Welcome to the Onondaga County
Office for Aging
Department of Adult & Long Term Care Services
Aging Services Mission:
To support a comprehensive system of services for senior citizens, caregivers and families through advocacy, planning, coordination, direct services and program funding. Our services are helping families and individuals remain safe and productive members of their communities, building a stronger Onondaga County for all of us.
Our Long Term Goals Include:
• Increase access to a comprehensive and coordinated system of services for older people, (especially those in greatest social and economic need) in order to enable them to remain in a safe and appropriate living environment.
• Develop and support preventive health and wellness activities to promote healthy older adults.
• Strengthen our leadership and advocacy role, and recognition, in the community as the primary source for information on programs and services, major trends, problems and causes, best practices, and funding resources relating to older adults.
Peter J. Headd, Deputy Commissioner and Executive Director, Onondaga County Office for Aging is pleased to announce the 2016 Older Americans Month Onondaga County Award Recipients.
These awards will be given at the 2016 Celebration Luncheon for Onondaga County Seniors that will be held on Thursday, May 19, 2016 at Drumlins, 800 Nottingham Road, Syracuse, NY. Registration, for Onondaga County Seniors, age 60 or older; registration ended May 6th.
Bob Luongo, of Syracuse, NY, also known by his work name "Bob Barker" was selected as the 2016 Onondaga County Senior Citizen of the year. He lost his courageous battle with cancer on April 29th. He will be honored posthumously at the Celebration Luncheon on May 19th. He was born in 1939 and grew up on the North Side of Syracuse. He built a hot dog cart by hand and took to the Syracuse street corners in 1981. He had multiple hot carts throughout the city of Syracuse and two indoor restaurants - one on Park Street at the Regional Market and one on New Court Ave in Lyncourt which he operated with his wife Jan and five daughters. He adored his thirteen grandchildren and one great grandchild due in July. He was a hot dog vendor by trade, but his first concern was always for those, in need. He was a smiling, friendly face who was kind and generous to everyone.
Bob continued to participate in local community events, parades and visiting nursing home resident's despite his own health issues. His attitude and spirit were amazing. He said he would always continue to volunteer his services and time to our great community and he did. He believed that today's generation will inherit the future and his being a good role model could only help.
Vinh Dang, of Syracuse, NY, was an officer in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, fighting against communism, alongside Americans for over ten years. After the fall of Saigon, he spent over seven years in a Communist
re-education concentration camp because of his association with the United States. When he was released from prison in June of 1996 he was allowed to come to Syracuse, New York through the Humanitarian Organization (HO,) together with his wife and children. He is committed to enhancing the lives of all he encounters using many different skill sets. Mr. Dang served as a Neighborhood Advisor for almost seven years and when he retired in 2007 he took a volunteer position as advisor for the Community Executive Committee where he continues to work to better the community we all live in.
Mr. Dang worked with the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County to grant a proclamation to recognize the former South Vietnamese flag as a symbol of freedom and for those who fought alongside America in the Vietnam War to be recognized for their service and sacrifice. He is also a founding member of the Vietnamese Senior Association. His credo is "For others first, then for own." He lives this each and every day. He makes himself available to anyone who needs help. He is now 86 years old, is a caregiver to his
frail wife Phuong Nguyen; they've been together for more than half a century, yet he still gets out daily to assist whenever and wherever he can.
Diane Weiermann, of Camillus, NY, has been employed by AccessCNY (formerly Enable) for 30 years. In her current role as Program Director of Outreach Services Diane has touched the lives of hundreds of seniors living in Onondaga County. Although AccessCNY primarily serves individuals with disabilities, the Outreach Department can help anyone, of any age, who requires assistance with a one time or ongoing need due to illness, injury, or just the normal aging process. Diane’s commitment to seniors is unwavering. Once she connects with a senior in need, she becomes his or her strongest advocate. Her primary goal is to have each senior live in his or her own home for as long as it is safely possible.
Diane helps seniors enroll for benefits, find doctors; secure home repairs or environmental modifications; find legal representation, and often accompanies individuals to medical appointments. Diane stays involved until every need is addressed and the person is comfortable and satisfied with the changes in his or her life. Once someone is on Diane’s “list,” that is where they stay. Months later, Diane will call just to say hello and may even pop in for a visit. Diane’s warm and engaging personality is always welcome. People do not forget her laugh or how respectfully she has treated them. Diane’s special talent is how intently she listens, empathizes, and then puts a plan into action.
Helping Seniors Stretch Their Dollars
On Monday February 29th from 5-6:30 pm the Office for Aging was highlighted on CNY Central during a call-in segment hosted by Laura Hand. The purpose was to highlight the products and services we offer that can help seniors stretch their dollars.
Pete Headd, Deputy Commissioner Onondaga County Department of Adult & Long Term Care Services, Executive Director, Office for Aging, JoAnne Spoto Decker, Director, Community Services and Long Term Care, Maria Mahar, Project Director, Nutrition Services and Registered Dietician, Larry Mathews, Program Coordinator, Community Services and HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) and Myrna Koldin, Aging Services Specialist, HIICAP (Health Insurance Information Counseling & Assistance Program) worked the phones. They rang, non-stop, with area seniors eager to find answers to their concerns.
