We Are Here For You
The Department of Aging and Youth has been up and running throughout this whole COVID-19 Pandemic. We did try to have all of our staff work from home for a brief time but quickly realized that we just couldn't operate effectively without at least SOME of our staff in the office. So a few of our staff came back to answer live phone calls, handle the mail, and function as a resource for all of our other dedicated staff who were working from home completing assessments, providing case management services, discussing your long-term care concerns, and options, and providing insurance counseling.
Most of you just hunkered down and made due. We heard very heart-warming stories of neighbors checking in on people and family members really stepping up to care for our area seniors. Although we were still up and running, we didn't get nearly the calls that we were used to receiving. We are certain this is not because people don't need our services, so do know that we are all fully back in the office providing ALL of the services you are used to us providing.
Some of the services may look a little different than usual for right now. Our Lunch Club 60 sites are take-out only rather than dine-in, but there are activities planned that you will still be able to participate in. One of the first ones you are likely to see is a walking challenge. Now that the weather is beautiful, we would love to see you all out walking. We also have plans for a photo contest/scavenger hunt. As information is available, we will send fliers and sign-up sheets to our five Lunch Club sites. Even if you are not a regular member, this might be a good time to try us out.
Our Home Delivered Meals program has continued through this whole time delivering meals to area Seniors Monday Through Friday. We are committed to getting people started as quickly as possible and not maintaining a waitlist for people to receive Home Delivered Meals. Our state office is allowing us, for now, to complete all assessments over the phone rather than a home visit, so if you are worried about us having to come into your home to complete all the paperwork, do not let that be a barrier.
Our Case Management and Aide Service programs have also continued throughout this whole time. Case Managers are staying in contact and completing assessments over the phone for now, but have been making deliveries of needed supplies. There might be a brief wait for case management services as we limit the number of seniors our case managers work with at once to ensure that they are able to do their jobs effectively and attend to all the needs their seniors have.
NY Connects has also been up and running through this whole situation, providing you with information and referrals relating to long-term care services and supports. We can take requests for information over the phone, through email, or Facebook, or we can meet with people now in the office if you would prefer. Most of the time we will discuss your situation with you over the phone and mail you information to look over.
Medicare Insurance Counseling is also up and running at full speed. We continue to have monthly Medicare 101 classes. The next classes are scheduled for July 9th at 10 am, August 11 at 2 pm, September 9 at 10 am. We are offering this class both online via Zoom and also in person. We have limited seating for the in-person option due to current social distancing requirements, but it is an option that is available for those of you turning 65 or retiring.
We can take referrals for med-alert units and for Legal Services. Our driver is available for medical appointments or to get you to the grocery and pharmacy (or now even the hairdresser!). Our dietician is available for nutrition counseling for those of you who may have some nutritional concerns. If you are a caregiver and need some help and guidance, we can help to talk you through your concerns and link you with resources for support.
If your needs do not fall into any of the above categories, give us a call anyway, because we might be able to help you. There are quite a few resources being made available in our community, particularly regarding food, that we are happy to help with. Remember, We are here for you. Let us know what you need.
Amy Haskins, Director
New Director Amy Haskins
I just want to take a minute to say hi and tell you a little about myself. I am the new Director of Aging and Youth (officially as of March 17, 2020). I was born and raised in Wayne County, moved away during college, but returned with my family about 10 years ago. I feel blessed to have grown up, and now to see my children grow up, in a small-town community. I am also blessed to see my children get to know my parents and my grandmother.
I joined Aging and Youth in 2011 as a Medicare Insurance Counselor. In 2015, I became the Coordinator of Aging Services and now I get to try to follow in Penny's footsteps as Director. I have not just spent my career working with seniors, however. I actually started my career working with youth - juveniles actually. I have worked in lock-up programs, child protective services and foster care, diversion. I have also had experience with conducting and developing trainings, writing grants and completing research projects, contract management, and administration, and spent some time working in the adult mental health field. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Criminology and Sociology and a Master's Degree in Justice Policy and Management.
