Twenty-five years for a not-for-profit to still be operating is phenomenal. In each of those 25 years, there’s been a gala. They’ve grown, they’ve moved, they’ve honored people who serve the community. They’ve raised money.

The Silver Anniversary Gala takes place Nov. 16 at the Albany Country Club.

Ellen Kaufman is chairing the gala. Greg Floyd, anchor at TV’s Channel 6, will be the master of ceremonies. Jason White, a  Community Caregivers board member, is developing a video to highlight the 25 years. It will include interviews with the two living founders, Joel Edwards and Mary Therriault, as well as archival materials to show CC’s growth over the quarter century.

Honorees are Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple and The Guardian Society Executive Director Ken Harris.

Committee members number 14. These people make the event happen. They’ve been working since February. Here they are: Nicki Armsby, Linda Bourgeois, Eileen Bray, Midge Bulgaro, Donna Cavert, Tricia Gannon, Carol Huber, Richard Jung, Adam Knaust, Petra Malitz, Arnie Rothstein, myself, Nancie Tindale, and Ilona Weisman.

As a not-for-profit, Community Caregivers depends on grants, donations, and fundraisers. All of this is to create a system to match volunteers with people of all ages who need help — non medical — in the communities we serve.

Location:

— Photo from Community Caregivers

Behind the scenes on the greens: Linda Bourgeois, at center, and Mary Ann Singleton, at right, co-chaired the Community Caregivers’ golf tournament. Stacey Roussin, at left, was in charge of the raffle and silent auction.

At 10:30 a.m. on June 10, one-hundred-and-twenty-three golfers got into their carts and waited for the shotgun start. This was Community Caregivers 15th annual golf tournament at Pinehaven Country Club.  And the weather held for the players.

Linda Bourgeois and Mary Ann Singleton co-chaired the event. Stacey Roussin was in charge of the  raffle and silent auction. The Title Sponsor was Adirondack Environmental Services Inc. The Eagle sponsor was Berkshire Bank. Par sponsors were AYCO, In Honor of Caregivers and their Loved Ones, and  PHRMA. Our thanks also to the 28 Tee Box sponsors and 53 local businesses and individuals who donated items for the raffle and silent auction.

The tournament committee consisted of Eileen Bray, Midge Bulgaro,  Regina DuBois, Petra Malitz, Arnie and Judy Rothstein, and Stacey Roussin.

The golf tournament is one of two fundraisers that supports Community Caregivers.      

Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Location:

May is my favorite month of year here in upstate New York. After a seemingly endless stretch of cold, monotonous and gray landscapes, we are finally rewarded with warmth; sunshine; fresh green grass; budding leaves; and, best of all, colorful tulips.

May is also the month we celebrate older Americans. The Administration for Community Living leads our nation’s observance of Older Americans Month. Its 2019 theme, “Connect, Create, Contribute,” encourages older adults and their communities to:

— Connect with friends, family, and services that support participation;

— Create by engaging in activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment; and

— Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.

What a wonderful message this is!

Older adults represent a source of tremendous vitality for communities. They are engaged in every aspect of community life as good neighbors, experienced professionals, small-business owners, volunteers, and mentors to younger generations.

Older adults play a key role in the vibrancy of our neighborhoods and civic and faith-based organizations. Many start new ventures in retirement to assist not-for-profits or become entrepreneurs and help revitalize local economies.

The Administration for Community Living notes that “everyone benefits when everyone can participate.” We at Community Caregivers agree wholeheartedly and believe everyone has something to offer.

As a volunteer-powered organization, we offer ways for anyone, and most especially older adults, to “connect, create, and contribute.” Our volunteers engage lonely adults in our area through friendly visitor and assurance-caller programs.

Others volunteer transport non-driving adults to appointments. Some contribute freely of their time and talent as members of our board or committees.

We offer — often in partnership with libraries, the Albany Guardian Society and others — education and enrichment activities. We promote health literacy and driver safety for older adults and family caregivers. And, as partners in the Village Movement here in the Capital Region, we are discovering more ways to help older adults thrive in their communities and stay in their homes in their later years.

Please join us as a volunteer or at a future event as we celebrate older adults and their role in strengthening our communities this month and throughout the year. You can find volunteer and event information on our website, at our Facebook page, or by calling the office at 518-456-2898.

We welcome your interest this month and throughout the year. You may also join our mailing list by sending a note to

Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Our funding is derived in part from the Albany County Department for Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the United States Administration on Aging. To find out more about our services, as well as volunteer opportunities, please visit our website www.communitycaregivers.org, find us on Facebook  at www.facebook.com/CommunityCaregivers/  or call us at (518) 456-2898

Editor’s note: Linda Miller is the Outreach and Education coordinator for Community Caregivers.

