When I was matriculating for my B.S.N. at Alfred University, I used every opportunity to study family caregivers as patients who needed certain interventions for health and well-being. Of course, “caregiving” is not an official disease, so that left family members to muddle along on their own with no nursing or medical interventions.

So when one of my assignments at Alfred was to put together a listing of all the resources for the elderly in our community, I was all in. I developed what I called a “research manual” and passed the course. It confirmed my suspicion that there were so many actors in the game, no one knew who was doing what. Later, I found a position as a nurse in our county’s Home Care Services Unit and thus could interact more easily with my favorite (non) patient group—caregivers.

Then a fellow practitioner called me and said, “You may be interested in this new group that is forming. It’s called Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly (GRAPE) and people who serve the elderly in Rochester are joining so they can network and get the word out about  what they do.”

Music to my ears. I joined immediately, not as an official from Monroe County, but as a nurse interested in caregiving issues. As the organization proved invaluable, Monroe County eventually did join as well. I quickly signed up for the committee to publish a resource manual for practitioners. We not only wanted to list resources, like in a phone book, but to put them in categories with explanations about what each had to offer.

Then and Now

Years after my retirement, I wanted to write blogs that would help caregivers, but knew from experience that things in the elder care community constantly change. For my blog to help anyone, I needed to get up to speed yesterday. And so I joined GRAPE again, this time as a writer and not a nurse. I was delighted to find GRAPE members are as friendly, professional, and welcoming as they were when it first formed in the early 90s.

The resource manual had changed as well. Not only did it assist the professional community in finding resources for their clients, but it was also now free to the public, both in book form and online.

If you click on Blogs on the upper right of my home page, and select “Caregiving,” it will lead you to several caregiving blogs toward the bottom of my webpage. There, you will find a purple, oval button with the GRAPE logo. Clicking on that will take you to GRAPE’s online resources for the elderly called “Elder Pages.”

So when the Elder Pages committee announced it could use some help, I signed up to work on our updated 2023 Elder Pages. “Déjà vu all over again,” to quote Yogi Berra.

You will discover

… pretty much everything from soup (under Food and Nutrition) to nuts (Auto Care/Adaptive Services for Cars and Vans). Other categories include Adult Day Services, Emergency Services, Health Services (community and home based), and many housing options, to name just a few. In working on the new manual, I discovered “At Home Handyman Services from Jewish Senior Life”. (I’m going to put that one on speed dial for me!)

“Home care services in Rochester are incestuous,” said a GRAPE member years ago. I chuckled because he had a point. Managers move from company to company, organizations combine, and names change with these new marriages. Early in this blog’s life, I drafted an article about a state- run program for bringing the services of a nursing home to a patient in the community, back when I was working. Good thing I checked before posting. It no longer existed.

Yet one thing remains the same. We in Monroe County have many ethical, skilled providers who serve the elderly. Even taking a jaded view, the area competition to serve the elderly community is too great NOT to be the best provider one can be.

So click on that GRAPE logo and check out our Elder Pages. If you think they’re good now, wait until our new edition comes out in early 2023! Don’t pass up this opportunity to see all the ways our community can help lift your caregiver burdens.