OFA Participating In Home For The Holidays Campaign

The Chautauqua County Office for the Aging (OFA) is excited to once again participate in Home for the Holidays, a national campaign led by the Eldercare Locator and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a).

The campaign is designed to encourage discussion of important issues affecting older Americans at a time of the year when family and friends often gather together. The holidays are the perfect time to get everyone on the same page about many different issues that face us as we get older and to talk about resources that are available to help families deal with the changing needs of our relatives as they age.

Locally if you are looking for a program or service to help an older adult, anyone can call our NY Connects helpline. Our specially trained staff can talk you through the local programs and service options available to help people stay independent and living in the community for as long as possible. The Eldercare Locator (1-800-677-1116) is our national partner helping you to link with resources no matter where you live in all 50 states and US territories. The Eldercare Locator provides information about services but also links you to the local Office for the Aging (aka Area Agency on Aging) and other local agencies where your relative lives. The Eldercare Locator is a free service and sponsored by the federal Administration for Community Living so you can be assured you are getting the best and most unbiased information.

This year, the Home for the Holidays campaign focuses on long-distance caregiving. As family members have become more spread out geographically across the country, it can be especially challenging to help members of your family who are having health challenges when they live hours away from you. Our newest brochure “Caring Across the Miles” is a guide for anyone who is helping a friend or relative manage finances, coordinate care, healthcare, or other daily living tasks. The guide provides tips for caregivers to make your assistance more productive and easier to accomplish.

There are tips on how to plan ahead, researching community options, and making sure you take care of yourself along the way. What do you need to know to help someone with their healthcare, finances, estate planning? Who are the local people who can check on and assist your loved one in your absence and contact you if there is a problem? What services are available through the local Office for the Aging and Social Services that can assist your loved one or just to get more eyes on the situation. People call my office all the time thinking that moving in together, assisted living, or nursing home care are the only options and that is just not the case. However, it is critical that you do not wait until a crisis arises to find out about help that’s available.

So this holiday season we hope as you are visiting relatives that you start having conversations about their needs and who helps them and that the resources through Office for the Aging and the Eldercare Locator to guide you. In addition to “Caring Across the Miles”, past publications by the Eldercare Locator include “Living Well with Dementia in the Community”; “Let’s Talk: Starting the Conversation about Health, Legal, Financial and End-of-Life Issues”; and “Protect Your Pocketbook: Tips to Avoid Financial Exploitation.”

Chautauqua County Office for the Aging is proud to partner with the Eldercare Locator to support our long-distance caregivers in the Home for the Holidays Campaign. If you would like more information or a copy of any of the publications I mentioned contact the NY Connects helpline at (716) 753-4582, 661-7582, or 363-4582 or the Eldercare Locator you may call (800) 677-1116. If you want to research resources on your own it’s very easy. Visit their website at www.eldercare.acl.gov and you can search by location or zip code. Happy Holidays!