SSSF's Aging in Place Initiatives

Steuben Senior Services Fund, Inc. | Community Garden

Aging in Place is an initiative that seeks to promote “livable” communities for all ages including our older community members. Recent AARP surveys have shown that the vast majority—over 85%— of all seniors want to age in place, to grow old as vital members of their communities living in their own homes. In 2009, SSSF began to pursue grants and donations for enhancing its mission of building resources for successful Aging in Place.

Steuben County Office for the Aging (OFA) received a special grant from the NY State Office for the Aging for a Community Empowerment Planning Project. The purpose of the project was to assess the elder-friendly status of our county. OFA partnered with SSSF to survey senior citizens and their families to determine the services that are and will be needed to promote the livability of the communities in our county. Click on the link below for a complete look at the survey:

Feasibility Study of Services Needed for Aging in Place in Steuben County

In the spring of 2009, SSSF began the Pulteney Aging in Place Project. A grant from the Community Foundation of Corning-Elmira and the Finger Lakes; Keuka Area Fund enabled the study of seniors and their needs for successful aging in place in the Town of Pulteney. Upon completion of that study, grants from the Keuka Area Fund and the Southern Finger Lakes Fund of the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central NY were received to address the following identified needs:

  1. Entertainment Trips
  2. Transportation
  3. Transportation to Medical Services
  4. Shopping (groceries)
  5. General Handyman
  6. Special Services (plumbing, electrician, etc.)
  7. Health Assistance Services
  8. Delivered Meals
  9. Home Health Care/Personal Care Aide
  10. Lifeline (medical alert services)

What followed was an implementation project that has brought services to this underserved, rural area of the county. A new senior dinner club was started, a quarterly newsletter, the Pulteney Grapevine was begun, and, among other services, transportation is being provided and meals are being delivered to the homebound of the township. For more information about these projects, click on the links below:

Pulteney Feasibility Study – Final Report

Pulteney Final Report

Currently a new Aging in place study is under way to access the current needs of aging individuals within the Pulteney Area

With monies received from an anonymous donor, SSSF began replicating the Pulteney Aging in Place model in the Town of Urbana in March of 2012. After an advisory group was formed, a survey was developed, sent to 222 Urbana residents, and, from the 45% return rate, the following needs were identified:

  1. Transportation
  2. Handyman
  3. Health Care/Personal Care Aide
  4. Filling out health insurance forms (including Medicare Part D)
  5. Transportation to medical appointments
  6. Lifeline
  7. Grocery Shopping
  8. Follow-up assistance after discharge from hospital/ER
  9. Medical Equipment (wheelchairs, beds, walkers, etc.)
  10. Special Services (plumbing, electrician, etc.)
  11. Care Manager (to coordinate all services)

Currently the Hammondsport-Urbana Aging in Place committee is undertaking a new Aging in Place study to determine current needs of aging residents. Based on the study results the Aging in Place committee will act to continue to help residents age in place

Members of the Hammondsport-Urbana Aging in Place committee currently include: Ruth Barry, Jim Derr, Dave Durepo, Mary Jo Hanna, Carol Israel, Diane Peacock, Rev. Lynn Sharp, Jim Walling, with Linda M. Tetor, and Gabe Smalt from Steuben Senior Services Fund

Our Woodhull area Aging in Place project is making great progress in addressing some of the most pressing needs of the seniors residing in the four townships included in the project. The results of the survey conducted of area residents showed the following needs:

  1. General transportation
  2. Transportation to medical services
  3. Home health care/personal care assistance
  4. House cleaning
  5. Shopping for groceries
  6. Home delivered meals
  7. Entertainment trips
  8. General handyman
  9. Legal information
  10. Plumbers/electricians

Also receiving a great deal of attention was the need for a scheduled exercise program to assist residents in remaining strong, flexible, and balanced as they age in place.

After analyzing the results of the survey, the Aging in Place committee did a thorough study of all available transportation options. The committee then designed a postcard which was mailed to all E-STAR residents (NY State tax exemption for persons age 65+) in the 4 townships to educate recipients about transportation options which are currently available to them for medical appointments. A van (Easy Rider) for grocery shopping trips is now available to area senior residents on an as-needed basis. Resources of the Department of Social Services, SSSF, and the Office for the Aging are being used to fund this greatly – needed service.

Bone Builders was begun in response to the need expressed in our area’s survey for a scheduled exercise program. Six leaders have been trained and the group meets three times a week with over 18 participants registered.

In addition, senior luncheons are being held in conjunction with the fire departments and towns in the four communities represented in our project. The luncheons are being held every two months and rotate around the four communities. Attendance ranges from 30-50 people.

The committee continues to meet on a monthly basis and remains very committed to developing solutions to assist the elderly residents to age in place.

During 2015, SSSF conducted a survey in the Town of Wayne among older residents to determine services needed to allow them to age in place successfully. With the assistance of the town and an excellent advisory group, the top needs were identified and are listed below:

  1. Yard Services (snow removal, yard work, mowing, etc.)
  2. Transportation
  3. General Handyman
  4. House cleaning
  5. Transportation to Medical Appointments
  6. Grocery Shopping
  7. Home Delivered Meals
  8. Special Services (plumbing, electrician, etc)
  9. Home Health Care/Personal Care Aide
  10. Prescription Delivery

Many of these services are available through service providers in the county, but residents were not aware of them and were not taking advantage of these opportunities. Since the time of the survey, quarterly newsletters have been published to better inform this area’s residents about services available to them. As a result, transportation and home delivered meals are now being provided to senior residents in the Town of Wayne.

Currently a new Aging in Place Study is underway in the Wayne Area to assess the current needs of aging individuals within the Wayne area.

Universal Design (UD) is a set of building principles that accommodates the changing needs of a person with health issues or one who has chosen to age in place. When constructing new buildings or renovating old ones, builders need to take these principles into consideration.

Some examples of UD would include zero step entrances, doorways and passageways wide enough for wheelchair access, a bathroom or half bath on the ground floor, and for adaptability, a room on the ground floor that can be easily converted into a bedroom to meet future needs. Other examples include reinforcements in bathrooms around the tub/shower and the toilet area so that grab bars can be installed for safety.

Some communities have already adopted legislation to require that UD be considered during construction to ensure that future elders will be able to age in place. SSSF is working to ensure that the principles of UD are provided in Steuben County.

To keep updated on Aging in Place initiatives that are being developed by SSSF, click below to sign up for our Aging in Place newsletter.