By Nancy Dingee
The Daily Star
---- — Schoharie County Office for the Aging’s mission is to assist and advocate for county residents ages 60 and older and their caregivers through programs and services designed to promote health, safety, dignity, independence and community involvement. The office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Although we can see you if you just drop by, it is best to make an appointment so that the individual with the expertise you need is available.
Almost all of our programs are designed for individuals older than 60 and many are for those with lower incomes. But, there are some programs that have eligibility requirements that are not-income based and some that can assist those who are not yet 60.
For example, the Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance Program is not income-based but requires you have Medicare. Our Caregiver Respite program will assist a younger individual caring for a senior and has no income guidelines. If you think any of the following programs could help, please call us to find out more and make an appointment to see our friendly staff.
Home Delivered Meals: Meals provided to homebound eligible clients, three to five times per week.
Congregate Meals: Offered at noon, Monday through Friday, in three different locations in the county.
Nutrition Consultation: A registered dietitian will meet with you individually to discuss your particular dietary needs and concerns.
HIICAP: Health Insurance Information Counseling and Assistance Program helps with Medicare forms, health bills and other health insurance questions.
EPIC: The Elderly Prescription Insurance Coverage offers assistance to New York residents 65 and older with prescription costs.
Legal Aid: Assistance and referral for legal advice and/or representation for concerns that are non-fee generating.
HEAP: Home Energy Assistance Program assists seniors with applications for heating assistance to supplement their fuel costs. This program has income guidelines.
Health Promotion: These services are provided to help promote good health and well-being through evidence-based activities, information, classes, screenings and clinics.
Recreation and Education: These are activities and programs designed to promote socialization and physical, mental and emotional health.
NY Connects: Information and referral for long-term care services. The program is supported by an active community council who meet bimonthly to address service provision, look at ways to make systems work together easier and to keep current with the ever changing healthcare landscape as it relates to long term care.
Transportation: Medical transportation is available to those seniors who do not receive Medicaid by a core of volunteer drivers. Half-off public bus transportation tokens are also available to seniors at our office.
Ombudsman Program: This program advocates to protect the dignity, independence and quality of life for those seniors who live in long-term care facilities, family-type adult homes or nursing homes.
Caregiver Services: Information, assistance, respite and support groups for those giving care.
EISEP: Expanded In-home Services for the Elderly offers case management and in home care including personal and housekeeping chores. This program could be free or low-cost, depending on your income.
Defensive Driving: Monthly classes are offered to those 50 and older. Completion of the course can reduce your car insurance premiums.
Case Management: Assistance is provided to help coordinate access to appropriate services and benefits.
AARP Tax Aide: Free income tax preparation completed by certified volunteers by appointment.
Medical Equipment Loan Closet: Walker, wheelchair, canes and commodes and more are available at no charge to all ages.
Hearing Device Loan Closet: Hearing devices through the Lions Club that can be loaned out to those considering buying such devices.
Volunteer Opportunities: There are numerous ways to volunteer — transporting someone to a doctors visit, phoning or visiting a home bound senior, becoming an Ombudsman, preparing tax returns and assisting in the office are just a few. Becoming a volunteer will not only enrich your life, but will improve the lives of others.
Our dedicated staff is here to assist you; we welcome an opportunity to speak to you about our programs and answer any questions you may have. We have an information resource library and are willing to help with applications and referrals to other county programs and services. We are located at 113 Park Place, Suite 3, in Schoharie. Our number is (518) 295-2001.
Nancy Dingee is director of the Schoharie County Office for the Aging. ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/seniorscene.