Local Matters

Community Sponsors

Office of the Aging

April 19, 2019 - 3:06pm

Submitted photos and press release:

In celebration of Spring, beautiful bouquets of flowers were hand delivered on Wednesday (April 17) to more than 90 Meals on Wheels recipients. This delightful surprise brought smiles all across Genesee County -- and even some tears of joy.

The Genesee County Office for the Aging and the RSVP Volunteer Placement Program were pleased to partner with the Kohl’s Batavia store for Kohl’s Cares Associates in Action.

Five local employees volunteered their morning to help bring joy to area older adults. Additionally, Kohl’s Corporation will make a monetary donation to the Genesee Senior Foundation to further support programming for residents 60 and older and their caregivers.

The special delivery of posies was made possible through the generosity of a private donation, specifically to benefit the lives of those receiving Meals on Wheels.

The Program offers a nutritionally balanced, hot meal at lunchtime, five days per week. The meals are delivered by dedicated RSVP volunteers and Office for the Aging staff. Each person receives social interaction and a safety check with each delivery as well as ongoing case management, an important piece of the program, which supports their health and independence in the community.

Anyone interested in helping with these efforts by way of a donation is encouraged to do so through the Genesee Senior Foundation, a nonprofit affiliated with the Office for the Aging. Please call Dorian Ely, services coordinator, at (585) 343-1611 to learn more about charitable donations to the Foundation.

The Office for the Aging wishes to thank everyone involved in making this day special, including staff and volunteers from Kohl’s, OFA, RSVP and the ARC Culinary Program.

October 2, 2018 - 12:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Office of the Aging, news.

The staff and volunteers at the Office of the Aging continue to keep busy, Director Ruth Spink told members of the Human Services Committee on Monday and one thing that keeps them busy is helping clients navigate an increasingly complex health care system.

The rules and regulations around Medicare, the primary insurer of many people over age 65, change annually and often clients are unsure if a recent doctor's visit or new medication is covered and Spink and her staff help clients navigate that system, she said.

Other challenges facing the office include finding enough volunteers to drive clients to and from medical appointments, particularly those seeing physicians in Rochester and Buffalo.

"We desperately need more volunteer medical transporation drivers," Spink said.

An anticipated challenge for the office is the demographic changes in Genesee County. An aging population is going to mean Spink's office is providing more services to more people, which will put a strain on the county budget, and there will be an increased need for facilities and personnel to care for older retirees.

There remains a shortage of housing for upper-middle-income retirees in Genesee County.

Spink said there are a couple of developers considering local projects but neither has made a commitment yet. They might be hesitant, despite market studies recognizing the need, that the market will support the rental rates needed to make such a project profitable.

"They've started the process but they haven't gone as far as I thought they would go," Spink said. "I think if it were successful for those two, then maybe word gets out and they (other developers) will see that the demand is there and they'll find it is cost effective."

There continues to be a shortage of in-home care professionals as well as care providers for nursing homes, Spink said.

Spink also worries about the elderly who keep themselves isolated. When people are isolated, they have more health problems and it's hard to keep them connected to the community.

"We’re still trying to make connections to let them know we’re there for them and that we care for them and that we will help as much as we can," Spink said. "Sometimes it is something as simple as sending little notes to them."

August 3, 2018 - 6:49pm

img_1959walker.jpg

As the YMCA and UMMC have developed their plans for a new Healthy Living Center at Main and Bank streets they've found they could have available as much as 7,000 square feet to accommodate new space for the Genesee County Senior Center and the Office of the Aging.

County staff, led by County Manager Jay Gsell are working with the Y and UMMC on determining if such a merger of operations would be feasible.

Rob Walker (top photo), director of the Genesee Area YMCA in Batavia, and Dan Ireland, CEO of UMMC, brought the plan to members of the Legislature during the Human Services Committee meeting on Monday as part of a review of the progress on the Healthy Living Center plans.

"What we want to do is have a meaningful discussion with Jay and the team about what option does that present," Walker said. "How can that space be filled? How can it integrate with the community living area?"

The facility will be 85,000 square feet and contain community space, exercise space, a pool, a gym, meeting rooms and an interior walking/running track.

There will also be what Walker and Ireland called a "community living room" in the middle of the building with access from Main Street that will be open to all members of the community, without requiring a Y membership or the services of UMMC. The community living room will be a hub to access services at the facility or just meet with other community members.

