WBFO Older Adults News Desk

The WBFO Older Adults News Desk is funded by the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York and Elderwood.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit an Orchard Park nursing home and rehabilitation facility. 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt to many court proceedings, including Erie County and nursing homes’ legal feud over Ruthie’s Law.

 

A coalition of people with family members in jail joined public health experts and others to release what they call a series of "COVID-19 Community Demands for People in State Prisons."

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

The Elderwood nursing home in Amherst will soon take in COVID-19 patients from hospitals, creating what’s believed to be Western New York’s first post-acute care unit for those with the novel coronavirus but also causing concerns for residents’ families.

 

 

Albert Pautler

Nursing homes have shut their doors to visitors to protect residents from the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s led to questions about how families can stay in touch with their loved ones — and make sure they're getting the care they need. WBFO’s Older Adults Reporter Tom Dinki reports how the issue is playing out in Western New York nursing homes.

 

Elderwood nursing homes

Western New York nursing homes are running short on personal protective equipment amid the COVID-19 pandemic and are now asking for donations.

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One of the two COVID-19 patients at the Wyoming County Community Health System skilled nursing facility has died, the first COVID-19 death recorded in Western New York. 

WBFO file photo

Meals on Wheels for Western New York wants to deliver to even more older adults to keep them home and safe due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

 

There’s just one problem.

 

Many Meals on Wheels delivery volunteers are older adults themselves, meaning they may be just as likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19 as the seniors they’re trying to protect. 

 


Wyoming County

Officials in Wyoming County are reporting that two residents of the county-operated skilled nursing facility have tested positive for coronavirus.

Center for Elder Law and Justice

Older adults are considered at greater risk to suffer serious complications from the new coronavirus. Now a Buffalo nonprofit legal agency is offering them free advice on topics like health insurance and paid leave.

WBFO file photo

Erie County will suspend many of its older adult programs, including congregate dining at senior centers, to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.

 

Darren McGee, Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York state is mandating nursing homes not allow visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday afternoon that the state’s approximately 620 nursing homes can only allow “medically necessary” visits, given that older adults are at high risk of suffering serious complications from the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19.

SHAPECHARGE / GETTY IMAGES

Nursing homes across New York state have been restricting visitation in light of the coronavirus outbreak, cutting visiting hours and screening visitors for flu-like symptoms. Now the head of a statewide nursing home trade group says many of them will soon outright prohibit almost all visitation. 


Erie County

Erie County announced last month it will finally begin fining nursing homes for not complying with Ruthie's Law after months of scrutiny over a lack of enforcement. That caused local nursing homes to file a lawsuit, arguing Ruthie’s Law conflicts with state law and is therefore illegal. WBFO explored what happens when a local law potentially conflicts with state law.

 


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The Erie County administration announced last week it will finally begin fining nursing homes for not complying with Ruthie’s Law. Now nursing homes are fighting back.

SUNY

Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing an amendment to his 2021 executive state budget to establish the SUNY Curing Alzheimer’s Health Consortium.

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

The head of Erie County’s Department of Senior Services says he will fine nursing homes that don’t comply with Ruthie’s Law by the end of the month, seemingly ending months of criticism and scrutiny over a lack of fines.

 


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

WBFO reported in October that most Erie County nursing homes aren’t complying with Ruthie’s Law, yet none have been fined by the county’s Department of Senior Services. Last week, Senior Services officials invited WBFO to come along as they conducted unannounced visits on three of the noncompliant nursing homes. But some feel the county still isn’t doing enough to enforce the law. 

 

Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration has launched a new public service announcement campaign to fight a growing nationwide scheme.

WBFO file photo

Roughly half of Erie County nursing homes are still not complying with Ruthie’s Law.

 

The county’s Department of Senior Services released the newest compliance data Tuesday, showing that only 18 of the county’s 35 nursing homes compiled with the law during the most recent reporting period.

 


 

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

For the last few years, retired West Seneca teachers have helped fill backpacks with items like cereal bars and cans of tuna fish for the Food Bank of Western New York. The Food Bank program helps tide over about 3,500 disadvantaged kids during the weekends they’re without free school lunch and breakfast.

 

The teachers now do this under the name of FeedMore Western New York, after the Food Bank merged with Meals on Wheels for Western New York.

 


File Photo

He had not yet read the proposed legislation as of Friday. But Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says, in his gut, he does not support bills now in Albany that would grant certain older inmates a chance for parole.

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

It’s been more than two years since Erie County passed Ruthie’s Law, yet none of the nursing homes that have failed to comply during that time have been penalized.

 

On Thursday, the Erie County Legislature finally got to directly ask the county’s Department of Senior Services why that is.

 


Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hinted he would try to limit local Medicaid spending during his State of the State Address earlier this month, saying county governments were all too eager to spend more because the state was paying for any increases. On Tuesday, Cuomo revealed how he intends to deter overspending: a 3% Medicaid spending cap.

 


Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his tenth State of the State address Wednesday in Albany. WBFO reporters took in-depth look at what the governor and others are saying about some key challenges the state faces at the start of a new decade.

Thomas O'Neil-White

The amount of Baby Boomers already in or entering retirement age continues to grow in Western New York, which makes providing programs for them imperative.

WBFO file photo

Issues impacting older adults — including lowering prescription drug prices, tax relief for caregivers and large Medicaid cuts — will be some of the major issues during New York state’s 2020 legislative session. 

 


WBFO News

The Broadway Market is more than just a place for you to buy a butter lamb for Easter Sunday. For older adults in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood, the City of Buffalo Senior Drop In Center inside the market provides them with a familial atmosphere.

Staying healthy is one of our greatest personal challenges. We're bombarded with marketing for medications and dietary supplements. And it can be very confusing, especially for the elderly. WBFO's older adults news desk reached out to Dr. Jerrold Winter for some context. He's a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University at Buffalo and the author of several books on drugs and supplements.


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Meals on Wheels provides older adults with nutritious meals and some socialization all year around, but those services are especially crucial during the holiday season and winter months when seniors living alone may feel particularly isolated and lonely. Here WBFO gives a behind-the-scenes look at Meals on Wheels deliveries during the holidays.

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