Established in 2008, the objective of NY Connects was to decrease costs and increase effectiveness of long term care in New York State by helping New Yorkers and their caregivers make better informed decisions about their long term care. Niagara County was one of the first to adopt NY Connects in 2008 but concerns about funding prevented the Niagara Office for the Aging from full participation until Genewick joined the agency.
One of the critical elements of NY Connects is the Long Term Care Advisory Council within each county’s NY Connects program. The members of the council work as one to address inefficiencies and service gaps in order to promote change in the way services are delivered.
“It’s the future of long-term care, partnering with other organizations,”
Niagara County’s council is comprised of a dozen individuals and professionals representing a wide array of social services and human service agencies and programs that serve the aging and disabled populations in Niagara County, including People, Inc., Headway of WNY, Kaleida Health-DeGraff Memorial Hospital, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and Independent Living of Niagara County, among others.
New York State has formally submitted a request for an amendment to the Section 1115 Partnership Plan Waiver to allow the state to reinvest up to $10 billion of $17.1 billion in federal savings generated by reforms made by Governor Cuomo’s Medicaid Redesign Team, and the waiver includes funding for the expansion of NY Connects.
The NY Connects funding would provide needed support for expansion and enhancement of New York’s Aging and Disability Resource (ADRC) also known as NY Connects. The investment would roll out over the five year period with $10 million set aside for the first year and $18.4 million for each of the remaining four years.
Before joining the Niagara County Office for the Aging, Genewick was Director of Sales for a senior living community in Buffalo and before that was in pharmaceutical sales. His motivation to work on behalf of older adults prompted him to join the Area Agency on Aging in 2011, one of 20 new directors who’ve taken over the reins at Area Agencies on Aging in New York over the last 24 months.
Niagara County has seen an overall increase in the senior population and a decrease in the overall population. This will bring challenges down the road, which is why Genewick brought back NY Connects to Niagara County. He was on the NY Connects Long Term Care Advisory Council as a representative of a senior living community when he joined the office for the aging.
“The dynamics of the family are changing. The parents who are living here now – their kids may have moved away so as their need for caregivers rises we see a void that has to be filled,” Genewick said. “It’s coming as no surprise, so our reconnection with NY Connects has been really positive for Niagara County.”
There are a lot of benefits to this job, Genewick said, with the biggest being that he’s in a position to help. “People are living longer, not necessarily healthier. There are chronic conditions and medical conditions they have to deal with. In the future it’s going to be imperative that people be as independent as possible,” Genewick said. “That’s where we come in.”
The New York State Association of Area Agencies on Aging represents the state’s local offices for the aging established under the federal Older Americans Act to respond to the needs of Americans age 60 and over. The Association provides professional development and education that includes the annual Aging Concerns Unite Us (ACUU) conference, webinars, regional caregiver forums and a fall Leadership Institute. The Association works to strengthen and expand long term services and supports to individuals so they may age in place in the community. A core philosophy is to work in collaboration with other agencies, which is accomplished through the Aging Alliance, a coalition of organizations representing Older New Yorkers. Looking to the future, the Board of Directors has approved a new name, the Association on Aging in New York, to create a more cohesive and inclusive network to address the diverse needs of an aging population, as well as individuals of all ages needing long term services and supports. For more information, go to http://www.nysaaaa.org The new web site will soon be operational at www.agingny.org