Joe Robach believes programs for seniors are an important aspect of the aging process. That is why he is proud to announce, along with the Town of Greece. that the upcoming session of Time Out for Women will begin on January 29, 2014 and run through March 26th, 2014. This program gives women an opportunity to spend time in a social setting, learning about many different topics through presentations and performances. If you are interested in the group Greece resident members may register starting Monday, January 13, 2014 and non-resident members may register starting Tuesday, January 22, 2014 at the Greece Community and Senior Center, 3 Vince Tofany Boulevard or online at www.greeceny.gov. The fee is $20.00. The Time Out for Women program is limited to 110 participants.
In addition to Time Out for Women, the Greece Community and Senior Center also hosts the daily meal program for residents. Nutrition is important as we all age, that is why Joe Robach has continued to insist funding for seniors in the nutrition program continues. If you or a family member is interested in participating in the Nutrition Program, please call the Town of Greece Community and Senior Center for more information.
Finally, another major aspect of the Community and Senior Center is the Town of Greece Senior Council. The Greece Senior Council is a volunteer advisory council comprised of Town of Greece residents. The council works with the Town to identify the needs of those senior citizens who reside in the Town of Greece to provide programs and services. The Senior Council meets at 9:30 a.m., the second Monday of each month at the Community and Senior Center. Often times, Joe Robach will give updates to the council regarding new about seniors in New York State and the constant budgetary restraints the Senate must deal with.
Recently, at a local event, Joe Robach helped promote the Monroe County Yellow Dot Program. The Yellow Dot program is a free program designed to help first resonders provide life-saving medical attention if there were to be an emergency. It puts vital information in at the fingertips of first responders when decisions need to be made in an instant.
With over 500,000 residents visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles each year, its important to make sure residents, especially seniors, are aware there are free programs such as this available.
Joe Robach is doing all he can to make these “Yellow Dot” packages available to seniors. The Yellow Dot kit contains a medical information card and a Yellow Dot decal. Participants must complete the card, place it in their glove box, and put the Yellow Dot decal on the rear driver’s side window. This allows first responders arriving at the scene to be alerted by the Yellow Dot and to look for the medical information card in the glove compartment.
Joe Robach has also urged seniors to use the Yellow Dot for their homes. Participants are asked to place the information card in their freezer of the refrigerator, and place the Yellow Dot decal on the front door.
With such a large senior population in not only in the Town of Greece, but throughout Monroe County, this program serves as an excellent way for seniors to help both themselves and their families in a time of crisis.
The Yellow Dot program is funded by the New York State Sheriff’s Association.
Monroe County residents can pick up a free Yellow Dot kis at the Monroe County Department of Motor Vehicles, the Sherrif’s Office Central Records Unit and Sherriff’s zone substations. Residents may also have a Yellow Dot kit mailed to them by visiting www.monroecounty.gov and clinking on the Yellow Dot link.
Recently, Senator Joe Robach attended a grand opening for a housing development for seniors. The event took place on Friday, September 13th at the Unity Hospital campus. With the opening of the “Hamlet,” the Unity Hospital campus is now one of the premiere locations for adult living. More than ever, senior housing is needed, not only in Monroe County, but throughout the entire country. Joe Robach understands just how important housing for seniors is in our area and will continue to fight for our senior population in the State of New York.
The housing development, on the Unity Hospital campus, was a $22 million project which consisted of the addition of 40 units in the assisted living portion of the complex, along with the development of the Alzheimer unit for the hospital. Joe Robach has worked with Unity hospital for many years to ensure that seniors of the Town of Greece have a safe, comfortable place to live, while making sure the necessary services are being provided.
There are several other senior living community within the Town of Greece as well. Currently, there are two other which are in the process of being developed. The first location is on the corner of Latta Road and Long Pond Road. This will be a four-story building located directly behind Sawyer Park. The other location is on the corner of Long Pond and Ridge Road. Both senior living community are in the process of securing funding for development. Both properties are also considered affordable senior housing meaning there are income restrictions for seniors who are interested in making these locations their primary residence. Being able to have seniors remain in their communities for housing is essential to their quality of life and well being. Joe Robach has, and will continue to be the voice for seniors to ensure their needs are being met within Monroe County.
