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.

Mike Groll, Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

At least 2,900 New York state nursing home residents have died of COVID-19, including at least 70 in Western New York. Now the state will investigate whether facilities have done everything possible to prevent those deaths.

 

Twitter

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has asked Ottawa to send military personnel to help stop the spread of the coronavirus in the province’s long-term care homes. Ford said in a fight like this, nothing is left off the table.

Renee Zureck

Most Americans are struggling to adapt to stay-at-home orders, business shutdowns and social distancing guidelines under COVID-19, but such radical changes can be especially difficult for families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, who rely heavily on routine. WBFO’s Older Adults Reporter Tom Dinki takes a look at their struggles — and what resources are available to help.

 

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Health care workers at Safire Rehabilitation of Northtowns protested on Friday, saying they haven’t been given adequate personal protective equipment or safety training despite the fact both they and residents are sick with COVID-19.

 

Erie County

While data released by New York state Monday indicated nearly half of Erie County’s COVID-19 deaths were nursing home residents, County Executive Mark Poloncarz says nursing homes residents likely account for closer to one third of the county’s total deaths.

Google Maps

Nearly half of Western New Yorkers dead of COVID-19 are nursing home residents, according to data released by the New York State Department of Health Monday.


facebook.com/LosTainosSeniors

Residents of two Latino senior citizen homes on Buffalo's West Side will get meals Friday from one of downtown's most popular restaurants.


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Advocates are calling on New York state nursing homes to suspend involuntary discharges and transfers during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it puts residents at increased risk of exposure and hurts their due process rights. 


Catholic Health

Catholic Health announced Monday there are more than 60 cases of COVID-19 at Father Baker Manor, in what is believed to be the first major outbreak at a Western New York nursing home.

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.

 


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