Hicksville, NY - September 27, 2016 - Seniors across Nassau County who face mental health and substance use issues—a growing concern—will benefit from a new “triple partnership” that will find, outreach proactively to and serve adults age 55 and older whose independence or survival in the community is in jeopardy.
Driven by a 5-year collaborative design and a $1 million grant from the New York State Office of Mental Health, the new Link-Age program will unite and coordinate efforts among three key service agencies: behavioral healthcare nonprofit CN Guidance & Counseling Services (CN Guidance); the family- and senior-oriented nonprofit Family & Children’s Association (FCA); and the Nassau County Department of Human Services. The project will use a care coordination model to deliver holistic, integrated services to distressed adults age 55 and over.
“Many older people in our region are facing anxiety, depression, alcoholism, misuse of medications, and—far too often isolation from help,” said Jeffrey Friedman, CEO of nonprofit CN Guidance, “This new program is a big win for our community because it will end the isolation, enable treatment, and bridge services across unconnected silos. This partnership will close a major access gap, while coordinating services for the first time.”
The Link-Age program design includes mobile outreach, including especially in disadvantaged communities, to find older individuals who are at-risk and who are currently not connected to the service delivery system or who are encountering difficulties accessing the services they need. The program will use a combination of innovation (technology) and traditional service delivery to help approximately 350 seniors to gain the mental health services, substance use treatment, and/or aging services they need, while boosting their chances to remain healthier/independent as they age, including, for example by supporting their making and keeping needed appointments and staying on time with medication.
Analysts using U.S. Census data project that people age 60 and over will comprise an estimated 30% of Nassau County residents by 2024. Nassau County has been recognized among U.S. communities “going gray” the fastest, and the growth rate for the over-55 population here is 6 times greater than the growth rate for this region’s population as a whole.
“Often overlooked, the needs of Nassau’s seniors are significant and will expand exponentially as the 55-plus population expands,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, President and CEO of Family & Children’s Association. “This innovative public/private partnership builds on existing efforts to support aging in place, refines the regional models for serving seniors and will ultimately enhance the quality of life for Nassau’s families, while at the same time curbing health care costs.”
Each individual enrolled in the new Link-Age program will receive an Individualized Care Plan, developed together by a Case Manager and Registered Nurse who are funded by the new grant. Beyond the triple partnership at the core of the new program, Link-Age will also connect seniors to a very wide range of needed services provided by 75+ collaborative partners (including dozens linked through the Nassau County Department of Human Services), and including such services as home delivered meals; visiting nurses; legal services; and primary health care.
About CN Guidance
CN Guidance & Counseling Services is one of the region's leading mental health, behavioral, and addiction-related service providers. Established in 1972, the mission of this nonprofit organization is to improve the quality of life for individuals and families on Long Island affected by mental health and/or substance use disorders. It succeeds by providing integration of clinical treatment, housing opportunities, social and support services, counseling, and guidance to individuals, families and the community. CN Guidance has been a leader in providing outreach, supports, and counseling to community members during peaceful and traumatic times alike.
About Family and Children’s Association
Family & Children’s Association is a not-for-profit agency helping nearly 20,000 individuals each year. For more than 130 years, FCA has worked to protect and strengthen vulnerable children, seniors, families and communities on Long Island. Through an integrated network of services and counseling, Family & Children’s Association provides help and hope to underserved and disadvantaged individuals struggling to build better lives.
About Nassau County Department of Human Services:
Office for the Aging
The Nassau County Office for the Aging is responsible for advising the County Executive and government officials on the problems and needs of the County's 290,000 residents age 60 and over. As the official Area Agency on Aging for Nassau County, the Office develops a county-wide plan to provide services that assist older persons to remain independent and living in their own homes for as long as possible. The Office also serves as a funding agency for programs offered by other voluntary and nonprofit agencies. It provides more than 70 programs in the areas of health and nutrition, legal services, case management and home care, transportation and an information and assistance helpline to improve the quality of life for older persons.
Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services (OMHCDDS)
The Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities functions as the Local Government Unit that operates under the provisions described in Article 41 of New York State Mental Hygiene Law. The Office has the local responsibility for the comprehensively planned care, treatment and rehabilitation of individuals diagnosed with mental illness, chemical dependency, and developmental disabilities.