Senator Joe Robach understands how important it is for seniors to not only receive their medications, but to understand their options when it comes to making payments for those costly prescriptions. Senior citizens make up the fastest growing segment of the population in our country today. People are living longer than ever due to improvements in the medical field such as better medications.
Making sure seniors are receiving the correct prescriptions is becoming a larger and larger issue. About 100,000 people over the age of 65 were taken to the emergency for adverse reactions to medications that were prescribed inaccurately. Medications can act differently in seniors due to the fact that, as people age, internal organs, like the liver and kidneys can change.
The best thing both doctors and patients can do to help reduce these numbers, is to spend more time discussing the reason the drugs are being prescribed and what side effects those drugs may have. Having several family members and friends that are seniors, Joe Robach has long been committed to educating seniors about medications and also making sure those meds are affordable.
In New York State, the EPIC program for prescription drugs allows seniors to save a significant amount of money on their annual prescription drug costs. In order to be eligible, a senior must: be a NYS resident age 65 and older, have an annual income below $35,000 if single or $50,000 if married, be enrolled or eligible to be enrolled in Medicare Part D, and not be receiving full Medicaid benefits. Joe Robach has continued to vote for funding increases to EPIC as it is an important program for seniors and there is a clear need for the program. If you are interested in learning more about EPIC, please log onto www.health.ny.gov/health_care/epic/.
This week, more than 2.6 million homeowners in New York State will receive instructions on how to continue receiving the School Tax Relief exemption, otherwise known as the STAR exemption. Residents will need to reapply for the STAR program online or by phone by December 31 of this year. Citizens must provide their salaries, social security numbers, and primary residence. Since often times so much is done online, Joe Robach wants to assure seniors that their exemptions will continue, regardless if they have the ability to use a computer.
The purpose of the reregistration is part of Gov. Cuomo’s plan to crack down on fraud throughout the state and abuse of the STAR program. He anticipates this plan to save over $1million per year for the state. This will help keep costs down to the taxpayer. Joe Robach agrees that all must be done to ensure seniors can remain in their homes for as long as possible.
Joe Robach realized how important this exemption is for seniors since the average benefit for seniors is over $1,000. Senior citizens are eligible for benefit if their incomes fall below $81,900.
The STAR program, which began in 1998, provides an exemption from school taxes for most homeowners, (residents with incomes less than $500,000) and only applies to a citizens’ primary residence. Many residence are unaware there are other exemptions for property taxes as well. It is important to contact your local assessors’ office to ensure you are receiving the correct exemptions on your primary residence. With the letters being sent out beginning this week, this is a perfect opportunity to update your other exemptions and maximize your financial benefit.
According to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, instructions on how to re-register for the STAR exemption will be mailed out by Early October at the very latest. For more information, residents are encouraged to visit tax.ny.gov or call (5`8) 457-2036.
As many people prepare for the coming over summer, May represents Older Americans Month we well. For 50 years, May has been the month we celebrate older adults across the nation. You could say that Older Americans Month is coming of age. This year’s theme—“Unleash the Power of Age”—emphasizes older Americans’ potential for energy and activism and urges them to embrace it. Joe Robach believes our seniors are one of our most important resources. They represent a vast amount of experience and knowledge . They also represent the greatest generation our nation has ever had.
According to the Administration on Aging, there is no better way to honor and celebrate Older Americans Month than to participate in volunteer activities in and around the community, attend possible speaking engagements involving individuals from that particular generation to gain a greater knowledge of their past, engage is a community sports activity. The stronger and more energized we are in later life, the more we can do to unleash the power of age in our communities. Exercise helps older Americans stay in shape and improves the quality of life at all ages, and being active as a community promotes well-being for all and helps get people involved. Joe Robach believes the best way to pay tribute to our seniors is to simply spend time with either a family member or a senior in your community. Often times seniors just enjoy being able to tell their stories to a new generation.
If you think someone in your community has excelled while aging, there is a nomination process to have a select few honored nationally. Nominees must be at least 60 years old and reside in a U.S. state or territory. Nominees should be actively engaged and committed members of their communities. Their community involvement (through work or volunteerism) must have a significant and positive impact on the community. Nominees should be positive role models who can inspire other older adults to continue to be active, vital members of their communities. Joe Robach encourages everyone to nominate a senior they believe has played an active role in the community and who they believe is worth of this honor.