The UMMC portion of the building will provide primary care, Ireland said, as well as a residency teaching program, behavioral health and crisis intervention, telemedicine, cancer prevention outreach services such as breast and colon cancer screenings, diabetes, cardiac conditions, dietary education, education services for team members and community.

The goal, Ireland said, is to increase the integration of services across the spectrum of needs for community members, and partnering with the Office of the Aging will help enhance that integration.

"A fully integrated network doesn’t just mean us getting other doctors or other specialists," Ireland said. "It means integrating services within the community. It’s integration with the YMCA and sharing resources and services to touch the community. It means integrating with the Senior Center and the Office of Aging."

Construction on the new YMCA portion should begin in 2019 and once the new Y portion of the building is open, the existing Y can be torn down and the UMMC portion of the building can be added.

If the county decides to integrate its senior, and perhaps its youth, programs, with the Healthy Living Center, it would be up to the county to decide what to do with the existing Senior Center building on Bank Street. Walker acknowledged it is a county asset.

Walker addressed the future of the building while answering questions about access to the new building for seniors using county services.

"Does the current building need to exist?" Walker said. "If it does, it does. But if it doesn't, that helps the flow of access."

The legislature is not being asked to take any action at this time and members were comfortable with letting Gsell and staff continue the discussions.

June 29, 2018 - 7:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in kohl's, Meals on Wheels, Office of the Aging, Seniors, charity.

Above photo of Kohl's volunteers who helped deliver flowers to seniors in Genesee County, from left: Dar Moleski, Corde Smart and Andrea Osewalt-Renz. Not pictured: Jeffrey DeMare.

Press release and submitted photos:

Beautiful bouquets of flowers were hand delivered to more than 80 Meals on Wheels recipients this week, creating a wave of surprise and an abundance of smiles across Genesee County. An individual called to express her gratitude, saying the gesture had made her week.

The Office for the Aging and the RSVP Volunteer Placement Program are pleased to have partnered with the Kohl’s Batavia store for Kohl’s Cares Associates in Action. 

Five local employees volunteered their morning to help bring joy to area older adults. Additionally, Kohl’s Corporation will make a monetary donation to the Genesee Senior Foundation to further support programming for residents 60 and older, their caregivers and younger individuals with disabilities.

The special flower delivery was made possible through the generosity of a private donation, specifically to benefit the lives of our more homebound residents. Anyone interested in donating is encouraged to do so through the Genesee Senior Foundation, a nonprofit affiliated with the Office for the Aging.

Please call Dorian Ely, Services Coordinator at 343-1611 to learn more about charitable donations to the Foundation.

The Office for the Aging wishes to thank everyone involved in making this day special, including staff and volunteers from Kohl’s, OFA, RSVP and the ARC Culinary Program.

Photo below is Doreen Wright, the woman who coordinated the flower-delivery effort between Kohl’s and the Office for the Aging.

April 26, 2018 - 3:01pm

Press release:

A dinner dance with music of the '40s, '50s, '60s, and a little bit of country, organized with Genesee County residents age 55 years and older in mind is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, May 31, at the Ascension Parish Center, 17 Sumner St., Batavia.

Presale tickets for the "Always on My Mind Dinner Dance" are $15 and available for purchase at the Senior Center, 2 Bank St., Batavia, through May 18 or until sold outTickets will not be available at the door.

Doors open at 4:30 p.m.; dinner service will begin at 5:30 p.m.; dancing and music start about 6:30.

The dinner menu is: black angus top round beef with mushroom sauce; roasted chicken breast with cornbread stuffing; rosemary roasted red potatoes, vegetable, green garden salad, fresh rolls and butter, beverages, crumb-topped (French) apple pie.

Ruth Spink, director at the Genesee County Office for the Aging, noted that, “As I was growing up, my folks would go out to dinner and dancing on a regular basis. Whether it was through church or my dad’s horse clubs, they’d be out on the dance floor every chance they got.

"When I was old enough and even beyond college, I’d join them. Restaurants all over the area had dance floors and bands playing. Sadly, those days are pretty well gone. Often, the only chance you get to have a meal and enjoy some good music and dancing is if you go to a wedding.

"We want to give people a chance to hear music of their era and feel those memories come rushing back.”

She also went on to say that, “This will be a fun evening whether you dance or not, have a date, come alone, or come with friends.”

