Office for the Aging
435 East Henrietta Rd., 3rd Floor, Faith-East
Rochester, NY 14620
Phone: (585) 753-6280
Fax: (585) 753-6455
If you are 60 and over or a family caregiver contact NY Connects/ Lifespan at (585) 325-2800 or (585) 244-8400 for assistance.
See Monroe County webpage for more details.
Cold Weather Safety for Older Adults
Older adults can lose body heat faster than when they were young. Changes in the body that come with aging can make it harder for one to be aware of getting cold. A big chill can turn into a dangerous problem before an older person even knows what's happening.
Hypothermia is what happens when your body temperature gets very low. For an older person, a body temperature of 95°F or lower can cause many health problems, such as a heart attack, kidney problems, liver damage, or worse.
Being outside in the cold, or even being in a very cold house, can lead to hypothermia. Try to stay away from cold places, and pay attention to how cold it is where you are. You can take steps to lower your chance of getting hypothermia.
Here are some tips for keeping warm while you're inside:
- Set your heat to at least 68–70°F. To save on heating bills, close off rooms you are not using. Close the vents and shut the doors in these rooms, and keep the basement door closed. Place a rolled towel in front of all doors to keep out drafts.
- Make sure your house isn't losing heat through windows. Keep your blinds and curtains closed. If you have gaps around the windows, try using weather stripping or caulk to keep the cold air out.
- Dress warmly on cold days even if you are staying in the house. Throw a blanket over your legs. Wear socks and slippers.
- When you go to sleep, wear long underwear under your pajamas, and use extra covers. Wear a cap or hat.
- Make sure you eat enough food to keep up your weight. If you don't eat well, you might have less fat under your skin. Body fat helps you to stay warm.
- Drink alcohol moderately, if at all. Alcoholic drinks can make you lose body heat.
- Ask family or friends to check on you during cold weather. If a power outage leaves you without heat, try to stay with a relative or friend.
You may be tempted to warm your room with a space heater. But, some space heaters are fire hazards, and others can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has information on the use of space heaters.
Bundle Up on Windy, Cold Days
Here are some other tips:
- Dress for the weather if you have to go out on chilly, cold, or damp days.
- Wear loose layers of clothing. The air between the layers helps to keep you warm. Wearing 2 or 3 thinner layers of loose-fitting clothing is warmer than a single layer of thick clothing.
- Put on a hat and scarf. You lose a lot of body heat when your head and neck are uncovered.
- Wear a waterproof coat or jacket if it's snowy.
- Change your clothes right away if they get damp or wet.
Illness, Medicines, and Cold Weather
Some illnesses may make it harder for your body to stay warm.
- Thyroid problems can make it hard to maintain a normal body temperature.
- Diabetes can keep blood from flowing normally to provide warmth.
- Parkinson's disease and arthritis can make it hard to put on more clothes, use a blanket, or get out of the cold.
- Memory loss can cause a person to go outside without the right clothing.
Talk with your doctor about your health problems and how to prevent hypothermia.
Taking some medicines and not being active also can affect body heat. These include medicines you get from your doctor and those you buy over-the-counter, such as some cold medicines. Ask your doctor if the medicines you take may affect body heat. Always talk with your doctor before you stop taking any medication.
Early signs of hypothermia:
- Cold feet and hands
- Puffy or swollen face
- Pale skin
- Shivering (in some cases the person with hypothermia does not shiver)
- Slower than normal speech or slurring words
- Acting sleepy
- Being angry or confused
Later signs of hypothermia:
- Moving slowly, trouble walking, or being clumsy
- Stiff and jerky arm or leg movements
- Slow heartbeat
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Blacking out or losing consciousness
Call 9-1-1 right away if you think someone has warning signs of hypothermia.
Age-Friendly / Livable Community
Our community, like our nation, is aging. This reality is fostering a national and even worldwide movement about how to make communities more age-friendly and more livable for all.
