Westchester Pandemic Older Adult Community Resource Guide
This version published on April 21, 2020 by the Center for Aging in Place
The Center for Aging in Place offers this informal senior services/referral directory and online resources for Westchester County amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with thanks for the help of DOROT Westchester, RSVP of Westchester, Volunteer New York! and Nonprofit Westchester. Efforts will be made to update this version as the pandemic evolves. Proposed changes, additions or updates, or requests for the removal of information, may be sent to [email protected]. We would love to know of new services!
To learn more about the novel coronavirus, and the illness that it can cause, known as COVID-19, visit the website of the Westchester County Department of Health at https://health.westchestergov.com/ and the website of the Centers for Disease Control at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/older-adults.html.
Health Services & Social Services
Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services has an array of resources available at its website at https://seniorcitizens.westchestergov.com/.
The Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH), together with its partner agencies, will be offering guidance and support to Westchester County’s residents as they cope with the impact of the coronavirus. People may experience stress, fear, grief, depression and anxiety. DCMH will be implementing educational and supportive services through a dedicated telephone resource line, social media, taped video recordings, chat lines, printed materials and linkage to counseling. The DCMH Information, Support and Referral line is (914) 995-1900 8 a.m. to 8 p.m./Text # (914) 461-7281.
United Way’s 2-1-1 Helpline is a free, confidential, multi-lingual service to assist the public in finding the answers to health and human services questions and in reference to needs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. It is open 365 days a year. Simply dial 2-1-1.
Volunteer New York! and its “Virtual Volunteer Center” is a hub for listing all COVID-19 response and recovery volunteer opportunities in our region. Visit https://www.volunteernewyork.org/vvc.
Information from Social Security and Medicare-related to coronavirus can be found at https://www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/. For instance, Medicare now offers expanded coverage for telehealth services by many health providers. Information from the IRS about changes to tax filing dates, and about receiving your “economic impact payment,” can be found at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.
The Senior Law Day Collaborative – a team of more than 150 attorneys, financial planners, geriatric care managers and more – offers free consultations and advice. They can accept email inquiries regarding legal, financial, and healthcare topics. They are currently offering a series of live webinars (and post session recordings). Visit: www.SeniorLawDay.info.
NY Connects is a trusted place to go for free, unbiased information about long term services and supports in New York State for people of all ages or with any type of disability. Visit https://www.nyconnects.ny.gov/ or call 1 (800) 342-9871.
One of the biggest challenges facing families today is finding the services to enable their loved ones to stay healthy, vital and connected to their communities as they age. Family Services of Westchester helps seniors and their families meet this challenge by providing a continuum of care that supports seniors. Learn more at https://www.fsw.org/our-programs/older-adults. 4
The Partnership Innovation for Older Adults Program is a local collaboration to bring mobile outreach and off-site services, including behavioral health and aging services and tele-health interventions to older adults in Westchester County, age 55+. Family Services of Westchester is the lead agency in this program, funded by the N.Y.S. Office of Mental Health in collaboration with the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services and the Lexington Center for Recovery. Contact Tonia Monti at (914) 668-9124 ext. 22.
Pace Women’s Justice Center’s Elder Justice Unit provides free civil legal services and referrals to residents, male or female, aged 60+, who have experienced elder abuse or mistreatment. During the COVID-19 healthcare crisis, its attorneys are available via phone and internet platforms regarding Orders of Protection, Powers of Attorney, Advanced Health Care Directives, Voluntary Guardianship, Wills and Eviction Prevention. CALL: (914) 287-0739 or (914) 422-4188 to be connected with an attorney Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fraud prevention advice: https://www.ncoa.org/blog/4-coronavirus-scams-to-avoid/.
The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about end-of-life care. https://theconversationproject.org/. It is a public engagement initiative with a goal that is simple and transformative: to have every person’s wishes for end-of-life care expressed and respected.
Prepare For Your Care is a step-by-step program with video stories to help you have a voice in YOUR medical care, talk with your doctors, give your family and friends peace of mind, and fill out an advance directive form to write out your wishes: https://prepareforyourcare.org/welcome.
Cancer Support Team services are operating fully, either remotely or on-site. The Cancer Support Team is the only Westchester County-based nonprofit home care program, licensed by the New York State Department of Health, providing access to essential health care services, professional nursing, social work counseling, case management and other supportive services at no cost and without regard to insurance coverage to patients and their families at any stage of the illness. Visit: https://cancersupportteam.org/ or call (914) 777-2777.
Gilda’s Club Westchester has suspended in-person supportive programs. It is offering virtual online programs free for anyone impacted by cancer. Visit: https://gildasclubwestchester.org/.
Westchester Jewish Community Services provides integrated programs that support older adults in aging safely and well. Programs meet the needs of all seniors and have a particular focus on frail, homebound and isolated older adults. https://www.wjcs.com/older-adults/.
