As older adults in Western New York continue to age, Catholic Charities of Buffalo is an available resource offering a range of services to keep individuals healthy, engaged and independent.
One service option is Project HOPE (Helping Older People Excel), an in-home care coordination program that provides assessment, linkage and referral to those 60 years of age or older residing in Erie County who have a mental health diagnosis and are at risk of out of home placement. For example, if a client needs assistance navigating the application process for Medicaid or finding transportation to appointments, a social worker with the program comes to their home to help.
"We link clients to direct services," explained Jennifer Levesque, Project HOPE program coordinator. "The goal is keeping them as independent as possible in their home."
In-person visits by a Project HOPE social worker take place minimally twice a month, but can vary depending on the situation. There is also contact by phone during the time when there is no face-to-face visit.
"The staff is very dedicated," said Levesque. "They meet the clients where they are, see what they are looking for and then we provide more information as far as what is out there."
Based on an initial needs assessment, clients can also be referred to any of the other 70 services offered by Catholic Charities, including assistance with food and utilities or Ladies of Charity for things like clothing and household goods.
Many of the current 30 clients in the program were referred to Project HOPE from local hospitals or primary care providers, but any individual who meets the age, location and health requirements can receive services. The program can also support a caregiver who is navigating treatment options with a loved one for the first time.
"This program offers that sense of assurance and reassurance," said Levesque.
Other older adult services offered in Erie County by Catholic Charities include Comprehensive Care, an intensive case management program to maximize independence and support caregivers; the Foster Grandparent Program, a volunteer program for income-eligible adults ages 55 and older working with special needs children and youth, which includes a stipend; and A Gathering Place, a supervised day program featuring socialization, meals and activities.
In Genesee County, Catholic Charities offers the Home Visitation Program. Volunteers make weekly visits to homebound individuals age 60 and older for socialization, companionship and assistance with tasks including errands, light yard work or housekeeping. In Orleans County, Catholic Charities' Friendly Phones program offers weekly telephone calls to seniors who are homebound or live alone as a way to help monitor their well-being.
Just about to get under way is the Alzheimer's Disease Caregiver Support Initiative, which will offer a focused, collaborative service network to support and impact caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia across Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara and Wyoming counties. As the most comprehensive human service provider serving Western New York, Catholic Charities makes a difference for people of every faith and ethnicity. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives.
In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assess its clients for other needs to ensure long-term success.
The Better Business Bureau Foundation of Upstate New York recently presented Catholic Charities with the 2015 Torch Award for Philanthropic Excellence, recognizing the organization for employing practices which generate a high level of trust among employees, donors and communities. It also receives the highest-possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for transparency and sound fiscal management, and the highest ratings from the Council on Accreditation for quality service.
For more information about Project HOPE, please call 716-896-6388, ext. 213. To learn more about Catholic Charities go to www.ccwny.org or call 716-856-4494.