Community caregiving grants show need is great

According to the Journal on Housing for the Elderly, some 70 percent of seniors spend the rest of their life in the place where they celebrated their 65th birthday.

Federal, state, and local governments have recognized for years that the senior population will be expanding and needing more services. More recently, they have realized the economic repercussions for our communities of both the cost of nursing homes and the decrease in the tax base when seniors leave their homes.

Community Caregivers was recently awarded two significant grants, as well as some smaller ones, to continue bringing non-medical caregiving services to seniors and disabled people trying to stay in their homes.

For the second year in a row, Community Caregivers has been awarded a New York State Department of Health grant for $100,000 to continue bringing non-medical caregiving services to residents of both Albany and the Altamont/Hilltowns areas. 

This $100,000 grant is a continuation of the Department of Health grant that Caregivers was awarded last year for a project created to help older people in the community stay in their homes and avoid nursing-home admissions or readmissions.

Things as simple as help to the grocery store or doctors’ appointments and a reassurance phone call are often times what can keep a senior independent longer.

Additionally, The William Gundry Broughton Foundation awarded Community Caregivers a $10,000 grant to continue to expand and cover current services.  The Broughton Foundation has awarded grants to Caregivers in the past, and also recognizes the needs of seniors in Albany. 

Smaller grants were also received from local donors — The Swyer Foundation and Hannay Reels.

In Albany County, the population over age 65 is approximately 60,000, with over 18,000 seniors owning their own homes. There are 20,000 people with disabilities over age 60 in Albany County, according to the Capital District Regional Planning Council. 

The Community Caregivers service area includes the towns of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Berne, Knox, and New Scotland, but has also increased to Voorheesville, and has seen demand from the city of Albany as well.

In 2013, Community Caregivers provided 4,114 client services to almost 400 clients, using the skills of the 230 volunteers.  Services include friendly visits, transportation, help with chores, help with shopping, and more. Community Caregivers has been in existence for 20 years, and is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Editor’s note: Kathy Burbank is the executive director of Community Caregivers.