At the Alzheimer’s Association Hudson Valley Chapter, meetings, events and other activities will be conducted online or by phone whenever possible. For updates on events and other information, please check www.alz.org/hudsonvalley. During this time, the Alzheimer’s Association is available to you 24/7 for assistance and support at (800) 272-3900. Coronavirus tips for dementia caregivers can be found at this link: https://alz.org/help-support/caregiving/coronavirus-(covid-19)-tips-for-dementia-care?_ga=2.226127582.552122592.1586558775-980664202.1586558775.
In effort to contain the spread of Covid-19, the Yonkers Office for the Aging is closed to walk-ins; however, some of our services to the most vulnerable will continue. If you need further assistance or have questions, please call the office at (914) 377-6822, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visit: https://www.yonkersny.gov/government/departments/office-for-the-aging
The Boxwood Alliance researches and organizes information that is useful to older adults, their families and their caregivers. Boxwood encourages participants to remain active and independent. Its website provides free connections to resources, tools, and research-based programs. Visit https://theboxwood.org/.
“Iamfine.com” offers a daily automated check-in phone service for free. The service calls a person who lives alone, 1-2 times a day at a predetermined time and prompts them to press 1 to confirm they are ok. If they miss their check-in, then Iamfine will alert friends and family. 5
Coronavirus Information for Heart Patients, from the American Heart Association:
Coronavirus Information for Diabetes Patients, from the American Diabetes Association:
Coronavirus Information for Lung Disease Patients, from the American Lung Association:
Information on coronavirus for Latinx individuals with chronic health conditions:
Westchester Senior Voice has a website with all sorts of information about the status of local senior service programs, recreation opportunities, changes to senior facility schedules and capacities, transportation systems, rehab, and musical activities, articles on many topics related to well-being, and more. Be sure to check out: https://westchesterseniorvoice.com/.
VISIONS is a 94-year old social service and vision rehabilitation nonprofit organization that serves blind individuals and their families. All VISIONS services are free! During the current crisis, VISIONS continues to function with services being offered remotely. For information, send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit www.visionsvcb.org.
Hi-Tech Charities is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit community development corporation that provides employment training, facilities and housing development, and various community economic development, social services and healthcare programs that empower individuals, families, businesses and communities. Home healthcare services provided include nursing, home health aide, personal care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, speech-language pathology, medical social services, nutrition, homemaker, housekeeper, medical supplies, equipment and appliances. Visit: www.htc.ngo.
Sharp Again Naturally has been extremely concerned about the impact of “social distancing” in seniors suffering from memory loss. Those who are suffering from dementia and other forms of memory loss – and who are so dependent on human interaction – will feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in profound ways. Sharp Again Naturally has been creating Interactive Activities eblasts, containing easy tips and suggestions of “socially-distanced” activities. These e-blasts are sent out every 7-10 days. Visit. https://mailchi.mp/6691426fcf54/ed3dc9btts-1088238 and https://mailchi.mp/cefe8f8b8c79/ed3dc9btts-1090086.
Sharp Again Naturally also provides the Sharper Mind Virtual Support Group, a safe, secure online member group for anyone concerned about their own memory loss or that of a loved one, including family members, caregivers, and practitioners. E-mail s[email protected].
The mission of the Center for Aging in Place is to develop grassroots aging-in-place organizations in Westchester working to improve the quality of life for older adults who choose to live at home and stay engaged in community life. CAP provides information and resources to communities, organizations, and individuals to support the goals of aging in place and to advocate for robust multi-generational neighborhoods. We are working with communities to create a new lifestyle for residents who want to remain independent at home and engaged in community life. Visit: https://www.centerforaginginplace.org/.
Feeding Westchester offers food package distribution sites, mobile food pantries, and drive-through food distributions. You can find more information and identify locations at https://feedingwestchester.org/find-help/ or call (914) 923-1100, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Information on additional food and water delivery options can be also found via WestFair Rides at https://www.westfairrides.org/2020/03/food-assistance-available/. WestFair Rides also has a list of some pharmacies that may be able to deliver to a residence can be viewed at https://www.westfairrides.org/2020/03/stay-home-have-your-prescriptions-delivered.
The RideConnect program of Family Services of Westchester serves older adults 60+ who need shopping and doorstep delivery of groceries. RideConnect’s core mission is to provide transportation resources for older adults 60+. The program continues to provide transportation to critical/urgent medical appointments and its volunteers have been taking clients to dialysis and chemotherapy appointments as well. Volunteers will work with a client to obtain a grocery list, do the shopping and then drop the groceries at the doorstep. (The client is financially responsible for the cost of the groceries). This also includes making deliveries from food pantries for those in need. Seniors can ask about these programs by calling (914) 242-7433 or email Karen Ganis: [email protected].
