Senior Programs

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Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The New York State Office for the Aging has contracted with the American Red Cross to establish and administer a Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) in Albany, Schenectady, Montgomery and Washington Counties.

What is an Ombudsman? "Ombudsman" is a Swedish term meaning "citizen representative" or "one who speaks on behalf of others.”

The long term care Ombudsman Program is a federal advocacy program dedicated to protecting people who live in long term care facilities, such as nursing homes, adult care facilities and family type homes.

Mandated under the Older Americans Act of 1975, and amended in 2000, a Long Term Care Ombudsman works on behalf of a resident of a nursing home or adult care facility to resolve complaints. In many cases, these residents have little or no contact with the outside world and feel that they lack control over the quality of their own lives. They may need help addressing problems because they are unaware of their rights, unaware of what the facility is required to do on their behalf by law, or are unable to independently work through the complexities of a complaint process. Often, the resident just needs someone to listen and care while advocating for an improvement.

Do you need help?

If you or a family member think you could benefit from the assistance of an Ombudsman, please contact your local Red Cross chapter. All conversations are confidential under the Ombudsman Statute. Please contact Edie Senett at (518) 694-5114 or (518) 458-8111.

Interested in volunteering?

Volunteers make a commitment of 2-4 hours a week to hear concerns from many sources including residents, families, friends and personnel, and get satisfaction from helping some our most frail and vulnerable citizens. All volunteers receive the necessary training and support prior to being placed in their assigned facility via a 36 hour training program provided by the Coordinator of the program at the American Red Cross. Please visit for more information.

Family Care-Giving Program

This related American Red Cross program is designed to help families who have taken on the responsibility and challenges of caring for a loved one at home. The program consists of nine topic-based modules: Home Safety, General Caregiving Skills, Positioning and Helping Your Loved One Move, Assisting with Personal Care, Healthy Eating, Caring for the Caregiver, Legal and Financial Issues, Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer´s Disease or Dementia and Caring for a Loved One with HIV/AIDS. Each module is approximately one hour in length and is designed to enhance participants skills, reduce stress and build confidence.

Group training can be offered at an organization or agency location or individuals from an organization can become trained to teach the program.