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Steuben County recognized for excellence in serving senior citizens

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Steuben Senior Citizens Fund Inc, honored at Wildflower Hills in Bath

Former City of Hornell Mayor Andy Mazzella thanked for extensive community service work

From Steuben County NY, pictured Carol Israel and Andy Mazzella

BATH – A Steuben County service for older residents and their loved ones was recognized for its excellence at the recent state Older New Yorkers Day 2023 Friday.

Steuben Senior Citizens Fund, Inc. (SSSF) was honored during a livestream ceremony at the Wildflower Hills Clubhouse in Bath noting strides across the state serving older residents. Two local residents, Carol Israel and Andy Mazzella, both of Hammondsport, were among the 91 people across the state recognized for their volunteer efforts.

Attendees at Wildflower Hills

A Wayland and Hammondsport native, Carol Israel was recognized for her leadership in energizing the QKA (Keuka) Aging in Place community to come together for fun. The primary caregiver for both of her parents for 12 years, Israel secured a $10,000 grant to support aging-in-place operations in Steuben.

A Hornell native and former Mayor of Hornell,  Andy Mazella served as the Regional Director of Operations for Finger Lakes State Parks for 18 years. Mazella continued his community service work as the Executive Director of United Way for nine years and later as the Director of Emergency Services at Turning Point, a program under Catholic Charities, for twelve years.

Special recognition was given Friday to SSSF, dedicated to problem-solving around issues related to how to successfully age in place in Steuben County since 2000.

Together with the county Office for the Aging, SSSF is a key partner in building capacity and impact, augmenting existing aging services with a depth of  leadership experience.

Launching Full Circle America (FCA) in 2016 as a way for Steuben County older adults to remain in their own homes, the program combines in-home monitoring with other supports such as those provided by families, agencies, churches, and neighbors. The comprehensive services are provided at a fraction of the cost of nursing and adult homes. To date, FCA/Steuben has saved  participants $1.1 million in long-term care costs.

In 2021, NYSOFA approved a pilot study to demonstrate the impact of FCA services as a complement to traditional OFA’s Expanded In-home Services for the Elderly Program services, which resulted in permanent approval for use of ancillary funds for EISEP.

Creative use of talented and inspired volunteers and care coordination are two of Steuben Senior Services

Fund’s greatest strengths. Wellness Ambassadors, often retired nurses, conduct home visits to FCA clients for an added layer of social interaction and monitoring that enhances the circle of support that members and their families appreciate.

The program offers a sliding fee scale, with successful fundraisers offsetting program costs.

“SSSF is delivering a new model of support for aging in place that harnesses the help of families, friends, volunteers, technology, and local agencies, all of which combine to improve the quality of life for its members,” said county OFA Director Patty Baroody. “SSSF creates dignity of choice, making it possible for those who wish to live safely in familiar surroundings throughout their lifespan are able to do so.”

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