WestFair Rides volunteers continue to drive pre-registered riders to their medical appointments. They ask that riders AND drivers take precautions to protect each other. If your appointment is NOT for a critical issue, consider postponing your appointment. If you don’t feel well, DO call your doctor’s office immediately for suggestions about next steps. In addition to the CDC/DOH recommendations about social distancing and other precautions, we suggest that riders sit in the back seat, as far from the driver as possible. Together we will get through these challenging times. Please call (914) 764-3533 for more information or visit https://www.westfairrides.org/.
Arts, Education, Entertainment, and Fitness
Advice from the Silver Sneakers program on how to stay active and fit while at home is here: https://www.silversneakers.com/blog/staying-connected-from-afar-tips-seniors/. Silver Sneakers also offers exercise video at https://www.facebook.com/silversneakers/
Check out the DOROT University Without Walls. It offers hundreds of classes, appealing to a wide range of interests – all over the telephone. English-speaking participants can choose from ever-changing topics and such perennial favorites as Museum Talks, Literature and Arts, In the News, Understanding Your Rights, Jewish Interests, and Health and Wellness. The classes are small. Visit: https://www.dorotusa.org/our-programs/at-home/university-without-walls. Or call (877) 819-9147. DOROT also offers a weekly Telephone Friends at Home service, featuring friendly calls and conversations: https://www.dorotusa.org/our-programs/in-westchester/telephone-friends-home. Or e-mail [email protected] or call (914) 485 -8354.
Tips on helping seniors use video calling, from the Philadelphia Inquirer: https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/seniors-video-calling-how-to-help-facetime-skype-whatsapp-coronavirus-20200326.html.
Westchester Library System manages the volunteer-staffed Senior Benefits Individual Counseling (SBIC) sites at 9 libraries. These sites are closed through the end of April, and potentially longer, depending on the coronavirus trends, but it is continuing to staff the SBIC helpline. Westchester seniors can receive unbiased answers to Medicare questions by calling 914-231-3260 or emailing [email protected]. Leave a name, a question, and a preferred method of contact and our volunteers will get back to you within a day, even on weekends.
Westchester Library System Online Resources – Westchester Library System offers digital content – books, magazines, comic books, movies, music, and learning programs for all ages. All are accessible at www.westchesterlibraries.org; have your library card handy! Email [email protected] We’ll call or email you back and walk you through. Westchester Library System VisionLab – Westchester Library System supports community members with low vision in identifying and using services and tools that can keep them reading and engaged. Examples of support include accessing services of the NYS Talking Book and Braille Library and navigating accessibility features in current devices. Find out more: email [email protected].
Lists of online cultural activities that you can enjoy from home can be found at: https://www.westfairrides.org/2020/03/fun-activities-to-do-from-home/.
Here are some film recommendations from the senior film programmer at our county’s very own Jacob Burns Film Center that you could peruse and see which ones you might enjoy watching: https://letterboxd.com/jupinwhm/list/the-social-distance-100/.
Don’t forget about your local public television station for insightful reports into the evolution of the pandemic and for retrospectives, special musical programming, features, literature and history, among many other edifying programs: https://www.thirteen.org/. The station also offers access to free Broadway shows and musicals at this time.
Next Avenue brings you reliable stories, special features, videos and resources on issues that matter most as we age. It is a website “where grownups keep growing.” They have a lot of information about the many ways that the pandemic affects our daily lives and what strategies we can learn to use to respond and plan: https://www.nextavenue.org/.
The White Plains Public Library has curated a list of local and area services being offered to seniors, especially with information about local food shopping and delivery options, Meals on Wheels, social and geriatric services, and recreational information. Learn more at: https://whiteplainslibrary.org/2020/04/resources-for-seniors/.
The “Go Wish Game” gives you an easy, even entertaining way to talk about what is most important to you. The cards help you find words to talk about what is important if you were to be living a life that may be shortened by serious illness. Playing the game with your relatives or best friends can help you learn how you can best comfort your loved ones when they need you most. Go Wish can be played by one, two or more people. http://www.gowish.org/article.php/how_to_play.
Online crossword puzzles: https://www.washingtonpost.com/crossword-puzzles/daily and https://www.dictionary.com/e/crossword/.
Online Sudoku: https://sudoku.game/.
Learn or practice a new language: https://www.duolingo.com/. 6
Give yourself time to unwind and relax – learn to meditate: https://www.tenpercent.com/guided-meditations or https://www.headspace.com/.
The Care Café at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work of Yeshiva University has developed virtual programming to help those in need manage direct and indirect responses to trauma during this global pandemic, and to create a space for our community to come together. Some examples of these programs include chair yoga, a singing workshop, and a senior drop-in café to connect and share coping strategies. Visit: https://www.yu.edu/care-cafe.
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