Catering will be provided by Fred Hamilton; Chris Kalen will "spin the tunes"; and the Senior Center Quilters will be selling tickets for a chance to win a handmade patriotic quilt; and there will also be a basket raffle.

Further information is available by calling the Senior Center at 343-1611.

Below is a request for the DJ in advance -- The Chords' "Sh-Boom" from 1954. 

April 10, 2018 - 9:55am
posted by Virginia Kropf in Office of the Aging, news, volunteers.

ofatransportationprogram001.jpg

The Genesee County Office for the Aging’s RSVP program observed National Service Recognition Day April 3 by highlighting its Medical Transportation service. From left, Courtney Iburi, RSVP Volunteer Placement coordinator; Maureen Estabrooks, specialist, Aging Services; and County Manager Jay Gsell are shown with Medical Transportation volunteer driver Linda Smith. In the passenger’s seat is John Dempski, former Genesee County Nursing Home administrator, who volunteers with the OFA’s tax program.

 

The sixth annual National Service Recognition Day was observed April 3, and this year the Genesee County Office for the Aging chose to highlight its RSVP volunteers and the Medical Transportation program.

RSVP is in its 32nd year with 300 active volunteers age 55 and older who serve 25 partner agencies in Genesee County, said RSVP coordinator Courtney Iburi.

“I try to connect seniors with volunteer opportunities in the community, based on their skills and meeting the needs of our partner agencies,” Iburi said.

The Medical Transportation program is a vital service which is made possible through the dedication of a core group of volunteers, Iburi said.

The Office for the Aging Transportation Coordination program, which includes medical transportation, is funded by the Rochester Community Foundation’s Muriel H. Marshall Fund for the Aging in Genesee County, in addition to county funds.

The Marshall Fund was created by Batavia native Roxanne Marshall who left $7 million 20 years ago for programs to enhance the quality of life for seniors in Genesee County.

“Many other areas are envious of us,” said County Manager Jay Gsell, who also volunteers as an RSVP driver when needed.

Since its inception, RSVP volunteers have provided more than 1.2 million hours of service, valued at $21.9 million. Last year, RSVP volunteers provided more than 35,000 hours of service, valued at almost $850,000.

“Without this organization, our county wouldn’t have the ability to do what we do,” Gsell said.

Linda Smith decided to become a volunteer driver in the Medical Transportation program after she retired three years ago as a guidance counselor with Social Services.         

“I enjoy meeting people and I enjoy driving,” Smith said. “I’m not afraid to drive in the city.”

Maureen Estabrooks, specialist/aging services at the OFA, said they have clients who drive but aren’t comfortable driving in the city.

“It’s been a very rewarding experience,” Smith said. “Especially when clients request me. You see the results of your volunteering immediately.”

In spite of the success of the RSVP program, volunteers are always needed, especially drivers for the Meals on Wheels and Medical Transportation programs. Not only does Gsell volunteer occasionally, but Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. also volunteers one day a week for Meals on Wheels.

“RSVP’s contribution to our county is significant,” Gsell said. “It’s well run and organized. If you don’t have programs like this, people will suffer.”

He said the senior population has been growing significantly in Genesee County, with 21 percent of the population being 60 or older.

Iburi said in a community the size of Genesee County, people don’t have the opportunity to go from bus to bus and must rely on volunteers, such as RSVP.

RSVP is funded by the federal, state and required county matching funds and private funding, while the Medical Transportation program is funded by similar sources, in addition to State Transportation Services funds, which provides mileage reimbursement to volunteer drivers.

Any senior wishing to volunteer for any RSVP-funded program, especially medical transportation, should contact Iburi at 343-1611.

October 20, 2016 - 1:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in Office of the Aging, news, dementia, Project Lifesaver.

Press release:

Project Lifesaver has given parents of autistic children in Genesee County peace of mind, now local caregivers of older adults with cognitive impairments may also benefit.

Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Genesee Senior Foundation Inc. and the Genesee County Office for the Aging are partnering in this project to save lives.

Citizens enrolled in Project Lifesaver wear a small personal transmitter around the wrist or ankle that emits an individualized tracking signal. If an enrolled client goes missing, the caregiver notifies the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office immediately, and a trained emergency team responds to the wanderer’s area. Most who wander are found within a few miles from home, and search times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes. Recovery times for Project Lifesaver clients average 30 minutes — 95-percent less time than standard operations.

Ruth Spink, director of the Office for the Aging, notes that, “For individuals with dementia, wandering can become a behavior at any time. Don’t wait for it to happen, be proactive and protect your loved one.”

