Albany County
DEPARTMENT for AGING
Harold L. Joyce Albany County Office Building
162 Washington Avenue | Albany, NY 12210
Phone: (518) 447-7177 | Fax: (518) 447-7188
George Brown, Commissioner

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This page contains frequently asked questions (and answers!) about senior services. If you have a question you'd like to see answered here, please contact us by email at aging@albanycounty.com or phone (518) 447-7177.

Aging - FAQ

How can I find out more about the CDTA half fare program for seniors and the disabled?

To get a half fare card (that is good for 5 years), you would need to bring a copy of your ID (proving that you are at least 65 years old) and $3.00 to 162 Washington Ave, Albany, on Monday- Friday, between 8:30am-noon or 1:00-2:00pm. If you are disabled or a veteran and receiving benefits, you are also eligible for a half fare card. You will need to bring your SSD, SSI or VA award letter and $3.00. For more information, CLICK HERE or call (518) 447-7177 or CDTA’s Maryellen Usis, at (518) 437-8300.

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My elderly mother is not keeping up with the housework and she is also having a difficult time getting into the bathtub. Is there help available?

The Visiting Nurses Association of Albany website has Fall Reduction and Home Safety Tips at: http://www.vnaalbany.org/news.html#Falls. You may consult your physician about obtaining an in-home evaluation for fall prevention and or call VNA directly at (518) 489-1430 to get more information. Your parent may be eligible for a home health aid and caseworker through Albany County’s EISEP (Expanded In-home Services for the Elderly Program). Call us at (518) 447-7177 for more information. For additional information and a description of services and contact numbers see Caregiver Resources (e.g., assessment, caseworker, home health agencies).

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Is there transportation for seniors for appointments or for trips to the supermarket?


Yes, most Albany County seniors can get a ride from United-We-Ride by calling 1 (866) 208-7357. Operators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call at least 24 hours in advance of their appointment.

If you live in the Town of Colonie call (518) 459-6064
Guilderland residents call (518) 356-1980 x1048
Bethlehem residents call (518) 439-5770 or 439-4955 x4

Also see Caregiver Resources for other transportation options



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I have fallen a few times and it took me awhile to get myself up. I’m afraid I might need help if it happens again and I might not be able to get to a phone. I’m not sure what to do. My children are talking about a nursing home.

You could wear a medical alert (also called Personal Emergency Response System) which could summon help and an emergency team when you press the button on the device. Call our Information & Assistance Line at (518) 447-7177 for more information, or see Caregiver Resources for contact numbers.

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My father uses a walker and it has become too difficult for him to shop and cook. He has been losing weight and he told me he has no appetite. Is there help available, can someone to talk to him?

If your father is able to drive, a local Congregate Dining program would provide him with a nutritious hot meal and a chance to socialize with other seniors. See the Congregate Dining page for a list of sites, or call us at (518) 447-7177 for more information.

If he is homebound and not able to get out of the house without assistance, the Home Delivered Meals program may be able to provide him with hot and nutritious meals. You or your father will need to call the Albany County Department of Health for an assessment for this service at (518) 447-4600. A registered nurse will follow up with a home visit.

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I cannot afford my home on my income anymore. I’m not sure what to do.

There are several options. If you would like to try to stay in your home, you could look into a reverse mortgage. See AARP’s website for an overview of how this type of mortgage works: http://www.aarp.org/money/revmort/revmort_basics/a2003-03-21-newloan.html To set up an appointment for free unbiased counseling, call Albany County Rural Housing Alliance at: (518) 756-3656 or 235-3920. If you think you need to sell your home you could check out housing options (some of which is subsidized) at: our Housing and Care Facilities page.

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My elderly aunt has told me that her son has been taking money out of her account. She doesn’t know what to do. How can I help her?

You can call Protective Services for Adults to report (or discuss) the issue at: (518) 447-7177. Protective Services is concerned about all adults (over 18) who are at risk. They also deal with self neglect, neglect by caregivers, physical abuse, emotional abuse, or financial abuse; they will take information from the victim, relatives, or others who are concerned.

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How can I help my mother find out if she is eligible and to apply for Medicaid or food stamps?