The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S2149) supported by Joe Robach, that would create a farm-to-senior program to promote the purchase of New York State farm products by senior centers and other institutions for the aging.
The program would replicate a similar effort, the farm-to-school program, which was established in 2002 to enable schools to purchase locally-grown farm produce for school children. Joe Robach believes that the bill would give that same access to seniors.
This bill, supported by Joe Robach, would help facilitate a working relationship between the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Office for the Aging, local senior centers and institutions for the aging for the purchasing and promotion of farmers’ products. This would include the development of a promotional event called “The New York Golden Harvest: Seniors Week” to connect local agriculture and foods to seniors at senior centers, farms, farmers’ markets and other locations in the community.
The state would also work on maximizing the use of government funding for senior meals to purchase nutritious, locally produced foods to benefit the health of seniors and the local economy. One method to achieve this could be through the creation of a website to easily identify sellers, buyers, and available products for senior center food service directors and marketers of New York farm products.
The bill was sent to the Assembly. Fore more information on any seniors initiatives, contact the office of Joe Robach.
The New York State Senate, with the support of Joe Robach, gave final passage to a bill that would help make it easier and less expensive for legal guardians caring for seniors or other elderly relatives living out-of-state to carry out their responsibilities. This is one of many bills supported by Joe Robach which would help our seniors.
The measure (S2534) assists New Yorkers caring for adults in other states, as well as out-of-state individuals caring for elderly New Yorkers when they seek approval to fulfill health care, financial, and other legal responsibilities across state lines. It would create a registration form that would be used uniformly by participating states and replace a costly legal process that often required guardians to hire lawyers.
If signed into law, New York would become the 37th state to adopt a uniform standard for out-of-state legal guardianship of the elderly seniors.
Specifically, the bill, which is supported by the AARP, would:
> Make it easier to enforce protective and guardianship orders by authorizing guardians or conservators to register their New York orders in other states;
> Create a process to transfer a guardianship or conservatorship to another state and for accepting a transfer. This would help eliminate the expense and delay of starting a new proceeding;
> Establish a process to determine which state has jurisdiction to appoint a guardian or conservator if there is a conflict; and
> Protect the elderly from abuse and “granny snatching” by preventing someone from wrongfully taking control and assets from an elder, taking the elder across state lines and being named a guardian. In these situations, courts could decline the guardianship due to unjustifiable conduct and penalize abusers.
The bill will be sent to the Governor for his consideration for signing it into law. For more information on initiatives supporting seniors, contact Joe Robach.
Recently, Rochester’s stat delegation, led by Joe Robach, voted to boost financial support for seniors by increasing the funding for Elder Abuse Prevention to $750,000. Joe Robach is proud to be a part of the group that voted in favor of this proposal. This is an unprecedented level of funding for this program and Ann Marie Cook, President/ CEO of Lifespan of Greater Rochester, recently held a ceremony to personally thank the Rochester delegation for their hard work and dedication in securing this level of funding for a program this is vital to the well being of senior citizens in our area.
“Elder abuse touches too many people, literally hundreds of thousands of older New Yorkers each year,” Cook said. “With the support of the Governor and the Rochester delegation, Lifespan will be able to continue our work to protect older adults from financial exploitation, physical abuse, neglect and emotional abuse that is far too hidden from view. On behalf of all the people we advocate for, I want to thank our leaders in Albany for standing up for older adults.”
Our seniors have done so much to help their families and help to make the world a better place,” said Senator Joe Robach. “Not only is it critically important, but absolutely the right course of action to put safeguards in place to protect their dignity and make sure they are not abused. This funding will go a long way to ensuring that occurs in our community.”
Since 1998, Lifespan has been involved in thousands of elder abuse/mistreatment cases and trained more than 25,000 professionals from Buffalo to Brooklyn to recognize elder abuse and what steps to take when it is identified. Joe Robach has been a longtime advocate for our senior population and understands how important it is that they are not only cared for, but also that funding for the services they rely daily upon continues to be implemented in the budget each year.