The 2020 Monroe County transition report states “Monroe County should champion the Livable Communities (Age-Friendly) model. A Livable/Age Friendly community is one that is safe and secure, has affordable and appropriate housing and transportation options, and offers supportive community features and services. Once in place, those resources help enhance personal independence, support residents to age in place, and foster engagement in the community’s civic, economic and social life.”
Age-Friendly Communities have Three Characteristics.
1. Age is not a significant barrier to the maintenance of life-long interests and activities.
2. Supports and accommodations exist to enable individuals with disabilities to meet basic health and social needs.
3. Opportunities exist for older adults to develop new sources of fulfillment and engagement.
In partnership with the Rochester/Monroe County Aging Alliance, a plan has been developed. Our goal is to create an inclusive, age-friendly community for all citizens of Monroe County.
Combat Social Isolation
Human beings are social creatures. Our connection to others enables us to survive and thrive. Yet, as we age, many of us are alone more often than when we were younger, leaving us vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness—and related health problems such as cognitive decline, depression, and heart disease.
- Social isolation significantly increases a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
- Social isolation is associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia.
- Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) is associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
- Loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
- Loneliness among heart failure patients is associated with a nearly 4 times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.
Social Isolation Activities
- Board and Card Games – Yahtzee, Scrabble, Solitaire, Concentration and Trivial Pursuit are games that can be played alone, or virtually online. These are areas where working memory functions.
- Puzzles – Puzzles are a great way to pass time, and studies have shown improvements in memory when seniors worked on puzzles for as little as 45 minutes a day, twice per week.
- Brain-Training Computer Games – This can reduce dementia by up to 28%.
- Memory Boxes – Memory boxes are a good way of stimulating and recalling favorite memories. Build a collection of old photos, items reminiscent of work or volunteering, and any objects that mean something and put them in the box to peruse when bored. If someone is especially agitated, looking at these objects may have a calming effect.
- Old movies – Many of us have old home videos or movies featuring family fun or our favorite performers. Furthermore, there are so many television channels and streaming platforms from which to choose, virtually any movie or classic TV show can be found and binged!
- Books – Escape reality by diving into a novel. You probably have a small library from which to choose, so gather a few hard covers or paperbacks and do some reading. If you have an e-reader, consider a new release. Many libraries have curbside pickup or delivery as well.
- Exercise – Chair exercises, walking, riding a stationary bike, yoga, dance, Tai Chi, and almost anything that gets the body moving, will help strengthen muscles and improve mood and mental acuity by increasing oxygen and blood flow to the brain.
- Crafts – Many people love to craft, and crafting can take many different forms. Knitting, needlepoint, painting, stenciling, stringing beads, arranging flowers or making musical instruments are just a few examples of crafts suitable for seniors.
- Music – We all have our favorite tunes, musicians, bands, and genres of music. Turn on your favorite tunes while you’re relaxing, cleaning, playing games, or exercising. Music has a way of soothing the soul!
- Cook – If you enjoy cooking and baking, cook and bake!
- Communicate – Reach out to family, friends, and neighbors to see how they’re doing during this crazy time. The recipient of a call, text, email, letter or card will feel very special and it will be good emotional support for you both!
Check out detailed list of resources and activities that can keep you engaged while you are home
We Excel In Aging Well!
The Monroe County Office for the Aging (MCOFA) was established by the Monroe County Legislature in 1973 and designated by the Federal and State governments as the Area Agency on Aging under Title III of the Older Americans Act for our service area. MCOFA is proud to celebrate over 47+ years of delivering high quality, efficient, and effective long-term care services and supports to meet the changing needs of our community's older adults, caregivers of any age, and individuals with disabilities.
MCOFA is an administrative division within the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the governmental entity authorized to receive and allocate Older Americans Act and state funds for services and supports of community based long-term care. The primary responsibilities of MCOFA focus on planning, advocacy, and coordination activities.
These responsibilities are:
- To develop and implement a consumer-focused comprehensive four-year plan of coordinated services responsive to the priority needs of older persons, caregivers, and persons with disabilities in Monroe County. Services under this plan are delivered either directly by MCOFA, or through community based organizations under contract with Monroe County. This plan is known as the "Area Plan" and MCOFA submits annual updates to the New York State Office for the Aging to meet the changing short and long-term needs of those served in Monroe County.
