packaged tiny cameras and microphones and sent them to subjects to set up themselves. The film crew also directed the subjects over Zoom so they knew how to capture their interviews and comments. Subjects were all over the world, from Tokyo and Alaska to Australia and the UK, where 40 percent of the film was made.

“They’re way ahead of the curve in recognizing the seriousness of loneliness. They really are at the forefront of the subject,” he said. “Here, everything is so political.”

So how does loneliness affect people? Certainly, depression was a big one, and at least one subject admitted to drinking a lot of alcohol to cope. Others felt trapped by financial constraints, he said, and not being able to go anywhere due to having no money for gas. To sum it up, “it was a lot of different things,” he said.


Applebaum is a California native who is producer and CEO of The Clowder Group. He and Maddux left mainstream television and Hollywood “in the dust” years ago in search of “the next film” that actually meant something to them.

“We’re blessed with a lot of people who use our films,” he said, listing government, educational and health agencies as examples. He and Maddux have embarked on a New York statewide “community impact campaign” regarding their film, and it is being shown at several locations, including in Batavia.

Subjects for the film participated in candid interviews, in which they revealed their situations and — as time elapsed — how they attempted to get themselves out of the isolation holes they were in. Related materials have tips for ways to combat an isolated life, and Applebaum and Maddux used some of them — joining groups, getting out of the house more often — to a successful outcome.


The response to the film has been “phenomenal” so far, Applebaum said, and it’s only just the beginning of the release.

“And as you know, we're doing this big tour of New York State, which is fantastic. We have other opportunities to do similar tours in other states,” he said. “We've shown the film to a joint session of Congress. We have the possibility of showing it to European Parliament, and we're just getting started.”

OFA’s Director Diana Fox said that the state’s Office For the Aging provided her agency the opportunity to be part of the film tour, which has been set for next month.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer the viewing here in Batavia and have the filmmakers available as part of our panel discussion following the film, which will be streamed to Monroe County. Our county is not unique with having our citizens experience isolation and loneliness that, in part, due to the pandemic became even more apparent,” Fox said. “We heard frequently from people in our community just how isolated and alone they felt.  Our OFA worked very hard to provide connection during this time of crisis and is continuing to work hard to help create connection for people.”

The OFA works primarily with  people 60 and older, and their caregivers, she said; however, “loneliness and isolation do not solely impact this group.”

“This is an issue that impacts many people throughout their lifespan and can have a negative effect on the health and well-being of all of us,” she said. “We thought that it would be a wonderful opportunity to bring people in our community, of all ages, together to have an event that can spark ways to overcome loneliness and isolation and help create connection.”

The presentation will include interviews with Julianne Holt-Lunstad, professor of psychology and neuroscience; Dr. Carla Perissinotto, geriatrician, social isolation and loneliness researcher; Michelle Lim, scientific chair; and Janet Morrison, co-founder for the Campaign to End Loneliness. A project that was built on hope, it "shares the latest research and interventions for individuals and communities and leaves audiences feeling empowered and reconnected," the filmmakers said.

Speaking on behalf of himself and Maddux, Applebaum shared what they hope to impart with this project.

“We want people to recognize that this is an issue, a growing epidemic that can affect anybody at any time in their lives. And it is not weakness to admit that you get lonely. It just isn't, you know, it's very hard sometimes for people, especially men we have found, to admit that they're lonely because they view it as a sign of weakness,” he said. “But those that do, and can realize that they're not alone, and this is a normal thing, are the ones that can then easily find solutions and pull themselves out of it. So that's what we hope, that people will see it. It's not this big, scary thing. It happens to everybody. And there are things you can do to get out of it.”

Some of the “Loneliness Life Hacks” suggested include: 

  • Maintaining a positive outlook 
  • Reaching out to others early when feeling lonely
  • Acceptance of one's life circumstances or situation
  • Telling others you are feeling lonely today
  • Motivating yourself to move - change settings that keep you isolated
  • Caring for an animal
  • Stepping outside your comfort zone - trying something new
  • Expressing gratitude 

For more, visit the Lonely People website.

Top two photos of Joseph Applebaum and Stu Maddux, respectively; film subjects Tony Westbrook, Ari Rossen, and Carol Hill. Photos courtesy of The Clowder Group. 

Boomers part of older population expected to keep growing, putting demand on services

By Joanne Beck

It’s countdown time for Genesee County’s Office For the Aging, Director Diana Fox says.

She estimates that the last of the Baby Boomers will be turning 65 by 2030, and that will mean more seniors to serve.

