ALBANY — The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) released a comprehensive 2021 Annual Report detailing the work of aging service providers who delivered vital services to over 1.3 million older adults and their families in 2021.
The report offers a definitive analysis on the landscape of aging in New York State, including data on economic and demographic trends, the prevalence of chronic conditions, growth in long term care needs, and more.
“This comprehensive report provides a blueprint for what we do and why we do it,” NYSOFA Director Greg Olsen said in a press release.
“Older adults with the most serious chronic conditions or functional limitations have needs that are all fundamentally served by core Office for Aging and network programs, including nutrition, personal care, transportation, and chronic disease self-management. But this network also serves a much wider population and purpose, providing supports that help older New Yorkers to thrive, manage their independence, and avoid situations that could put them at risk of worsening chronic care needs, as outlined in the report.”
NYSOFA partners with 59 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and almost 1,200 community-based partners.
Collectively, these organizations provide a wide array of programs and supports that help older New Yorkers stay healthy, access services, prevent and mitigate elder abuse, stay engaged in their communities, understand and apply for benefits, and maintain their autonomy as they age.
“I think we’re fortunate in New York State that we have leadership at the State Office for the Aging that is really supportive of what we do,” Darleen Collins, director of the Clinton County Office for the Aging, said.
“And they’ve been able to bring us programming that they’ve done statewide in additional to what we’re doing locally. It’s all in an effort to help people age safely at home.”
The rise in needs for services in Clinton County is a combination of the impact of the pandemic as well as a growing number of older adults.
“We’re serving more people because there are more people to serve,” Collins said.
“I think aware raising awareness of these programs is a good thing. We served almost 5,000 people last year. That’s a big number. These are population-wise smaller counties. We definitely do what we can to help people age in place safely and live happier, healthier lives.”
“In Essex County, we’ve definitely seen an increase need for services including home-delivered meals, in home support with home health aides for personal care, and just daily living skills,” Krissy Leerkes, director of the Essex County Office for the Aging, said.
“We’ve seen an increase also in individuals that are looking for a personal emergency response system, which a lot of people know of it as Lifeline. We’re glad to see these services being increased because it shows us that our services are allowing older adults to age in place rather than move on to the next level of care.”
“We’re definitely seeing an increase in services as a result of the pandemic,” Michelle Breen, director of the Franklin County Office for the Aging, said.
“I’m sure Krissy and Darleen said the same thing. It’s a great group that we work with as a team. It’s a fantastic group in partnership with NYSOFA and the other area Offices for Aging that we work with to serve our older adults throughout the county.”
According to NYSOFA’s Annual Report, older adults and their families received the following network services through AAAs and community partners in 2021: ¯ 63,825 older New Yorkers received registered dietician (RD)-certified home-delivered meals.
¯ 196,547 older New Yorkers received RD-certified meals in a congregate setting.
¯ 69,561 older New Yorkers had case managers help them maintain their independence and navigate various health and social service systems.
¯ 13,087 older New Yorkers received personal care services in their homes.
¯ 108,044 older adults received transportation services to medical appointments, pharmacies, and other community outlets.
¯ 10,823 received legal assistance.
¯ 88,921 received nutrition counseling and education.
¯ 293,633 received information and assistance.
¯ 109,144 received health promotion/prevention.
¯ 248,000 received Medicare plan and prescription counseling and assistance.
¯ 13,109 received support services and respite that make it possible for caregivers to continue caring for a frail loved one.
600 received services through the Social Adult Day Services (SADS) programs directly funded by NYSOFA.
Approximately 2,600 victims of elder abuse had their cases referred to an Enhanced Multidisciplinary Team (E-MDT) coordinator. E-MDTs bring together professionals from various disciplines within each county whose primary focus is to intervene and prevent abuse of older adults, with a focus on complex cases.
More than 250,000 contacts were made to NY Connects, a trusted resource for free, objective information about long term services and supports in New York State for people of all ages or with any type of disability. Also, the NY Connects Resource Directory received 1.5 million page hits.
For more information about NY Connects, or to access other local supports, visit https://www.nyconnects.ny.gov/ or call 1-800-342-9871.To read the complete 2021 Annual Report, got to: www.aging.ny.gov.