Click on the link below to view a clip of the on-air interviews. (courtesy of CNY central.com)
Office for Aging Helps Seniors Save Money
2016 Heap Outreach CNYCentral, Laura Hand Interview
(Click to see Interview. Courtesy of CNYCentral)
2016 HEAP Senior Outreach (Click for Locations)
2015 HEAP Senior Outreach (Click for Locations)
Lisa D. Alford, Commissioner, Onondaga County Department of Adult & Long Term Care Services, is pleased to announce a series of outreach events designed to assist seniors in Onondaga County with applying for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP.)
HEAP provides limited subsidies for heating and utility costs. According to Lisa D. Alford, “We know there are many seniors in our community who could use help paying their energy bills, and we will be visiting community centers and libraries, throughout the county, to reach them. Remember, HEAP assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and you need to file an application soon!”
The Office for Aging will be holding community outreach sessions at a variety of locations throughout the city and county to help seniors age 60, or older, and income eligible, apply for HEAP benefits. Appointments are not needed, and if you are not able to attend any of the outreach sessions, you may call (315) 435-2362 and request that an application be mailed. Assistance will be offered at the locations listed above (click on the blue link).
HEAP Outreach Weekend on Today - Interview with Larry Mathews Program Manager and Laura Hand. Video Courtesy of CNYCentral
Please click, on the link below, to download the Office for Aging 2016 Executive Summary Plan for Services for Older Residents of Onondaga County.
2016 Executive Summary Plan- Office for Aging Services
You are invited to attend one of our Annual Public Hearings to help us plan the future of aging services in Onondaga County.
Helping Seniors Stretch Their Dollars. Office for Aging Staff hosts a televised call-in show for our area Seniors. Click on the link below the photo to view the highlights.
Office for Aging On NBC Channel 3 with Laura Hand 10/19/15
Lisa Alford and Myrna Koldin Discuss the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid.
August 2, 2015 on Newsmakers with Dan Cummings.
Heat Safety Tips For Seniors:
Surviving the Heat - CNY Central Laura Hand Interview
Featuring Maria Mahar - Office for Aging, Director Nutrition Services
Heat Safety Tips for Older Adults
Onondaga County Senior Centers
Executive Director, Lisa Alford - Interview: Weekend on Today with Laura Hand
May 17th, 2015
Lisa Alford Weekend on Today May 17. 2015 (Credit: NBC3/Weekend Today in Central NY)
Celebration Luncheon for Onondaga County Seniors:
To commemorate Older Americans Month in May, we hosted a luncheon on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at the CNY Regional Market. Onondaga County Executive, Joanne Mahoney and Office For Aging Executive Director, Lisa Alford, hold the Proclamation declaring May as Older Americans Month.
This year we were also pleased to recognize three Onondaga County residents who have distinguished themselves in each of their respective areas.
This year’s recipient of the Flanders Memorial Caregiver of the Year. Carol Dieffenderfer. Carol is a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. Her husband has Alzheimer’s disease. She cared for her dear Jim for many years, in their home, until his needs became far greater than she could handle alone. Jim now resides at Elderwood and Carol visits every day and still serves him lovingly and beautifully.
She is concerned about other caregivers, as well, and is always there to listen and support them. Carol’s credo is, “You need to take care of yourself, too.” She is a member of the Northside Baptist Church and is active in their Seniors Ministry.
Carol is a loving example to her neighbors, friends, and church family of what a loving wife should be; in sickness and in health.
Our Senior Services Professional of the Year. Robert “Bob” O’Connor worked as the first Director of Community Services for the Onondaga County Office for Aging, & for the Department of Aging and Youth, for more than two decades. A knowledgeable and dedicated leader, Bob was the catalyst and implementer of many programs and services that are still offered to older adults today.
Among his finest achievements was the implementation of the Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP), which provides job retraining for income eligible individual’s age 55+.
Bob also conceptualized and implemented the Neighborhood Advisor Program. The Neighborhood Advisor Program is a nationally award-winning information/assistance and outreach program designed to assist people with access to needed services. Bob’s idea of good customer service was providing it where people live and thrive. Home visits and cultural competence are the cornerstones of the program, now in its 35th year of operation.
Literally, thousands of seniors have had access to services in a respectable manner, a virtue that is a cornerstone to Bob’s long and successful career.
Upon retirement, Bob became a HIICAP volunteer and he is an active volunteer at his church and with the Fayetteville Senior Center. Bob is a vital part of the local AARP chapter, serving as President for a 3-year term and being the legislative chair. His remarkable impact on aging services in Onondaga County continues, and will remain with us always.
Our Senior Citizen of the Year. Dr. Edward “Ed” Stabler.
Dr. Stabler is a Syracuse University Professor Emeritus in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He, and his wife Helen, raised four children and enjoy their six grandchildren in Liverpool, N.Y.
Ed began volunteering, over thirty years ago, because he felt his life was blessed and he wanted to give back. He’s worked with Auburn prison inmates, those with developmental or literacy disabilities, on the Contact Hotline and since 2011 as a Hospice Family Caregiver.
Ed began, in part, at Hospice to help himself be more sensible about aging issues and has come to appreciate the importance of helping others with end-of-life concerns.
He gives whole-heartedly, agreeing often at the last minute, to sit vigil with an actively dying person he may have never met before. He often shares a touring history of Syracuse via photos and stories. He is present with them and for them. He is a gift to Onondaga County and the world at large.