The Daily Star
---- — There are many people living in our communities who need long-term care services. They may be seniors or adults and children with disabilities. Every person’s situation may be unique, yet it is likely that they all could benefit from contacting their local NY Connects program. NY Connects is a state-funded program to establish a local consumer-center service to provide information and assistance to all individuals in need of long-term care services, regardless of age, income or payment source.
Long-term care refers to medical and non-medical support services needed to improve or maintain one’s health and/or daily function and to support continued participation in family and community life. Such services may be provided in individuals’ homes or other community-based and residential settings. Supportive services are also available to help caregivers cope with and understand their responsibilities.
Research confirms again and again that the vast majority of people who use long-term care services value their independence, desire to remain in their community, and have expectations of receiving quality care provided with respect. Long-term care services and supports can also help prevent or delay costly institutional placements and decrease growing Medicaid costs.
Consumers and family members looking for services can easily feel overwhelmed and confused. Many benefit from having someone listen to their concerns to help sort through issues and emotions. This is where the local NY Connects program can be very helpful in identifying the individual’s needs and situation, working with families and friends, forming a plan, and linking to providers. There is no cost to consumers.
In Delaware County, NY Connects has been working on identifying gaps in services and working in partnership with others to bridge the gaps and enhance existing services. This past year NY Connects assisted the Legacy Corps, a program providing volunteer companionship and caregiver respite, in opening Our Place in Walton, a Social Adult Day Center.
During the summer, NY Connects increased its public information outreach by joining forces with the Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance Program to provide information on Medicare, health insurance, fitness and nutrition, and distribution of farmers market coupons at 14 sites around Delaware County. NY Connects has continued to focus on the emotional and mental health needs of consumers in providing the third year of the Geriatric Mental Health Workshops.
You can reach Delaware County NY Connects Coordinator Drue Brenner at 746-6333 or email at email@example.com. For more information on NY Connects or to local a NY Connects program in your community., visit the state website at www.nyconnects.org
Wayne Shepard is director of the Delaware County Office for the Aging. ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/seniorscene.