Caregivers who are caring for a loved one at home in Genesee County and are interested in participating in Project Lifesaver, may call the Office for the Aging at 585-343-1611.

Each unit costs $250 with annual expenses of about $50 for batteries, etc. The Genesee Senior Foundation which is affiliated with the Office for the Aging is accepting donations for Project Lifesaver.

Spink said, “We very much hope that some folks will be moved to make a contribution. Any amount will help to underwrite the cost of a unit for families who are not in a position to pick up these costs. We would hate to see the expense be a roadblock to keeping someone safe in our community.”

Donations may sent to the Genesee Senior Foundation, 2 Bank St., Batavia, New York 14020, with notation “Project Lifesaver.”

Spink added, “We also want to remind folks of our Caregivers Program which offers long-term care services, support, and options counseling. In addition to that foundational program, we are in the first year of a five year New York State Health Department regional grant project, Western New York Alzheimer’s Caregiver Partnership.

"With that grant, we are now even better equipped to serve caregivers through additional resources offering consultation, respite services, transportation, education, joint enrichment activities, and support groups. No one should be expected to go through this challenging disease alone. We encourage people to call our office. We’re here to help.”

April 7, 2016 - 11:19am
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, Office of the Aging.

Press release:

The Genesee County Office for the Aging in partnership with the Batavia United Methodist Church will be hosting, “Quality Living: A Plan for the Road Ahead.”

This program is a six-week educational series focusing on helping caregivers, older adults and professionals, but is appropriate for any adult.

Jill Yasses, caregiver counselor at Office for the Aging noted that, “We have seen an increase in the number of caregivers seeking assistance for their loved ones.  In response to this need, we have put together this series to provide critical information.” 

When asked about the April 12th keynote speaker from the Laugh Academy, Yasses said, “We understand how stressful aging and caregiving can be and would like to help people find constructive ways to manage their stress. So, we are very excited to kick off the series with a ‘Laughter Therapist.’  We hope community members will take advantage of this great opportunity and join us Tuesday evenings in April and May for good food, great information, book signings, door prizes and laughter.”

The programs will take place at the Batavia First United Methodist Church, 8221 Lewiston Road, Batavia. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., a light supper will be served at 6 p.m., and the program will start promptly at 6:15 p.m. and end at approximately 8 p.m. The programs are as follows:

  • Tuesday, April 12th: Stress Less, Laugh More

Keynote Speaker: Nancy Weil, The Laugh Academy

Topics: Stress reduction and  importance of laughter;  RSVP – Benefits of Volunteering

  • Tuesday, April 26th: Legal Planning

    Topics: Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or Disadvantaged of WNY – Community & Nursing Home Medicaid, Pooled Trusts, Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy

  • Tuesday, May 3rd:  Organizing, Downsizing and Housing

Keynote speaker: Jennifer Ford Berry, Life’s Organization Expert & Best-selling Author

Topics: Organization, downsizing and housing options in Genesee County

  • Tuesday, May 10th: Protecting the Ones We Love

Topics: Safety at home presented by Alzheimer's Association WNY Chapter and Lifespan

  • Tuesday, May 17th: Driver Safety

Topics: AARP – Driver safety and transportation options in Genesee County

  • Tuesday, May 24th: Funeral Pre-Planning

Topics: Funeral Pre-planning presented by NYS Funeral Directors Association

These are free programs but seating is limited. Please call the Genesee County Office for the Aging/NY Connects at 585-343-1611 to reserve your seat and/or for more information. Please call at least five days prior to the date of the program you wish to attend.

For individuals with disabilities or language interpretation needs, requests for reasonable accommodations should be made with at least five days’ notice.

These programs are being sponsored by Sponsored by: Falcone Family Funeral & Cremation Service, Inc.; J. Leonard McAndrew Funeral Home, LLC; H.E. Turner & Co., Inc.; Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel; and RSVP of Genesee County Volunteer Placement Program.

This program is also funded through grants from the NYS Office for the Aging, NY Connects, the Older Americans Act, and the generous support of the Genesee County Legislature.

Special thanks to: Batavia First United Methodist Church and Older Adult Ministry, Genesee Senior Foundation, Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or Disadvantaged of WNY, the Alzheimer’s Association -- WNY Chapter, Lifespan of Rochester, AARP, NYS Funeral Directors Association and Muriel H. Marshall Fund Grantees.

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