Guide to the Best, Free Senior Services in Buffalo and Western New York
Getting connected in your local community can expand your care options. There are a lot of resources for older Buffalonians here. This guide will help you find new opportunities for free senior services. While most of those services provide value to seniors, this guide highlights the ones below that will make a huge difference to you.
Find Your Level of Senior Care
We’re going to start with an easy one, New York Connects. This should be anyone’s first stop in looking for senior care. Their interactive website helps families discover the appropriate level of senior care for them. This is a great service for families because one of the most challenging parts of aging is finding the appropriate level of care. NYConnects addresses that problem head-on. Should you find that level of care is an Assisted or Independent Senior Living, be sure to use Willow to find the right senior care for your needs.
Like Willow, NYConnects asks their users a series of questions about the care needs of a senior. NYConnects asks their users a series of questions about the care needs of a senior. NYConnects will use that questionnaire to provide a care-level designation for that person. That care designation gives families a great starting point for finding senior care. Empowered with that information, families are now able to find the appropriate care provider in their area.
From their website
NY Connects is your trusted place to go for free, unbiased information about long term services and supports in New York State. We serve people of all ages or with any type of disability. We identify the medical and non-medical services a person needs to improve or maintain health and independence. Those services may be provided in a nursing home, the individual’s home, or other community-based settings. You can use this directory to search for programs, providers, and services in your area. Please contact your local NY Connects office for further information.
NY Connects staff can help link you to long term services and supports, such as home care, transportation, and meals. Our goal is to help you live as independently as you wish to while meeting your medical, social and functional needs that arise from aging or disability. We can help individuals, families, caregivers, and professionals.
Free/ Subsidized Elderly Transportation
Need a ride? The Erie County Department of Senior Services offers free-ride services to Western New York residents over the age of 60. Seniors can dial (716)-858-7433 from 8:30am-4:20pm. Seniors can get rides to doctor appointments, grocery stores, or social activities. Now, there is a suggested contribution of $6 per round trip but you can use the service without paying at all. Even with the $6 roundtrip contribution, this service is considerably cheaper than an Uber or a cab. Providing this service is a great way to empower seniors to remain independent in the community even after they can no longer drive.
The ECDSS provides a few other valuable services as well. They provide free health insurance counseling. They provide free counseling for Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, and many other policies. These counseling sessions are part of their events calendar and are hosted at local senior centers. They also host several events for seniors throughout the community at various senior centers across Erie County. Additionally, they have a hotline for seniors who need help with anything. Seriously, anything. Make sure to keep the Erie County Senior Centers in mind when you need any help with rides, insurance , or connecting with other seniors.
From Their Website
The mission of the Department of Senior Services of Erie County is to promote the well-being of all older adults. Our coordinated services will enhance senior independence, dignity, and quality of life.
Willow: Senior Placement Platform
Willow is a free service that helps seniors find Assisted Living in Erie County. It is easy to use. Our senior placement questionnaire will ask you some short questions that will help find the right community for you or your senior. We ask some care questions to cut-out facilities that can't meet your care needs. We also ask some budget questions so you only tour facilities who can accept you. The questionnaire takes no more than 5 minutes.
Once you press ‘enter’, the Willow computerized algorithm goes to work! Our site searches all the accommodations in our system to find the right matches for you. In about 30 minutes, you will receive an email from us that presents your choices. From there, it is up to you if you would like to contact the facility, book a tour, or hold off and do nothing – you are in control!
From their Website
We have looked, listened and tried all the senior care websites & placement service, and none of them work to benefit the senior. So, with our 50 years in senior care experience, we created a placement service that works for you.
It's free to use for families and social workers. There are no spam calls or emails. We don't sell your data. We give you access to real-time Assisted Living availability in your area. And unlike other sites, we give you the information to make the decision. We’re here to serve and support you.
Canopy of Neighbors [Paid Service]
Ok, I know that this is a free list and now I’m including a paid service but it’s worth it. Canopy of Neighbors provides one-call access to all the services you need as you age in your home. Their group of volunteers will help you around the house, take you to the grocery store, and they will provide social support. Trust us, the social component is a major benefit for the senior in your life. Their services provide you or your senior with the support that they need to maintain aging well and stay active in the community.
From Their Website
Canopy of Neighbors' mission is to create new pathways to aging well and aging independently in the community. We are a membership organization with an annual membership fee, based on income level, whose goal is to make sure our members can age in place. We introduce our members to a wonderful world of fun and innovative programming that reduces social isolation. Our events include: lunch outings, movies, speakers, creative writing workshops, Mindfulness seminars, and live theater. These are some of the enjoyable and meaningful opportunities to meet new people.
Canopy offers door–to-door transportation to members’ appointments by caring and vetted volunteers. Our "Village" approach that takes the burden off of our members, their family, and their friends. Our popular friendly call program checks in weekly, updates you on our events, and takes requests. We've helped members with transportation, technology, mattress flipping, and even garden weeding to name a few!
Our membership categories are based on income and, as a non-profit, we are grateful for the funding help we need to ensure that no one is turned away. We do offer memberships that are Social only and enjoy tax benefits. We offer Full and Subsidized memberships based on income. Finally, we offer Snowbird memberships for those in Buffalo part-time and more.
Center for Elder Law & Justice
The Center for Elder Law and Justice (CELJ) provides free legal counseling to seniors in their communities. One of the key services Health Care Advocacy is their Health Insurance unit which helps the elderly navigate and manage their healthcare. The service will help with a variety of different insurance types including private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Managed Long-Term Care. They will also help with the transition from a nursing or rehab facility back to your home or to a senior living community. Were your health claims denied or insurance coverage decreased? The Center for Elder Law will assist you with appealing these issues in court. Finally, their Health Insurance unit can help your senior stay in their home by increasing the type or amount of health care they can receive in their home.
The Center for Elder Law & Justice provides more services beyond health insurance counseling. They also provide support for Elder Abuse Prevention. The CELJ coordinates and provides legal advice to deal with Elder Abuse which often goes unreported. The CELJ also provides consumer protection consulting. This service is great for seniors who are adjusting to life on a fixed income. Lastly, the CELJ will help seniors who are looking for advice regarding housing code violations, evictions, and foreclosed homes.
From Their Website
We provide free civil legal services to seniors in Buffalo. Our goal is to protect the essentials of life, such as housing, income, access to health care and protection from abuse.
Speaking of Free Services, Willow is Completely Free for Families
Willow uses technology to provide senior living recommendations to families based on their inputted care needs and budget. It is completely free for families to use.