Location:

— Photo by Greg Goutos

Sweet reward: Audrey Tarullo, a resident at the Omni Senior complex in Guilderland, happily receives a raffle prize, a box of Candy Kraft candies, presented to her by Boy Scout Jared Lasselle of Troop 264. Community Caregivers held its annual dinner at the Omni on March 30, with this year commemorating the organization’s 25th anniversary.

— Photo by Greg Goutos

All smiles: Omni resident Jane Perry is handed a very welcoming prize from University at Albany student, Yuka Mogi, a visiting student here from Japan for four months.

In an evening filled with celebration and excitement, the residents of the Omni Senior Living Community enjoyed a dinner sponsored by Community Caregivers, on Saturday, March 30. This marked the 18th year that the annual event was held at the complex, which is located on Carman Road in Guilderland.

The 55 senior residents in attendance enjoyed a complimentary Italian dinner and cake for dessert.  The food was donated by local restaurants, as well as from the support of members of the Community Caregivers Board of Directors.

The theme of this year’s event was in celebration of Community Caregivers’ 25th anniversary. A special cake was decorated to commemorate the milestone for the not-for-profit organization, which was founded in 1994 in Altamont.

The organization provides non-medical services to residents of Albany County at no charge, by matching local volunteers with nearby clients. The Caregivers’ office is located at 2021 Western Ave. in Guilderland.

After some welcoming remarks, Carol LaFleur was then introduced as the newly-appointed executive director of Community Caregivers. She talked about the types of services that the organization offers to its clients, and the ongoing need for new volunteers to become involved.

She also thanked the several volunteers on hand for taking the time to continue the tradition of hosting the annual dinner at the Omni for all these years.

This year, two groups assisted the Community Caregivers’ staff and other volunteers, in helping to serve the dinner and hand out the raffle prizes. Members of Boy Scout Troop 264 in Altamont were present. Also, several students from the University at Albany, who are from Japan as part of a special four-month English-language program, volunteered. The seniors truly enjoyed interacting with the Scouts and college students throughout the evening, making the event both an intergenerational and multicultural experience for all involved.

After the dessert was served, everyone eagerly awaited the moment when they might hear their name called for winning one of the many raffle prizes donated by local businesses. As the tickets were randomly drawn by the Scouts and the university students, the smiling faces of each winner were captured in the many photographs taken.

Also included as giveaways, were the vases of beautiful daffodils that each table had as a centerpiece.  Nearly everyone happily went back to their apartments with something in hand.

More than 17 volunteers participated this year; their help was gratefully appreciated. From Boy Scout Troop 264 in Altamont, there was Jared Lasselle, Lucas Stang, and Alex Ware. Also assisting were Rinka Ogawa, Mone Izuka, and Yuka Mogi, who are attending the University at Albany as part of a partnership program with their Japanese universities.

The Caregivers’ staff on hand included Mary Morrison, Petra Malitz, Linda Miller, Sue Griffiths, and Carol LaFleur. The Community Caregivers volunteers involved were Andrea and Frank Saragaglia, Tom Morrison, and Nellie and Greg Goutos.

Also, we would like to thank the manager at the Omni Senior complex, Sandy Murphy, for all her support. A special thank-you is due to Mary McGann, an Omni resident who for years has worked on many of the details for the annual event, serving as our on-site coordinator.

Most of the food for the dinner was donated by local restaurants, with thanks to Bountiful Bread, and especially The 99 Restaurant. Also, thank you to Stewart’s Shops for its contribution of several items.  

Raffle prizes were generously donated by local businesses, including Robinson’s Hardware, Candy Kraft, The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Carman Wine & Liquor, Marotta’s Towne Pizza, the Bamboo Chinese Restaurant, and the Corner Ice Cream Store. Also contributing were, The Altamont Enterprise, Price Chopper/Market 32, Hannaford Supermarket, and Stewart’s Shops.

Also supporting the event in various ways were St. Matthew’s Church in Voorheesville and the Altamont Reformed Church.

A special acknowledgement and thank-you goes to the several board members and staff members who supported the event, either by their time or by their financial contributions toward some of the food and raffle items.

****

Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Our funding is derived in part from the Albany County Department for Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the United States Administration on Aging. To find out more about our services, as well as volunteer opportunities, please visit www.communitycaregivers.org or call us at 518-456-2898.

Editor’s note: Greg Goutos is a Community Caregivers’ volunteer who has run the annual dinner at Omni since its inception.