“So we're within seven years now, it’s just about here with all those boomers hitting 65. So now, more than ever, I would say ongoing in terms of the services that we have, they're just so important,” Fox said Monday during her annual report to the Human Services Committee. “You know, our OFA started here in Genesee County in 1974. But they're 50 years of service across the nation. So that's really kind of cool. And we all do a lot of the same kinds of things but we’re unique to our own communities. For the most part, we're all doing home delivered meals, we do the insurance counseling, we do legal services, in-home care, caregiver supports, things like that.”

Projections of an aging population on the rise put ages 60 and older at around 16,000 people in the county, to increase to nearly 20,000 by 2035, and ages 65 and older at a close second with some 16,000 to 17,000 by that same time period. Those age groups are prime candidates for OFA services and Medicare.

Fox gets frustrated to see flyers posted that promote misleading information. Her staff visits vendor fairs quarterly to try and educate older folks and guide them toward what may be the best insurance option for them, Fox said.

“So after they've met individually, or come to a group, rather, for Medicare one on one, and get some basic information, then they can be right there in a space with all the vendors at one spot, they can make appointments individually with our staff so that they're getting the right plan for them,” she said. “And we do this every single year because of open enrollment. So there's no pressure, we don't have any skin in the game, in terms of what they choose. And you know, there have been a couple of times when I've walked by my building, that I've had to take off flyers that people have just tacked up (that state) ‘call now we can save you money.’ So just a big shout out to my staff on that, because they are really well versed, and it's what they do.”

The caseload waitlist is close to last year’s at 11 more — 101 versus 90 last year — as people wait for caregiver support for an older loved one, she said, though there are no wait lists for meal deliveries, which are at about 165 active cases right now.

Arc GLOW prepares the meals, and that fee was raised 15 percent this year, “which I actually think is not bad at all,” Fox said. In the past, prices rose only 1 percent a year, so it was understandable for the larger leap this year, she said.

“And between the cost of food, minimum wage had gone up during that time, gas … I would not be surprised if it goes up again next year at some point, I don't know what that will look like,” she said. “In terms of next year, we'll be opening up another one of the congregate group meal sites, opening that backup, and we'll most likely be adding a third day at our Batavia site … so that'll increase the number of meals that we're asking for as well. They're able to do that for congregate without an issue.”

There’s not enough staff to add to the meal delivery sites, she said, but they do try to ensure that current recipients are taken care of even in times of bad weather. Called an “emergency meal,” those are delivered to recipients at some point before the weather is predicted to get nasty so that there will be extra food in their homes for when drivers can’t get out to them, she said.

“The staff has never missed a beat, they have worked so hard to make sure nothing fell through the cracks,” she said of changes in personnel, retirements, promotions, health and family issues. “The other thing I will say with that is that the majority or half, eight people, are now having to take their civil service exams. They've been there, some of them since 2018. And I can lose everyone. So it's interesting, we have a combination of things.”

Legislator Shelley Stein asked where the safe zone was, in terms of those between retirements and new staff. What happens if all of the potential retirees leave?

“That’s a really good question,” Fox said. “Because you just hope everybody doesn't go all at once. And these are estimates. I mean, we don't really know for sure … that would be tough.”

It’s not an uncommon melody, Legislator Gordon Dibble said.

“You realize you sound just like so many other employers. Not just in government,” he said. "I mean, it's the same song. Everybody's singing the same song. Where's all the help?”

It’s a dilemma only to grow more intense, according to U.S. Census Data, which states in 2018, 16 percent — or 52 million — Americans were 65 or older. With an estimated 10,000 people turning 65 each day, by 2030, an estimated 73 million — or one in five Americans — will be 65 or older, a full 20 percent of the population.

“Four short years later, in 2034, older adults are expected to outnumber children under 18 for the first time in history. The aging population is also becoming more diverse, with the proportion of non-white older adults significantly increasing in the next several decades,” it states. “Among this rapidly growing and increasingly diverse demographic cohort, there is an overwhelming desire to age at home rather than in institutional settings.”

What will that mean in the not-too-distant future? Homecare aide availability is currently "critically low nationwide," Fox said, and demand will only rise with those increasing numbers of older Americans.

"We’re fortunate to have the state 'Unmet Needs' funds to come up with creative solutions to address the aide shortage, but it’s not going to solve the overall problem of those who truly need in-home aides to help with personal care, toileting, etc.," she said in her report. "Our state and federal associations continue to advocate for better direct care worker funding and career packaging in order to hopefully entice individuals into this workforce."

