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Tri-Lakes Aging in Place Task Forces make progress

May 4, 2011
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

LAKE?PLACID?- Mercy Care for the Adirondacks, with grant support from the New York State Office for Aging and technical support from the University of Buffalo, initiated a planning process in 2009 with the Tri-Lakes communities to identify and address the need for services, community support, and infrastructure for elders living independently in their communities. Implementation of the resulting Aging in Place Community Action Plan is being made possible, with the active participation of the communities.

The year-long planning process revealed four priority areas of need to be addressed: Housing, transportation options, improved and coordinated health and human services, and ways to facilitate the involvement of elders in the community to relieve isolation and loneliness. The Aging in Place Task Force met on April 13 and reported this progress:



The Adirondack Community Housing Trust has expanded the population it serves to assist elders to help them remain in their homes as they age.

Tri-Lakes communities completed a Housing Needs Assessment Study where elder housing needs were identified.

The Tupper Lake town supervisor is working with the Adirondack Adult Center to develop a system of matching contractors and elders who need small repair projects undertaken.

The Lake Placid Friendship & Companionship Task Force is developing a volunteer "clearing house" for elders to call when they have small home repair or maintenance needs.

Mercy Care is also developing a specialist volunteer corps to help meet small housing repair needs.

Universal Design brochures have been provided to building codes officers in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid to distribute to public.

A foundation from Clifton Park is exploring a collaborative project in the Tri-Lakes to create an affordable housing project including a component for the aging population in the area.

The village of Lake Placid expanded the income eligibility for reduced water and sewer rates for low-income senior citizens.

The Saranac Lake Housing Task Force is exploring options for cost-savings for modifications of dwellings for accessibility.

Mercy Care has developed an educational forum entitled Aging in Place in Your Own Home to be held on May 19 at Paul Smith's College, focusing on home design elements to ensure access to and mobility in the home by the elders and people of all ages and abilities.


Health and Human Services

Saranac Lake Health and Human Services Task Force has a presentation scheduled for May on the New York state Medicaid waiver program which helps to keep people out of nursing homes by funding home health care.

Mercy Care volunteer parish nurses have provided in-service training on advance directives (living wills, health care proxies, power of attorney) to agencies working with older adults and to MC volunteers.

The Saranac Lake Adult Center has expanded services to assist the frail and elderly with physical, emotional and nutritional needs through a case manager. There are regular screening programs for blood pressure and diabetes.


Friendship and companionship, community involvement

The Saranac Lake Adult Center has expanded its services and offers opportunity for community involvement and companionship with a wide range of social, recreational and educational programs promoting wellness, including new exercise room.

Saranac Village at Will Rogers now offers a Daytime Meal and Activity Program for those 55 and over. This includes transportation to and from Will Rogers, lunch and dinner, and on-site activities and entertainment.

Computer training classes are being held at the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library in Tupper Lake.

Mercy Care is developing tools to assist other communities to develop Friendship Volunteer and Parish Nurse programs, and will be training additional volunteers.

Lake Placid is working on a program connecting elders with kids, to the benefit of both.


The village of Saranac Lake has inventoried the condition of all its sidewalks and drafted cost estimates for abandoning, replacing and creating new sidewalks.

A new bus service is now available on Wednesdays, sponsored by Tri-Lakes Center for Independent Living, for out-of-town shopping and medical transportation for all three Tri-Lakes communities.

Lake Placid Task Force is working with the Essex County Public Health Department "Complete Streets" program to undertake a walkability-mobility accessibility audit. The Lake Placid Task Force has inventoried benches and public restrooms to create a map for public use.

More information about the Aging in Place Community Action Plan can be obtained from Mercy Care for the Adirondacks at 518-523-5580.

Mercy Care for the Adirondacks is a mission sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy to enhance the fullness of life of elders living independently in their communities. Mercy Care offers its services to any older adult in need in the Tri-Lakes. There are no fees for its services. It is supported with charitable contributions and grants.

Mercy Care for the Adirondacks is governed by a local board of directors and can be reached at 185 Old Military Road, Lake Placid, NY 12946, by calling 523-5580, or by email at

A complete copy of the Aging in Place Action Plan can be found at Mercy Care's website at



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