- To advocate on behalf of the needs of older adults, caregivers, and persons with disabilities. MCOFA does this by monitoring, evaluating, and commenting on policies, programs, and community actions which affect individuals served in Monroe County.
- To coordinate our planning and service activities with other agencies and organizations to promote the most efficient use of existing resources and to promote new and expanded benefits for older adults, caregivers, and persons with disabilities in Monroe County.
- To assist in the transformation of our system to provide flexible services that are person/family centered, strengths-based, culturally competent and evidence-based.
To accomplish these objectives, MCOFA collaborates extensively with other DHS and county divisions, service providers, and community groups. Services are targeted to individuals with the highest social and economic need. An appointed Council for Elders made up of area professionals and consumers advises MCOFA in accordance with Older Americans Act regulations. This Council advises in the following areas:
- Assisting in the development of the Area Plan before submission to the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA);
- Conducting and attending public hearings;
- Representing the interests of older adults (advocacy); and,
- Reviewing and commenting on community policies, programs, and actions affecting older persons with the intent of assuring maximum coordination and responsiveness to older adults.
In 1973, there were 97,000 individuals 60 years of age and older in Monroe County. Today, there are more than 183,969 individuals age 60 and older, and 21% have at least one disability. It is our goal to ensure that Monroe County’s older citizens have access to the programs and services they need to remain independent and “Excel in Aging Well.”
Office For The Aging Goals
- Encourage safe, active, and independent lifestyles with timely and responsive systems of quality community-based services and supports;
- Promote the rights of older adults and prevent their abuse, neglect and exploitation;
- Empower older adults, individuals with disabilities, their families, and the public to make informed decisions about, and be able to access, existing health, long-term services and supports and other service options;
- Promote job training and readiness skills for older adults who want to remain in the workforce, and to help care for our community's older residents and individuals with disabilities needing support to maintain independence.
Monroe County's NY Connects Program: (585) 325-2800
NY Connects: Your Link to Long-Term Services and Supports, is a free information and assistance service that is available to individuals and their families to help them make informed decisions regarding their long-term care needs. Advisors provide information regardless of the type(s) of disability or age of the individual needing help with long term care. Free translation services are available for individuals who do not speak English as a primary language or are Deaf and utilize American Sign Language.
Advisors are experienced social workers who provide information, guidance, and referral on an array of topics. Topics covered include housing, chore services, personal care, transportation, adult day care, respite for caregivers, guardianship, support groups, nursing home placement, Medicaid, public benefits, mental health counseling, home health care, socialization, nutrition, wellness programs to assist with chronic disease and falls prevention, geriatric physician referral and more.
Call For Volunteers Interested in Helping Caregivers
We, and our partner agencies, are always looking for volunteers. Volunteers are needed for help with data entry, special events, senior companions, respite relief and more. Are you looking for way to give back to your community? Are you interested in helping our community's older adults and the families that care for them? We have short term and long term opportunities. If yes, please call our offices at (585) 753-6280 or NY Connects at (585) 325-2800.
Caregiving is a difficult job. When we care for our loved ones, we are often afraid or even too tired to ask for help. If you are a Caregiver in need of a hand, or you want to help a caregiver and don't know how, please check out the info at NYS Caregiver Respite Program.
The More You Know
Know your rights when it comes to Life Insurance and Life Settlements:
Helpful Online Resources
- National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
- Association on Aging in New York
- New York State Office for The Aging
- Greater Rochester Partnership for the Elderly (GRAPE) - The Elder Pages
- Monroe County Board of Elections
- Senior Planet
- American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) - Technology Resource
- Rainbow Seniors Roc
Monroe County Office for the Aging Programs and Services are funded in part by Monroe County, New York State Office for the Aging, US Administration for Community Living, United Way, and participant contributions. We value our partnerships in order to meet the needs of our community's older adults and their caregivers.