Youth volunteers needed to help decorate trick-or-treat bags

By Press Release

Press release:

The Genesee County Youth Bureau and the Office for the Aging are coming together to help complete our Halloween Costume Kit project.

The Youth Bureau creates costume kits for youth in the community who may otherwise not be able to afford a Halloween Costume. These kits include two or three pieces that make up various popular Halloween Costumes such as a “princess” and a “fireman.” Along with the costume kit, there will be a trick-or-treat bag for each child.

This is where we need your help!

On Monday, Oct. 3 we are looking for youth volunteers from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at 2 Bank St., Batavia. During this time we want you to bring out your creative side to decorate these bags. A light dinner will be provided.

If you are interested in volunteering please contact the Youth Bureau at 585-344-3960 by Sept. 26.

Office for the Aging has more Farmers Market coupons available

By Press Release

Press release:

It’s Not Too Late! Genesee County Office for the Aging ordered more Farmers Market Coupons. They are available at: 2 Bank St., Batavia, NY 14020, Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm

Anyone 60 or older in your household can have a coupon booklet. You must still be income eligible.

For any questions, please call (585) 343-1611

** 2022 Income Guidelines **
Household of 1 = $ 2096/mo.
Household of 2 = $ 2823/mo.
Household of 3 = $ 3551/mo.

There is now a waiting list for Farmers Market Coupons from OFA

By Press Release

Press release:

There is now a waiting list for the Senior Farmers Market Coupons. 

Please call (585) 343-1611 to be placed on the list. 

You will be informed of the date & location of when we will hand them out. 

If you have mobility concerns, you may send another person on your behalf.  You must first sign a proxy form giving this person permission to do so. You must be on the list to receive a booklet.  First come, first served. 

Walk-ins at Office for the Aging will not be accepted.

Office for the Aging announces Farmers Market Coupons distribution schedule

By Press Release

Press release:

Office for the Aging has received the rest of the Farmers Market Coupons. 

The delay was caused by something beyond our control, and we thank everyone for being patient and understanding.

Starting today, Tuesday, the booklets will be available at our location, 2 Bank Street, Batavia from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Our staff will also be at The Goose in Oakfield, Wednesday, July 27 from 9 to 10 a.m., 400 Towers, Thursday, July 28 from 9 to 11 a.m., Washington Towers, Thursday, July 28 from 2 to 4 p.m., the Genesee Country Farmers Market on Friday, July 29 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the Le Roy Farmers Market on Saturday, July 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 pm.   

As a reminder, income-eligible seniors are allowed only one booklet per season.  The 2022 Income Guidelines:  Household of 1 -- $2,096/month, Household of 2 -- $2,823/month, Household of 3 -- $3,551/month.

Office for the Aging offers tips for dealing with hot weather

By Press Release

Press release:

With high temperatures, we want to be sure you understand possible dangers.  To protect oneself from heat-related stress and prevent heat-related problems, the CDC recommends the following tips:

  • Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages (If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him/her how much you should drink when the weather is hot.)
  • Rest.
  • Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
  • If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment.
  • Wear lightweight clothing.
  • If possible, remain indoors in the heat of the day.
  • Do not engage in strenuous activities.

Danger signs for Heat Exhaustion-call the doctor if any of these symptoms arise:

  • heavy sweating
  • paleness
  • muscle cramps
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • fainting
  • skin – cool & moist
  • pulse rate – fast & weak breathing – fast & shallow

Danger signs for Heat Stroke – needing immediate medical attention:

  • extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees F)
  • red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
  • rapid strong pulse
  • throbbing headache
  • dizziness and nausea

OFA Farmers Market Coupons delayed

By Press Release

Press release:

Genesee County Office for the Aging does not yet have the Farmers Market Coupons, due to a delay with the shipment.

At this time we will not be able to distribute coupons until after July 5.  We will post updates as we get them.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Office for the Aging to hand out Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Coupons

By Press Release

Press release:

Genesee County Office for the Aging will be handing out Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Coupons throughout the county, beginning July 1, 2022. 

The first location will be the Genesee Country Farmers Market, Alva Place, Batavia, every Friday in July from 10 a.m. to noon.

Next at the LeRoy Farmers Market, Trigon Park, LeRoy, Saturday, July 2, 23, and 30 during market hours.

We will also be handing them out at the Genesee County Office for the Aging, 2 Bank St., Batavia, every Tuesday in July from 10 a.m. to noon at our outside patio and in our Community Room if it is raining.

If you live in senior housing, a flyer will be posted in your building announcing when our staff will be there with coupons.

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