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Senior Companion Program

The People Inc. Senior Companion Program assists older adults who have difficulty with daily living tasks so that they can retain their dignity and independence. Among other activities, the Senior Companion may assist with tasks, such as grocery shopping and errands; providing friendship and companionship; alerting doctors and family members to potential problems and providing respite for caregivers. 

Senior Companions are volunteers age 55 years or older from Erie County who meet income eligibility requirements. They serve frail older adults, adults with disabilities and those with terminal illnesses. Senior Companions are supervised by the professional staff of People Inc. and other collaborating agencies. All Senior Companions receive 20 hours of pre-service orientation, as well as four hours of in-service training monthly. In total, Senior Companions complete 40 hours of orientation training. Senior Companions earn a tax-free hourly stipend plus travel and meal reimbursement.

 

Are you a current Senior Companion volunteer? Recruit a friend to volunteer and get a $25 gift card. Hurry - offer good only for a limited time!

NEW SERVICE: Now Accepting Recipients for Senior Companion Friendly Caller Opportunity
The People Inc. Senior Companion Program is providing a “Phone Connection” for recipients who qualify and would benefit from making regular connections. This serves as an alternative to providing in-home visits, which are limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The program is now enrolling recipients who are 55 or older and living in Erie County. They will receive the benefit of socialization and a conversation with friendly volunteers. Companions will call recipients once a week and share any concerns with program staff, who then make referrals to family members or other resources. Registering for the program is free and easy. To enroll, or to recommend an older adult whom you assist, contact Alissa Yax at ayax@people-inc.org or 716.768.2381.

Information: 716.768.2381

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Senior Service Outreach Program

People Inc. will provide case management services to older adults 60 years or older who live at home to provide the necessary support to age in place. The program is available to those who live in Kenmore, Grand Island, North Buffalo, Tonawanda (city and town) and West Buffalo. People Inc. will provide assistance to older adults and/or their caregivers about how to better navigate the social service and healthcare systems that may be challenging.

Case managers will be assigned to specific geographic areas and help create individualized service plans based upon a comprehensive assessment. Participating older adults must meet specific criteria. For those enrolled, the People Inc. Senior Service Outreach Program will assist with providing connections to access appropriate services, benefits and entitlements, including:

  • Adult Day Care
  • Caregiver Resource Center
  • Discount Programs
  • Food Stamps
  • Health Insurance
  • Home Care Services
  • Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
  • Housekeeping
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare Savings Program
  • Personal Care Services
  • Personal Emergency Response Systems
  • Property Tax Reduction
  • Weatherization

People Inc. Senior Service Outreach is funded by the New York State Office for the Aging and the Erie County Department of Senior Services.

Information: 716.768.2357

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Seniors Unlimited Adult Day Program

Seniors Unlimited is a unique social day program created to meet the needs of people with dementia or memory loss, which may be caused by Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, heart disease or any other illness. This program provides caregivers with some respite, while offering each person the socialization and stimulation needed to maintain an enhanced quality of life. Seniors Unlimited is partially funded by Erie County Department of Senior Services and NYS Office of the Aging.

  • Safe, friendly atmosphere and caring staff
  • Opportunities to make friends, share experiences and so much more
  • Exercises to promote balance, circulation, coordination and flexibility
  • Art therapy – combines music, poetry and imagery to encourage self-esteem and self-expression
  • Hot, nutritious meals
  • Enhanced or maintained level of independence
  • Prevention or delay in nursing home placement

Benefit to Caregivers:

  • Much needed respite - time to run errands, or just a break from round-the-clock care

Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. This flexible program can also accommodate needs for earlier drop-off and later pick-up.

Cost: Program is covered by Medicaid if receiving care under Long Term Home Health Care program. Other funding sources available. Private pay rate is $45 per day and includes breakfast and lunch. Transportation is an additional $15.

Information: 716.768.2370

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FAQ

Caregivers of loved ones with dementia or other memory loss issues have two overriding concerns when it comes to adult day programs. One concern is whether their loved one will be cared for as they would care for them. This concern is quickly eased when we share that the staff at Seniors Unlimited is highly trained in the area of dementia/memory loss. They have proven to be knowledgeable, respectful and informative for both the people who attend our day program and their families. The other concern revolves around cost. The Seniors Unlimited social day program is generally covered by Medicaid if the individual is receiving care under a Long Term Home Health Care program. If not covered by insurance, there are other funding sources available. The cost of People Inc. Seniors Unlimited day care program is $40 per day and includes breakfast and a hot lunch, as well as transportation within Buffalo.

1. My mother has beginning stages of dementia and she is so bored. She watches television all day long. How can I help her?

Adult day programs provide unique opportunities by trained staff including social, physical, and recreational activities. We strive to tailor activities to each person’s interest.

2. Are there special programs designed for people with dementia and memory loss problems?

People Inc.’s Seniors Unlimited has been serving people with dementia for over 15 years. The staff is specifically trained on working with individuals with dementia/memory loss. The staff reviews each person’s assessment created by their family and develops a care plan specific to that person. At Seniors Unlimited staff uses music, exercise, arts/crafts and reminiscing programs to help people delay further memory decline.

3. What does your program do to promote physical exercise?

At Seniors Unlimited, physical exercise is encouraged several times a week. Staff models the exercise to engage the seniors. Staff uses audio, visual, and athletic equipment to add variety. At Seniors Unlimited the seniors are encouraged to be as independent as they are able.

4. What does your program do to promote mental exercise?

At Seniors Unlimited we recently started a physical and mental exercise called "Tai Chi" which helps people relax, promotes physical fitness and helps with balance and fall prevention. The seniors regularly work on reminiscing activities, including book club, social circle, and games. Staff encourages those who are able to hang up their coats, set the table at meal time, and clean up after themselves.

