Thursday, January 27, 2011

It’s the Cat’s Meow: Free Pet Food Available to Qualified Residents

Posted by: Judy Fink on Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

There’s no doubt that many seniors find tremendous companionship and comfort from their four-legged friends. However, for some, owning pets is a financial burden. Good news! There’s a Pet Food Pantry to supply pet food to economically challenged, disabled and elderly residents in the Hudson Valley. To find out more, contact the Hudson Valley Pet Food Pantry at 914-907-3433 or 914-907-3487.  Located at the American Legion Hall, 27 Legion Drive in Valhalla, the Pantry also accepts donations of dog/cat dry or canned food, birdseed and food for any other domestic animal. Donations can be dropped off at Petco, 324 North Central Avenue in Hartsdale (across the street from Pathmark).

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Getting Around If You Can No Longer Drive

Posted by: Judy Fink on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

In my last blog I talked about how hard it is to know when seniors should no longer drive and convincing them of that reality. Most older adults feel they give up their independence when they give up their car keys. This can be especially true in the suburbs where getting around on public transportation can be daunting. However, many Westchester locales are addressing the issue of senior transportation.

Some towns provide vans to take seniors to doctor appointments, shopping and the senior center. Others offer taxi vouchers. To find out what services are available where you live, check out these Department of Senior Programs and Services guides:  “Older Driver Family Assistance Program”  and “The Directory of Services, Rights and Benefits.” You can also contact your town clerk or Senior Center.

Additionally, Aging in Place Communities, membership organizations to help seniors age in place, are developing throughout Westchester and some are implementing volunteer transportation systems. If there’s one in your area, it might be valuable to become a member in order to access help with transportation needs.

Also, Home Instead Senior Care, a for-profit business, provides drivers who take seniors to appointments, errands, shopping etc., for an hourly rate. For info, call 914-997-0400.

ParaTransit, part of the public bus system, provides disabled persons with transportation at a cost of $4 each way. To qualify, your physician must complete a form.  For more info, click here.   

If you have questions about this information or other concerns, contact me at [email protected].

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Older Adults: To Drive or Not To Drive

Posted by: Judy Fink on Friday, January 14, 2011 at 3:52:20 pm Comments (0)

How to Put the Brakes on Older Drivers

Driving is a BIG ISSUE for many of my senior clients and their families. Recognizing that an older loved one should stop driving and having that discussion can be very difficult. However, there are some helpful tools offered by the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services’ Older Driver Family Assistance Program. Info is available at

We’ve all encountered seniors who shouldn’t be driving. If you see an unsafe driver, there is something you can do. The website above has a form that you can fill out and send to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and DMV will contact that person about taking a road test. If the person doesn’t pass that road test, his/her license will be taken away. One of my clients recently lost her license because she was reported by someone and required to take a road test, which she failed. 

Of course, not all seniors are bad drivers. Burke Rehabilitation Hospital ( or 914-597-2500) offers a wonderful Driver Evaluation Program. Burke doesn’t take the person’s driver’s license away but they do give pointers on how to be a better driver. Burke can also make referrals for adaptive equipment to help drivers who need some assists.

Seniors with dementia, who continue to drive, put themselves as well as others in danger. 

Help in dealing with this situation can be found in Dementia & Driving by the Family Caregiver Alliance. To access the info, go to

If you have questions about this or other senior issues, contact us at [email protected].



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Monday, January 10, 2011

Lighthouse Re-establishes Westchester Services

Posted by: Judy Fink on Monday, January 10, 2011 at 2:11:08 pm Comments (0)

Focusing on Vision Problems

So many people struggle with vision issues as they age that it is great news to learn that Lighthouse International is re-establishing low vision services in White Plains at 95 Church Street (corner of Hamilton Avenue).  

The office provides low vision exams on Wednesdays by appointment and Lighthouse low vision optometrists can determine how patients can best use their remaining sight, prescribe aids such as high-powered glasses, magnifiers or other devices and give instruction on their use.

Other services include: 

--  vision rehab therapy for safe, new ways to manage household tasks

--  orientation and mobility training to avoid falls and injuries

--  training on the latest screen readers, screen magnifiers and software programs

--  emotional support to adjust to vision loss

--  referrals to additional resources at the Lighthouse and other agencies.

To schedule an appointment, call 212-821-9624. For more info about Lighthouse local services, contact Janet Weinstein, Director of Outreach, at 212-821-9214 or [email protected].

For additional info on vision problems, see these recent articles by Jane Brody, Personal Health columnist for The New York Times:

If you have questions about this or other senior issues, contact us at [email protected].


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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Medicare Changes

Posted by: Judy Fink on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 12:30:00 pm Comments (2)

Good News about Changes in Medicare!
Lois Steinberg, Westchester’s  Director of the Medicare Rights Center, recently spoke to WJCS staff about the Medicare piece of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. You’d think that we professionals would be bored with Medicare. Yet no matter how many times you hear about it, you learn something new and understand it better.
Lois focused on 3 important changes:
Preventive Care:  Starting on January 1, Medicare is going to be paying for wellness services.  Many seniors don’t go for checkups because it costs them money.  Now it won’t.  There will be NO deductibles or coinsurance costs for annual wellness visits; mammograms and colonoscopies; diabetes screenings or bone mass testing.  That’s a good thing!

New Enrollment Period Dates:  Starting in 2011, the Medicare Plan Fall Open Enrollment Period will go from October 15 - December 7 with benefits taking effect January 1 the following year.

Phasing out the Medicare Donut Hole:  Now when seniors buy prescriptions they are reimbursed 80% up to a certain amount and then there’s “the doughnut hole,” a gap of a couple of thousand dollars that seniors must pay.  That doughnut hole will be shrinking!  In 2011 there will be a smaller gap so people won’t have to pay as much and when they get to the doughnut hole, discounts will be available.  These discounts will increase each year until 2020 when the doughnut hole will disappear entirely! 

For more info about Medicare and Medicare D (drug coverage) plans, contact the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services   (   or 914-813-6100)  and the Medicare Rights Center  in Westchester (   or 1-800-333-4114).

NOTE:  Senior Benefits Info Centers with volunteers trained to answer questions about Medicare/government benefits are at 4 libraries: 
John C. Hart Memorial Library (Shrub Oak -- 263-7137 )Tuesdays: 10AM-1PM
The Warner Library (Tarrytown  -- 269-7765) Wednesdays: 10AM-1PM
Grinton Will Library (Yonkers -- 269-7138) Tuesdays: 10AM-1PM & Thursdays: 11AM-3PM
Mt. Kisco Public Library (269-7764) Wednesdays: 10AM-1PM


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