Wednesday, December 13, 2017
 
 
Sara Sunday Leads the Oswego County Office for the Aging into New Territory

(August 2014) – The Oswego County Office for the Aging has all of the same challenges as other offices for aging around the state except one – NY Connects.

However, that’s about to change, said Sara Sunday, who was appointed to the top job at the Oswego County Office for the Aging in January. In the coming months, Oswego will likely become another in the long list of offices for aging with formal NY Connects programs.
 

Sara Sunday was appointed to the head of the Oswego County Office for the Aging January 1,  2014.

 
NY Connects has been established in most offices for aging since 2006 and over time has evolved to the point where the federal government recognizes it as an Aging and Disability Resource Center.

The recognition led in part to NY Connects being recognized as the state’s single point of entry/no wrong door for long term care under the Balancing Incentive Program (BIP). BIP is a federal initiative authorizing grants to States to increase access to non-institutional community-based long term services and supports.

The Oswego County Office for the Aging is one of 59 mostly county based offices for aging in New York. The Association on Aging in New York represents all 59 office for aging, including New York City. Oswego County is in northwestern New York State, just north of Syracuse and northwest of Utica, on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario.

Sara is from the Adirondacks but graduated from SUNY Oswego. She started working for the Oswego County Office for the Aging in 2005 with the introduction of the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

The offices for aging operate the Health Insurance Information and Counseling Programs (or HIICAP) , whcih provide unbiased health insurance and prescription insurance counseling for those who are Medicare eligible.

Today, “HIICAP is our fastest growing program,” Sara said. “We receive a lot of calls because Medicare is so complex. Clients want a second opinion: ‘Is what I’m doing the best for me?’”

Another popular program is the Expanded In-home Services for the Elderly home care program, which provides personal care and/or housekeeping chores to help older residents remain independent.

“We provide case management and establish the care plans but we contract with home care agencies to provide the services,” Sara said. “We’re finding here – and I think it’s a challenge across the whole network – that we have issues acquiring enough aides for those who need one because we’re so rural,” Sara said. “It is a challenge to get aides to outlying areas.”

Some of the other highlights of the programs offered by Oswego include:
  • Outreach Program - Staff outreach into the community to locate those who are unaware of available services. Staff can make visits to those who are home bound due to poor health or lack of transportation.
  • Senior Nutrition Program – Eligible participants are provided meals for the more rural, isolated elderly in the county through the Home Delivered Meals Program or may attend a congregate meal site (Senior Dining and Activity Center) located at eight sites throughout the County.
  • Transportation – Participants of our Senior Dining and Activity Centers are eligible for transportation to sites and shopping.
  • Legal Referral – Residents 60+ years old can be referred to a local attorney through our legal referral program. Seniors can obtain information, guidance and legal representation, dependent on whether or not a legal problem exists.
  • Caregiver Services Program - Provide caregivers with much needed support. Caregiver services are vital to keeping older people in their homes.
“When you see that you’re helping someone, it gives you a good feeling,” Sara said. "I’m just happy to do what I do to help the people in our community.”

About Us
The Association on Aging in New York represents the state’s 59 mostly county-based local offices for the aging established under the federal Older Americans Act to respond to the needs of Americans age 60 and over. The Association provides professional development and education that includes the annual Aging Concerns Unite Us (ACUU) conference, webinars, regional caregiver forums and a fall Leadership Institute. The Association works to strengthen and expand long term services and supports to individuals so they may age in place in the community.  A core philosophy is to work in collaboration with other agencies. Originally known as the New York State Association of Area Agencies on Aging, the Board of Directors approved a new name in 2013, the Association on Aging in New York, to create a more cohesive and inclusive network to address the diverse needs of an aging population, as well as individuals of all ages needing long term services and supports. For more information, go to http://www.agingny.org
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