Location:

The Village Movement that has spread across the country with residents helping each other as they age to remain living in their homes and community is making strides in the Capital District. This grassroots effort usually includes forming a not-for-profit membership organization to offer services, programs, and social events that older adults value; typically, some or all of the offerings are provided by volunteers.

Bethlehem Neighbors, for residents of the town of Bethlehem, was relaunched in February at a gathering at the Bethlehem Public Library attended by over 40 people. A second public informational meeting for Bethlehem Neighbors will be held on May 15 in the evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the library.   

Bethlehem Neighbors originally was formed in the Colonial Acres neighborhood in Bethlehem and became inactive. Community Caregivers has provided support and assistance to re-develop Bethlehem Neighbors as a town-wide organization with a new slate of officers elected.

The new officers are still working on organizational development issues including membership criteria and developing committees to address needs such as home repair, health education, and other issues.   Community Caregivers and Senior Services of the Town of Bethlehem are working with Bethlehem Neighbors to support its activities and make sure to coordinate their services.

Meanwhile, Community Caregivers and other organizations have been meeting in the city of Albany to promote the development of the village concept there. Meetings have been held for several months with representatives of various neighborhoods and senior organizations to try and enhance support for persons in all neighborhoods.

Select areas of the city offer village-type support to older residents. For example, Senior Services of Albany has developed a Village in Livingston School Apartments on Northern Boulevard, which is a former middle school. The Whitehall-New Scotland area has state funding for a NNORC or Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community, where there is a higher concentration of older residents.

In nearby counties, there are villages developing in the Clifton Park area with Shenendehowa Neighbors, northern Columbia County and a new effort has started in Niskayuna. The Albany Guardian Society has received funding from the State Office for the Aging to launch a Village Technical Assistance Center to provide support to local communities looking to explore how to develop a village.

The Albany Guardian Society also hosts the Capital Region Villages Collaborative, which meets bimonthly and is open for those interested in the Village Movement locally; please call 518-434-4120 for more information.

****

Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Our funding is derived in part from the Albany County Department for Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the United States Administration on Aging. To find out more about our services, as well as volunteer opportunities, please visit www.communitycaregivers.org or call us at 518-456-2898

Editor’s note: Michael Burgess is a program consultant for Community Caregivers.

Location:

Community Caregivers serves individuals who need help to stay independent at home and connected to their communities. Our model of service relies upon volunteers to carry out our mission of neighbor helping neighbor throughout communities in Albany County.

What does the mission look like on a daily basis?

It depends upon the need of the person requesting our services. For example, in one instance, we have assigned a volunteer to visit and reminisce with an elderly man whose only other company is the television.

In another case, a volunteer regularly shops for a woman who is homebound but wants her grocery list completed with care and personal attention to her preferences.

Yet another woman with multiple health challenges and no family, relies upon our volunteer drivers to get to regular medical appointments; she enjoys the time to chat and share stories along the way.

We have dozens of examples where simple acts make life better for those around us. Transportation represents about 60 percent of the services we provide throughout the year. Visits, calls, shopping, and other services make up the other 40 percent.

Our professional staff carefully matches our clients with vetted volunteers. We do not charge for the services we offer.

Now, why do you need to know this?

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve.” We agree; everyone can do something to help. We hope that there is a way that you might be inspired to help us help others. How?

— Volunteer. You can help by becoming a volunteer or spreading the word to someone you know would like to volunteer. Our volunteer sessions are held twice monthly; we offer many ways to volunteer. One is sure to be something you would enjoy;

— Ask us out! Please invite us to speak to your civic or faith group to talk about our mission and volunteer opportunities;

— Donate to our organization. We rely upon donations and grants and welcome donations throughout the year. We host popular fundraising events, including a golf tournament in June and a gala in November.

If you are a talented local artist, perhaps you would like to donate to our silent auction. Local businesses can help too.

Recently, we asked a longtime volunteer why she volunteers with Community Caregivers and she said, “It is very rewarding to help our neighbors. Our clients are very appreciative of our services and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my years of volunteering with Community Caregivers.”

If you would like to reap the rewards of volunteering, please register for a New Volunteer Orientation. While anyone age 18 or older may attend and there is no obligation to sign up as a volunteer, we do ask that you register.

Our early spring schedule follows:

— Thursday, March 7, at 1 p.m.;

— Thursday, March 14, at 9 a.m.;

— Tuesday, March 26, at 1 p.m.; and

— Tuesday, April 2, at noon.

Sessions, except for March 14, will be in our Guilderland office at 2021 Western Ave., Suite 104. On March 14, our morning session will be over a cup of coffee in Delmar.