5. Who attends adult day programs?

Those who have developed dementia or memory loss which may be caused by Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, stroke, heart disease or any other illness attend our day program.

6. How do you stimulate those that attend?

Our program offers a large variety of activities including an art instructor once a week. Many people who attend enjoy giving back to the community. They have volunteered for the Veterans Administration, SPCA, Operation Christmas Child, and Westminster Child Care. As an example they have packaged the dog food at our site and have the opportunity, if they choose, to go off site and deliver the food. In addition, people in our program also go to book clubs, a ceramics group, and an art group. All these groups are held at other sites offering socialization and community integration. The seniors enjoy going out to restaurants, Sheas, Wegmans, AC Moores, Museums, Parks, and Fairs. We are always open to new ideas and new places.

7. What makes your program so unique for dementia and other memory loss individuals?

Our staff has over 30 years combined experience working with individuals with memory loss. They have been trained in behavioral modification and dementia care and have worked successfully with many seniors who have behavioral concerns. Another unique aspect is our strong focus on community activities. 

8. It is too difficult to get my loved one ready to go in the morning. What can I do?

You may be able to get the assistance of a home health aide for bathing and dressing your loved one. Our staff can help with referrals. 

9. My mother lives in South Buffalo and I cannot get her there in the morning? Do you provide transportation?

Our program provides transportation throughout Buffalo.

10. What happens if my father doesn’t like the program or does not want to come every day?

Our staff will work with those that are reluctant to attend and their family members. Once people attend they generally love it and rarely decide not to come back. If they decide not to continue in the program, but choose to come back at a later date, they are more than welcome. You can determine how often your loved one attends.

11. What happens if my mother is sick the day she is to attend?

You are not committed financially if your loved one is not able to attend. We just ask that you call and report the absence so the transportation coordinator and site is aware.

12. My father takes medication. I understand that social day programs cannot administer medication.

Our staff is not able to administer medication but we are able to remind your father to take his medication at a specific time. All staff is trained in CPR first aid.

13. What if my mother has a bad day?

Everyone has a bad day every now and again, but our staff is specially trained to handle crisis situations. We focus on being proactive and recognizing the early warning signs of potential behavior concerns. We keep in close contact with the family/care providers to keep updated on medical or other concerns that might effect a persons' day.

Information: 716.768.2370

Long-term Care Ombudsman Program

People Inc., New York State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and Center for Elder Law & Justice

For senior adults who live in nursing homes, assisted living and other Department of Health licensed adult care homes, we offer free problem resolution and advocacy services throughout Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties to ensure quality of life and care. 

Volunteer! This is a volunteer-based program and we are currently recruiting. We have opportunities for those who work in professional fields. Plus, many volunteers are recent retirees. Volunteers are assigned to be at one long-term care facility near your home and visit on a weekly basis. There is significant preparation to get you ready.

Through a certification training process, ombudsmen volunteers are matched with a long term care facility to serve as an advocate for the resident's care and rights. Ombudsmen are an independent voice, separate from the facility; they are trained to properly listen to, investigate and help resolve concerns on behalf of long-term care residents. 

If you or a loved one would benefit from the support of our Ombudsman Program, or would like to learn more about becoming an ombudsman volunteer, call 716.817.9222 or toll-free at 1.844.527.5509, or email us.

Information: 716.817.9222 or toll-free at 1.844.527.5509

Resources

Tips for Coping with Dementia

  • Reduce over stimulation. For example, keep the TV or stereo at a regular volume and never have them both playing at the same time.
  • Make the environment as successful as possible. Label items that are no longer familiar to the person. Paint doorways a different color than the wall. Keep personal items in a consistent place.
  • Take time out with your loved one. Take them to places they used to go on their own, reminisce about things they used to do. Keep their old memories alive and make new ones.
  • Keep direction simple. Prompt just one step at a time. Always speak clearly and face-to-face to your loved one.
  • Be aware of your body language. Maintain friendly facial expressions and tone of voice.
  • Keep a structured and consistent routine.
  • Always use a statement instead of a demand. For example tell your loved one to "come with me over here," instead of "you must go this way."
  • Always reassure your loved one when they are anxious or confused, no matter how many times you have to do it.
  • If your loved one is agitated, distract them to a simple task like folding clothes or sorting them by color. This will give them a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
  • Keep a sense of humor. Remember you are now making memories one at a time.
  • Take care of yourself. Join a support group, spend time with friends or watch your favorite television show.

Information: 716.768.2370

 

12 Things to Avoid

Twelve Things to Avoid when Working with Persons who have Alzheimer's and/or Dementia.

  1. Avoid arguing with the person.
  2. Avoid yelling or raising your voice. What may be intended as a firm command or intervention could be viewed as a frightening and aggressive act by a person with Alzheimer's or dementia.
  3. Avoid confronting a person's deviant behaviors.
  4. Avoid negative statements, such as “No,” “Not,” “Never.”
  5. Avoid complex statements.
  6. Avoid outright lying to a person with Alzheimer's or dementia.
  7. Avoid multiple choices. This can be too confusing for a person with Alzheimer's or dementia.
  8. Avoid approaching from behind.
  9. Avoid asking the person to remember, i.e. “Remember me?” “Remember when…?” “Remember how to…?”
  10. Avoid talking down to the person with Alzheimer's or dementia.
  11. Avoid using pronouns, slang, cute/pet names, nicknames for people, objects and places.
  12. Avoid excessive noise (i.e.: yelling out to other staff or individuals, slamming doors, loud music and/or singing).

Information: 716.768.2370