Happy Summer Everyone!
Anyone who knows me knows that Summer is my favorite time of the year. Now that the weather is warmer, I can be outside and not stuck in my house. This year is even better because I feel like I have been stuck in my house for 2 years. I just want to encourage everyone to take advantage of the beautiful weather and the beautiful area we live in and get out to enjoy all that this area has to offer.
There are free concert series this summer in Newark, Sodus Point and Rose. There are festivals and farmer’s markets and fairs. There are parks and beaches. A lot of work has been done along the Erie Canal to make the trail more accessible so even if you use a wheelchair or walker, you can still take a stroll along the canal. The county and its towns and villages have parks that are free to go to and have a variety of activities. Many of the area schools open their doors to allow the community to use their facilities (pools and gyms and tracks). Several towns have community centers with Silver Sneakers/Silver and Fit Classes. As roads are fixed, more attention is being paid to making them safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Getting outside, especially this time of year makes sense for so many reasons. Sunshine and outdoors make you feel better, both physically and emotionally (this has been researched and proven—not just me being biased). You can use it as an opportunity to be around people (or if you don’t like people, you can use it to stay away from people). Exercise and physical activity also work to improve both your health and mental health. If we are going to be living longer (half of us might see 100), we might as well do everything we can to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. It is never too late to take steps toward being healthier.
If you need information on activities in your community, you can call your town offices, Wayne County Tourism 315-946-5469 (ask for the Visitor’s Guide—even if you live here) waynecountytourism.com, check out your local paper, or just go for a walk. If you like to play with technology, there are a number of apps that you can get (some free and some with subscription) that let you track your steps and/or distance with your phone.
I hope to see you out and about this summer soaking up the sun and taking in the sights!
Spring is upon us and we are as busy as ever. The New Year saw us bidding farewell in retirement to our longtime office support staffer, Pam Marsteiner. Pam was a dedicated employee for 32 years and she is missed. The new year also allowed us to welcome a new Principal account Clerk, Jacqui Hill to our staff. We are super excited to have her join us. We extend congratulations to our previous Principal Account clerk, Stephanie Wilson, who was promoted within the county.
Other news in the office is that our longtime partner in home delivered meals, Home Meal Service, Inc. (aka Meals on Wheels Wayne County) is branching out on their own to focus on their private pay business. We wish them well, but that leaves us, along with The Arc Wayne, actively recruiting volunteers to deliver meals to our clients. Anyone who is interested can call The Arc Wayne at 315-879-8350.
We continue to get many calls from people within the Wayne County community who need help and information. Last year was a banner year for several of our programs that reached all-time highs in volume of services provided. Our Home Delivered and Congregate dining programs, as well as Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) and NY Connects were the busiest they have ever been. We are getting back to all the calls just as quickly as we can. We are shuffling around staff and job duties and cross training to try to be sure we get back to everyone as quickly as humanly possible. We appreciate your patience.
Something to look forward to this summer, (besides no snow!) we are working in partnership with Workforce Development’s summer youth Employment program to be a worksite for a youth to help to teach technology to our older adults. teen
“Kids these days” are very tech savvy and would be able to help hook up a computer, program a DVR, set up a phone or tablet, teach about the different features of our phones and devices, etc. So let us know if you would like some technology assistance this summer. If you have been putting off buying that smart phone or fitness watch or other device, give us a call so we can work on scheduling you some help from a local
It is only March (as I write this) and already we have been interviewing lifeguards for Sodus Point Beach. We are excited to be able to open supervised swimming early this year, at least on a part time basis. Be sure to check out the beach section of the newsletter for more information.
Hope you all are doing well. Happy Spring!
Workforce Shortage Receiving National Attention
Politicians are just now finally taking notice of something that we have known for years. There is a huge shortage of workers in the home care industry. Anyone who has ever needed even a little bit of outside help to come into their home for personal care or chore assistance can tell you the struggle of finding dependable and available help. The fact that these workers who are entrusted with the care of our beloved friends and relatives frequently get paid less than fast food and grocery store workers for a job that may be intrinsically rewarding, but is far from glamorous certainly has something to do with it. Unpredictable schedule, transportation, little to no benefits, and few promotional options are other reasons. But as those of us who have cared for a relative or friend can tell you, that help is so vitally important, not just for our loved one’s health but also for our own health as caregivers.
The trend in recent years has been to promote “Consumer Directed Care” putting the responsibility of finding and training a caregiver on the older adult or disabled person and their family. While this works well in some cases, especially when it can provide some income to a relative who may have stopped working to care for a family member, it is definitely not for everyone. Chances are, if you know someone that could serve as your caregiver, they would likely already be providing care. The wages for this hovers right at minimum wage so it does not provide a great deal of income and puts a lot of responsibility on the senior to hire, fire, train, and schedule aides including back up coverage.
The NYS legislature has held several hearings on the matter and has entertained a bill to increase the minimum wage for home care workers. The federal government has included funding in the Build Back Better legislation to improve and expand in-home services, including increasing pay, access to education, and creating promotional opportunities for home care workers. Hopefully this movement focused on home care workforce will spill over into other related areas of care like nursing home or assisted living workers who do largely the same job but without the driving and workers in congregate care homes who provide this same care for the disabled population. This attention is long overdue. Home care aides are not the only hard people to find. Nurses, doctors and specialists, especially in a rural area are becoming harder to find while the need for these professionals is growing.
Our office is fortunate to have the support of the county board of supervisors to hire our own aides to work with the clients that we serve. This has helped greatly to address the waitlists that we had for services. Our office also maintains resumes of people who are willing to be hired privately to help out in the home. If you would like more information about that or if you would like for us to keep your resume on file, please give us a call and someone from our NY Connects program can assist you. If you are providing care or assistance to a loved one and want to access some of the information that professionally trained caregivers receive, try our new caregiver website: WayneCaregivers.trualta.com. If you are facing challenges and want to talk through options with someone, give us a call and our NY Connects program can steer you in the right direction.