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Office For The Aging

 


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EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE AND FOOD PANTRIES

 

Emergency assistance is an immediate, short-term response to an emergency resulting from financial crisis, family breakdown, eviction, or natural disaster.  It may include emergency shelter, provision of food or clothing, and assistance with energy bills.

Often, emergency assistance is accompanied by counseling, intervention, budgeting help, case management, and advocacy with agencies, which provide financial assistance. 

Not-for-profit and government agencies, religious organizations, unions, fraternal associations, and neighborhood associations are often sources of emergency assistance for the particular population groups with which they are affiliated or concerned.  Such efforts are often administered informally by volunteers.  They may include food, clothing, and small cash grants.  The 211 call center maintains information on these services.

Disaster relief is emergency assistance provided on a large scale to victims of such disasters as major fires, floods, hurricanes, or accidents involving passenger planes and trains.  One agency needs to assume responsibility for coordinating relief efforts.  The lead agency in Dutchess County is Department of Emergency Response 845-486-2080.

 

HOME REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE

In Dutchess County there are programs that can assist with home repairs and maintenance. Some home repair services are donated in their entirety; other services donate labor, but the homeowner must pay for materials. Sometimes the homeowner is asked to participate, if physically able.

 

 

Grants for home repair are available in certain municipalities.  Requests for more information about these programs can be made to Dutchess County Office for the Aging or by going to the related links:

 

 

 

 

LEGAL SERVICES

The Dutchess County Office For the Aging Legal Services for the Elderly provides legal advice to Dutchess County residents age 60 and over. There is no financial eligibility requirement for assistance through this program; however, it is intended for those senior citizens who would otherwise be unable to afford legal assistance.

The primary focus of legal services offered through Dutchess County Office For the Aging is generally on immediate threats to income, shelter, patients’ rights and health matters. Preparation of simple wills is also available. Prospective clients may make an appointment for this service by calling Dutchess County Office For the Aging, 845-486-2555 or toll free at 1-866-486-2555.

Nationally, attorneys who specialize in elder law can be found by contacting the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

 

OMBUDSMAN

Ombudsman: A Swedish term for a person who acts as an advocate, investigates complaints and helps achieve equitable settlements.

The purpose of the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program in Dutchess County is:

  • To educate and inform residents of nursing homes and adult facilities about their rights
  • To provide a means by which resident concerns can be handled confidentially
  • To work with staff in the facilities, when possible, to resolve problems and concerns

The Ombudsman is not a representative of any nursing home or adult home.  Neither is she/he a representative of the Department of Health or Department of Community & Family Services.  The Ombudsman is a community volunteer who advocates on behalf of all long term care residents.  Trained Ombudsman volunteers visit assigned facilities weekly and discuss with residents their concerns about issues such as resident rights, quality of care, quality of life.  If necessary, the Ombudsman may refer concerns to appropriate local or state agencies.


Visit the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program in Dutchess County website for more information or call 845-229-4680.

ICAN is the New York State Ombudsprogram for people with Medicaid long-term care services, assisting with enrolling in and using managed care plans that cover long-term care services, such as home attendant services or nursing home care.  ICAN counselors assist Medicaid long-term care recipients in navigating their coverage, understanding and exercising their rights and responsibilities, and solving problems with Medicaid long-term care services. They also can answer questions about Medicaid managed care plans, including MLTC, FIDA and “mainstream” Medicaid managed care plans that provide long-term care services.

 Visit the ICAN website for more information or call the office at 844-614-8800.

 

SELF-HELP AND SUPPORT GROUPS

Self-help and support groups are autonomous groups of individuals who share a common problem or concern.  Members of these groups meet voluntarily for mutual support.  Members share their experiences, strengths, and hopes, and rely on one another for assistance.

Self-help groups include professionally facilitated groups, structured 12-step with or without professional participation, and groups with no professional participation or specifically structured format.

Listings of self-help groups also may be found in local newspapers.

 

TAX ASSISTANCE

Tax-Aide Service

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) in cooperation with the IRS offers free nationwide income tax counseling for older people.  The Tax-Aide Service is available to older persons with low or moderate incomes.

From late January until April 14, volunteers are available, by appointment, to assist in the preparation of Federal and New York State income tax returns.  Tax-Aide sites are located throughout the county.  By calling 211 you can make an appointment or learn about where sites are located.

Property Tax Assistance

New York State Senior Citizens’ Exemptions are available for homeowners over the age of 65 who meet certain income requirements.  The exemption may be as high as 50% of county, city, town, village, or school property taxes.  Call your local assessor for more information to qualify and apply.

New York State Property Tax Exemption for Veterans is available to veterans or un-remarried surviving spouses of veterans.  It entitles an eligible person to receive up to a 25% exemption on NYS property taxes.  Call Veterans Services for more information to qualify and apply at (845) 486-2060.