I look forward to serving the Youth and Seniors and their families and leading our team of dedicated staff members.
Thanks and Farewell.
Retired Director Penny Shockley-Bloomer (Spring 2020)
By the time you are reading this Spring issue of the Three Score, I will have formally passed the torch and joined the ranks of the retired. Now it's my time to try to understand the complexities of Medicare, supplemental insurance plans, prescription options, and Enhanced STAR tax relief. I just don't know where the last 20 years went but I am thoroughly happy to enter a new chapter of not getting up at 6 am, not driving through whiteouts, endless meetings, a lot of decisions, and not sleeping through the night.
However, I can't possibly express how proud I am for how this office has evolved to be a very well-respected agency providing critical services for both aging and youth. Since I was hired in 2000, most of our core services have quadrupled in numbers, and with what "they" call the gray tsunami that wave will continue to grow. In my last few months after I made my decision to retire, I've been reflecting a lot about what makes a department or business not only survive but also thrive.
First, is to offer a quality service that is needed, which we do. We provide services and resources to help improve the quality of life for people both young and old. It has been a great pleasure to provide services that are not only needed, but are requested, valued, and really make a profound difference in living independently.
Second, necessary to help a business thrive are staff who enjoy their work. To enjoy your work requires three important elements. You need to believe in what you do, have the resources available to conduct your business, and have a supportive environment to work in. The staff at the Department of Aging and Youth has a vast amount of experience. They are motivated to do a good job. It is not just a job to them, it is a mission and they are proud of the services that we provide. We all enjoy seeing and feeling the rewards of the quality of people's lives being improved and supported through all phases of life. I personally want to thank each and every one of them for all their hard work and effort over my tenure as director.
Third, physically we have a great working environment. However, it takes more than bricks and mortar to create a healthy and supportive office environment. It takes teamwork, trust, communication, and emotional support. We have it in spades.
Fourth, is a great relationship with community partners,-collaboration is a great way to maximize success. If you have other agencies working toward the same goal, sharing resources and enthusiasm, positive results are bound to happen.
Fifth, is the support of our County leaders to support and endorse what we do. There is no way town supervisors, with such busy jobs, can possibly know all the details and the ins and outs of what we do. The only way we can actually realize success is to recognize what is needed, making a plan how to get there, thinking out of the box, if necessary, and the support and faith of good leaders to make a dream a reality. We have done that time and time again at the Department of Aging and Youth. Thank you to the supervisors, the county administration, and the county administrator (my boss) Rick House I have had the pleasure of working with.
Sixth, last but not least, are having the fiscal resources necessary to complete the task at hand. We have the resources available through Federal, State and County funding resources to help provide the services. All three of these government entities recognize and support the value of both aging and youth residents staying safely in their homes as long as possible. The Department of Aging and Youth is so fortunate to have all the above elements.
I am very pleased to report that our Coordinator of Aging Services, Amy Haskins has been hired as the next Director of Aging and Youth. I am certain Amy will do everything possible to make a smooth transition for the future of our agency. I feel very confident with the staff we currently have at the helm under Amy's leadership these quality of services will continue to thrive! Amy has worked in multiple aging positions at the department since she was hired in 2011. She has accumulated a wealth of knowledge of ours and other agencies services, is a great collaborator with our community partners, as well as being well respected by her staff. Amy also provides a unique skill set in that she has vast experience in both the aging and youth services. I have found that most workers have a strong leaning towards one discipline or the other. We are fortunate that Amy has both!!
Anyway, sorry for being long-winded but this is my last hurrah to thank you all for everything. In addition, thanks for a phenomenal send-off party that the staff hosted, including community partners, county and state representatives, other county directors, friends, and family. The recognition from all was very touching and meant the world to me. THANKS!!
PS. Please put me on the Three Score mailing list. It will be wonderful to be a reader instead of a writer!