To be eligible for Medicaid her monthly income must be $700 or less with $4,200 or less in resources. She could be eligible even if she owns a home, a car and or other personal property. To learn more about the Medicaid program see: http://www.health.state.ny.us/health_care/medicaid/

Albany County residents can request an application by calling (518) 447-7458. A person may eligible for a Medicaid Spend down if their income is over the limit. If their monthly medical bills lower their income to eligibility amount, any excess medical bills could then be covered by Medicaid.
Food stamp monthly income eligibility varies depending on expenses (rent, bills, medicals, etc). The resources limit is $3,000. For more information call Legal Aid at (518) 462-6765 x.327, or to request an application: call (518) 447-7403.

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My heating bills have gotten to be very high, someone told me I can get help to pay the bills.

HEAP (Heating Energy Assistance Program) can help you with a $200 credit for your heating bill if you are income eligible ($1,764 per month for single). To apply call CHOICES at (518) 756-8650. CHOICES also administers WRAP, Weatherization Referral and Packaging Program which could help you save money by making your home or apartment more energy efficient.

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My father recently had a car accident and I am afraid he is not safe to be on the roads, do you have any suggestions?

He could take a driving safety class with AARP, or AAA; call us at (518) 447-7177 for contact numbers. Another option is hiring an Occupational Therapist who is also a Certified Driving Rehab Specialist (CDRS) to perform an evaluation of the senior's driving ability, knowledge of rules of the road and a driving and perception/reaction assessment. For a list of CDRS call us at (518) 447-7177.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles “Senior Drivers” page has some good advice at: www.nysgtsc.state.ny.us/senr-ndx.htm. The New York State Office for the Aging’s website has an online handbook and downloadable guide: “When You Are Concerned: A handbook for families, friends and caregivers worried about the safety of an aging driver” at http://aging.state.ny.us/caring/concerned/.

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I am about to turn 65 and want to apply for Social Security and for Medicare. I also need a drug plan. Can you tell me who I should call?

Yes, to apply for Social Security call 1 (800) 772-1213. To apply online see: www.socialsecurity.gov To sign up in person, go to the Social Security Administration office, located at 1 Clinton Ave, Albany, (518) 431-4233. You can apply for Medicare part B, at the same time. Medicare B will cost $93.50 (in 2007) and can be deducted from your check. Before you sign up for a Medicare Part D drug plan, you should find out which plans cover your medications. The Medicare "plan finder" is available at: www.medicare.gov The Albany County Department for Aging offers Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance. Call us at (518) 447-7177 for more information.

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I have been accepted into senior housing but I am currently in an apartment with a lease. How do I handle that with my landlord?

Seniors (62+) can terminate their lease to enter an adult care facility, nursing home, low income or other senior housing facility. Their landlord must be in receipt of the copy of pending admission. The termination date is effective no earlier than 30 days after the date on which the rental payment is due. For more info about the law, call (518) 474-5481 or 1 (800) 771-7755.  

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Do you have any advice on how to pre-plan for funeral arrangements and how to prevent being taken advantage of?

The New York State Department of Health regulates funeral homes and they offer a downloadable guide, “Consumers Guide to Arranging a Funeral.”

The NYS Funeral Directors Association’s website lists frequently asked questions: http://www.nysfda.net/faq.htm. They also offer brochures on a variety of topics: http://www.nysfda.net/publicat2.htm (click link for "NYSFDA Publications Catalog") .

For grieving relatives see their crime victim brochure, “Don’t Be a Victim of Crime”: http://www.nysfda.net/resources.htm.

Low income seniors can spend-down for SSI/Medicaid eligibility to make the prepaid IRREVOCABLE funeral arrangements of their choice before assets are used up for medical care and before their assets are reduced to SSI/Medicaid eligibility levels.

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My elderly aunt is very ill in the hospital and may not make it. She has never been married and has no children. She gets a small amount from Social Security and is on Medicaid and has no assets. I am her only family and I have no money either. How are we

The New York State Social Services Department provides benefits through the counties for deceased residents who are indigent and whose families cannot pay for their funerals. You will need to find a funeral home that will work with social services clients. The funeral director will call social services to find out if the deceased is eligible for an indigent burial. If the social services cannot determine eligibility, then a family member or a friend of the deceased will need go to 162 Washington Ave., Albany and fill out an application. If approved, social services will pay the funeral home directly. Benefits are not a supplement to enhance a private service and burial. Non-responsible family or friends may supplement an indigent burial up to $750 but they cannot be reimbursed for any expenses. Questions can be addressed to Albany County’s accounting division at (518) 447-5558.

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Questions? Call us! (518) 447-7177