Highlights contributions older adults make to communities; raises awareness of COVID-19 impact on older adult population
The New York State Office for the Aging, on Thursday, commemorated the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons, passed by the United Nations on Dec. 14, 1990. Each Oct. 1, the International Day of Older Persons recognizes the important contributions older adults make to communities across the world, and this year raised awareness of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the health and wellness of the older adult population.
“The International Day of Older Persons provides an important opportunity to celebrate the contributions older adults make to their families and communities as volunteers and leaders and to the economic health of our state,” NYSOFA Acting Director Greg Olsen said. “Older individuals remain at greater risk for COVID-19, and we need to continue pandemic-related policies and program interventions to protect their health and safety as well as address the areas of need identified throughout this pandemic, such as social isolation."
The emergence of COVID-19 has caused an upheaval across New York and the world. This year’s International Day of Older Persons theme includes a strong focus on the special health needs of older persons and of their contributions to their own health and to the societies in which they live; and increasing understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on older people and its effect on health care policy, planning and attitudes.
A press release said, New York’s total population is over 19 million individuals, and 4.6 million people are age 60 and older. An additional 3.7 million people in the state are between 45-59 years old. “Older adults are the backbone of our communities, and their social, economic, intellectual and civic contributions are essential to making our state a great place to live for people of all ages.”
During the pandemic, NYSOFA, in partnership with its 59 area agencies on aging and almost 1,200 community-based partners, have continued to deliver essential core services. Because New Yorkers have taken seriously the guidance to stay at home and practice social distancing to slow the spread of the virus, the network of aging services professionals has been providing many more enhanced services such as home-delivered meals, groceries and supply deliveries; medication deliveries; transportation to critical services such as dialysis, cancer treatments, etc., combating social isolation, identifying and addressing elder abuse and scams.
NYSOFA and the aging services network serve as sources of trusted information, continuously providing facts and ongoing updates about the deadliness of the virus, as well as federal and state issued guidance and protocols to ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers, particularly high-risk individuals, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions.
The press release said, “Access to timely, accurate information about the risks and impact of COVID-19 is critical for all New Yorkers to protect themselves and others.”
NYSOFA in partnership with BellAge Inc., and the Association on Aging in New York, recently announced the launch of “CV19 CheckUp” in New York, a free, anonymous, personalized online tool that evaluates an individual’s risks associated with COVID-19 based on their life situation and individual behavior, and provides recommendations and resources to reduce those risks. The tool was developed by BellAge to help people be safer, healthier, and ensure their individual needs are met during the pandemic. “ ‘CV19 CheckUp’ fills a critical need for a comprehensive resource that educates, advises and empowers individuals to help protect themselves from COVID-19: http://newyork.cv19checkup.org/.”
NYSOFA continuously works to help the state’s 4.3 million older adults be as independent as possible for as long as possible through advocacy, development and delivery of person-centered, consumer-oriented, and cost-effective policies, programs, and services that support and empower older adults and their families, in partnership with the network of public and private organizations that serve them.