For more information and to register, please call 518-456-2898 or send a message to  volunteer@communitycaregivers.org.

Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Editor’s note: Linda Miller is the Outreach and Education coordinator for Community Caregivers.

Location:

Ellen Howie is recognized by Congressman Paul Tonko as she and her husband, Dick, were honored for their service to Community Caregivers — they have volunteered since 1995 — and for their 60th wedding anniversary. Dick Howie was ill the evening of the gala and couldn’t attend.

Community Caregivers, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enabling individuals of all ages to maintain their independence, dignity, and quality of life within their homes and communities, has announced its 24th annual gala raised $68,000.

Held Nov. 17 at Albany Country Club in Voorheesville, the gala was attended by more than 165 people.

The evening featured silent and live auctions and a wine-and-dine pull. Greg Floyd, news anchor at CBS 6 Albany, served as this year’s master of ceremonies. The board of directors wishes to thank gala sponsors Adirondack Environmental Services, Albany Med, Ayco Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, MVP Health Care, Dr. Judith Mysliborski, New York Business Development Corporation, and United Group of Companies.

At the gala, Congressman Paul Tonko, a Democrat representing the Capital Region, presented a proclamation to Community Caregivers Advisory Board member Ellen Howie. She and her husband, Dick, have volunteered with the organization since 1995. The couple also recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

During the event, the board presented the Joseph A. Bosco Community Service award to the Capital Financial Planning Charitable Foundation. The Foundation was started in 2009 by Todd Slingerland, president and chief financial officer of Capital Financial Planning, a registered advisory investment firm located in Guilderland.

The foundation has helped to bolster the many efforts of not-for-profit organizations, including those dedicated to fighting disease and hunger, enhancing education and youth development, supporting veterans and the elderly, and working to address problems such as domestic violence and homelessness.

Each year, the foundation raises funds through its golf outing and selects a primary beneficiary to receive donations and grants. In 2018, the foundation selected Community Caregivers.

Editor’s note: Jayson White is a Community Caregivers board member and chairs its public relations committee.

Location:

November is Family Caregivers’ Month. As we celebrate Thanksgiving and usher in a season of holidays from now to the new year, it’s important to recognize that this can be a tough time of year for family caregivers. We encourage families to draw upon community resources, like Community Caregivers, and to adjust family traditions to keep the holidays joyful and meaningful.  

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who has been a lifelong champion for family caregivers, stated: “There are only four kinds of people in the world — those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.”

Even though caregiving is a universal experience, we feel so alone. Families often try to cope without a lot of support.

And, primary caregivers often deny the need for help, thinking, “If I were just a better spouse (or daughter, or son), I could do this without ‘outside’ help.” However, caregiving is a marathon, not a sprint, so family caregivers need to pace themselves and guard their own mental and physical health.

And, believe it or not, for the person receiving care, socializing with someone outside the family can be refreshing and renew their interest in life.

In our local area, Community Caregivers has been supporting individuals, families, and caregivers for over two decades. Our caring volunteers offer respectful assistance.

Volunteers offer rides for those who do not drive; it’s a one-on-one service in a volunteer’s own car.  Many of our volunteers seek to connect with the older residents of the community, so they offer friendly visits and regular phone calls. And our volunteers do those practical things like grocery-store runs that make living at home possible.

Community Caregivers staff do the “matching” of older adults to volunteer services. Please call us; there is no obligation simply to check out what Community Caregivers offers. In fact, thanks to our volunteers, our services are offered without a charge.

Our holidays are also bolstered by family traditions and high expectations for the perfect time as epitomized in the Hallmark commercials. Yet as families change, traditions demand that we adapt.

I see this in my own family. Each Thanksgiving, I look forward to my mother’s apple pie at our holiday table. For the past several years, however, the pies would not be baked without my sister’s assistance. It’s still Mom’s apple pie and we honor whatever contribution she makes to their creation, even though she can no longer stand at a kitchen counter or take hot food from an oven.

Family members who assist our elders know about creating new routines and altering old ones to help their loved one live life to the fullest each day. This holiday season, it’s incumbent upon those family members who live at a distance and may not have seen Mom or Dad in months to understand that the local caregiving family member is doing his or her best.

No doubt it’s a long ways from perfect. It’s common that Mom or Dad reject assistance that clearly is needed. It’s difficult to graciously accept the help of others after a lifetime of independence.

So, for those of us gathering this holiday season, it’s vital to stay flexible, communicate with compassion, and — above all — keep a sense of humor. This year, as we savor a slice of Mom’s apple pie, we will enjoy each other’s company and our new family traditions that make the holidays work for everyone.