STAR or New York State School Tax Relief Program provides school district property tax relief to all residential property owners and enhanced property tax relief to income eligible senior citizens age 65 or older.  The Enhanced STAR Exemption will provide an average school property tax reduction of at least 45% annually for seniors living in median-priced homes.  For more information:  https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star/default.htm

 

TELEPHONE REASSURANCE

Telephone reassurance systems, whether casual or formal, are a way for homebound individuals to stay in touch with the outside world, and for families to be reassured that their frail members are okay.

Some churches and other volunteer organizations have formal telephone reassurance programs.  If a client does not answer the call, or sounds ill, the volunteer will ask a neighbor, a relative, or the police to check on the person.

In Dutchess County, the Sheriff’s Office provides a computer-operated program which calls a subscriber daily at a pre-arranged hour. The Are You O. K. ? Program, is a safety program that targets vulnerable individuals who, in the event of illness, accidental injury, or crime, are in danger of being left unattended and unaided for a lengthy period of time.  The program is a reassurance service that allows anyone in Dutchess County who is elderly or disabled and living alone the certainty that they will be checked on each day.  “Are You O. K. ?” is a function of the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office and the Dutchess County Office For the Aging.  The “Are You O.K. ?” computer system, administered by the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, stores the emergency information in memory.  The computer calls the subscriber every day at the same time.  If the person fails to answer the call after fifteen minutes, the Sheriff’s Office then dispatches the designated person, as requested by the client, to check on the person’s condition.  Registration can be done through the Dutchess County Office For the Aging, 27 High St., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 (845-486-2555).  Click here for the application:

 www.co.dutchess.ny.us/CountyGov/Departments/Sheriff/ruokfif.pdf

 Telephone reassurance is also offered by some private businesses, sometimes as part of a care management package of services.

 

 

VETERAN SERVICES

The Dutchess County Office of Veteran Affairs and the New York State Division of Veteran Affairs staff members assist veterans and their families to understand and access benefits which may be available to them.  In addition, they provide referral and advocacy services as appropriate.  The staff can offer assistance and guidance to those seeking admission to such facilities as the New York State Veteran’s Home in Oxford, New York, the Veteran’s Domiciliary at Bath, New York, or the nursing facility at Castle Point Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, and the facility at Montrose.

The Department of Veterans Affairs may at their option keep a veteran at one of their nursing facilities for a period of time, usually not exceeding six months.  Subsequent to such care, the VA may pay for further placement at a contracted local nursing home.

More frequently, however, the veteran will be directly placed at one of the five nursing homes located in Dutchess County that are currently contracted with the VA.  The period of stay at contracted homes is typically three months, with a six month maximum.

Depending on the veteran’s infirmities and the availability of an appropriate bed, the VA may instead attempt to place the veteran at a facility that is not contracted for VA services.  In this event, Medicaid coverage may be needed immediately, rather than three to twelve months after nursing care is first deemed appropriate.  Therefore, it is imperative that family members of veterans who require nursing home care contact a Veterans Counselor at the 85 Civic Center Plaza office (Suite 105) at their earliest convenience.

The office also assists families of veterans and their widows to obtain financial assistance from the Department of Veteran Affairs for those whose care at home is provided by a licensed or registered nurse, a certified home health aide, or a certified personal care aide.  This can be of particular help to those veterans or their widows who are ineligible for Medicaid and have been paying privately for this service.

Nursing home and home health care benefits are available only to veterans of a wartime period and their widows.

 

VOLUNTEER SERVICES

Volunteers for Dutchess County Office For the Aging provide an increasingly varied range of services for older adults.  These services include individual counseling on health insurance and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan choices, meal delivery to the homebound elderly, program assistance at Office For the Aging Friendship Centers, leadership of Brain Games and Senior Exercise Program, as well as staffing the Senior Citizen I.D./Discount Card Program.

Other community agencies train and coordinate volunteers in the provision of such services as friendly visiting, shopping, errands, advocacy, medical transportation, respite care, and Hospice care.

Hospitals depend heavily on volunteers, who assist with reception, run the gift shop, administer lending libraries, feed patients who cannot feed themselves, deliver patients to radiology or other diagnostic areas, and provide socialization and reassurance where needed.

Volunteer groups, such as Boy and Girl Scouts, church choirs, and clubs provide music, art, socialization, and recreational activities to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and in day care centers.

Many fraternal organizations and church groups raise money which is used to provide small grants for household equipment and repairs or adaptations for people with health impairments.

Even the homebound or otherwise very frail can make phone calls or stuff envelopes for a not-for-profit agency.  Many otherwise lonely elderly benefit greatly from opportunities to be friendly visitors, Foster Grandparents, or mentors serving in schools or businesses.

 

To learn more about the volunteer opportunities available at the Office For the Aging, email bjones@dutchessny.gov or call (845) 486-2555. 

 

The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) can also help seniors age 55+ find a volunteer opportunity in the community.  You can contact RSVP at 452-5104 x109.

 

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Todd N. Tancredi,Director Todd N. Tancredi
Director
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