Happy Thanksgiving from Community Caregivers to you and your family.

Editor’s note: Linda Miller is  the Outreach and Education coordinator for community Caregivers.

Location:

Community Caregivers, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enabling individuals of all ages to maintain their independence, dignity and quality of life within their homes and communities, will hold its 24th annual gala on Saturday, Nov. 17 at Albany Country Club at 300 Wormer Road in Voorheesville. This year’s gala theme is Helping Hands, Caring Hearts.

The evening will begin with cocktails at 6 p.m., with dinner and silent and live auctions at 7 p.m. The gala’s popular wine-and-dine pull will also be featured. Greg Floyd, news anchor for CBS 6 Albany, will again serve as this year’s master of ceremonies. The board of directors thanks gala sponsors Adirondack Environmental Services, Albany Med, Ayco Charitable Foundation, and Bank of America.

The board is pleased to announce the Joseph A. Bosco Community Service award will be presented to the Capital Financial Planning Charitable Foundation. The foundation was started in 2009 by Todd Slingerland, president and chief executive officer of Capital Financial Planning, a registered advisory investment firm located in Guilderland.

The Foundation has helped to bolster the many efforts of not-for-profit organizations, including those dedicated to fighting disease and hunger, enhancing education and youth development, supporting veterans and the elderly, and working to address problems such as domestic violence and homelessness.

Through its annual golf tournament held the third Monday in May at Albany Country Club, the foundation raises funds for donations and grants, selecting a primary beneficiary each year. In 2018, the foundation selected Community Caregivers. Past primary beneficiaries have included Ronald McDonald House (through the Amazing Gracie’s Gift Foundation), YMCA Circle of Champs, STRIDE Adaptive Sports, Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital, Ellis Medicine/Bellevue Women’s Heart Health Center, and Brave Will Foundation.

Ellen Kaufman, gala committee chairwoman, and her committee invite the community to attend and pay tribute to the Joseph Bosco awardee. Tickets are $125 per person. For ticket information, please call 518-456-2898. And to learn more about Community Caregivers, visit www.communitycaregivers.org.

Editor’s note: Regina Dubois  is a Community Caregivers’ board member.

Location:

This week — Sept. 22 to Sept. 28 — marks National Falls Prevention Week. It corresponds with the start of the fall season.

At Community Caregivers, our mission is to help people stay independent as they age. Staying active and leaving the house to take part in community activities is integral to living a full life. And there are safe ways to do so if you are at risk for a fall.

We know that a fall can prove to be a game-changer for otherwise active older adults. However, older adults can take proactive steps to prevent falls.

This week, we offer some ideas for staying active and walking safely. Our resource is the well-regarded Fall Prevention Center of Excellence.

If you are walking outdoors in your neighborhood to stay active or traveling, you can reduce your risk of falls by taking some sensible steps:

— Be aware of where and when you walk: In the evenings, walk where there is plenty of light to help you see where you are going. Carry a flashlight to light the way and, this time of year, look for fallen leaves that might be slippery.

Watch out for inevitable cracks in sidewalks, holes, and uneven sidewalk levels. Of course, be extra careful during and after rainy or snowy weather. Wet surfaces will be slippery.

You might not think of your eyesight, but make sure to wear the correct eyewear while walking. Bifocals or reading glasses make it harder to see hazards on the ground. Wearing sunglasses on bright days will reduce glare;

— Stay active and safe: When walking for exercise, consider going to well-maintained places such as the track at a local high school or, in inclement weather, the shopping mall. Find or create your own walking team; walk in pairs or groups so you can alert each other of potential hazards as well as enjoy each other’s company. Wear shoes with firm soles and low heels when exercising; and

— Travel safely: Always take your time; hurrying across streets or rushing to catch a bus or train puts you at risk of falling. When climbing outdoor steps or riding public transportation, use the available handrails and move slowly.

If traveling by car, you should use extra caution walking across parking lots and in parking garages. Be aware of curbs, car stops, and changes in elevation. When crossing the street, walk in crosswalks and use curb cuts or ramps when they are present. Stop at islands in the middle of the street when available and wait for the next walk sign.

For more good ideas to prevent falls, you can check online at www.stopfalls.org.

Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Our funding is derived in part from the Albany County Department for Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the United States Administration on Aging. To find out more about our services, as well as volunteer opportunities, please visit www.communitycaregivers.org or call us at 518-456-2898.

Editor’s note: Linda Miller is the Outreach and Education coordinator for the Community Caregivers.

Location:

Pages