Navigating the challenges that aging presents can seem like a battle fought against behemoths called Healthcare, Legal Loopholes, and The Art of Living on a Fixed Income. In such a war we need every ally we can find. For Capital Region residents, there is the Albany Guardian Society.
Founded in 1852, the Albany Guardian Society (AGS) is one of the region’s oldest non-profit organizations. Their mission is to improve the lives of seniors and their families in the Capital Region through information, education, research, and collaboration with local agencies. Here’s what you need to know.
The Albany Guardian Society offers over 150 educational programs a year on aging-related topics geared towards both consumers and aging services providers. They describe the topics as “aging in community, caregiving, healthy aging, housing, professional development, and technology,” but those titles do a disservice to what they really offer. If you quickly scroll their class list, the classes sound much more appealing, such as: “Finding More Joy,” taught by a certified health and wellness coach, “Planning Your Digital Legacy,” “Tai Chi Flow,” and “Decluttering Your Email Inbox.”
Classes are currently taught through Zoom by professionals in their areas of expertise. Although there is no cost to attend, registration is required through their website, which can be found here.
AGS also offers community forums with nationally-recognized speakers. Past forums have included topics like “Positive Approaches to Dementia Care,” “Understanding Medicare,” and “The Village Movement.”
Capital Region Villages Collaborative (CRVC)
Started by the Albany Guardian Society, CRVC is “comprised of individuals, agencies, organizations, and Villages interested in forming, operating, and supporting emerging and existing Villages in the Capital Region.” What does that mean, exactly? Well, a “village” is a self-governing, grassroots organization run by volunteers (and sometimes paid staff) that “coordinate access to a variety of services and activities for seniors wanting to maintain independence in their own home.” Villages are organized in neighborhoods, and are essentially neighbors helping neighbors. Volunteers provide services for paying members, and can include ride sharing, friendly check-in calls, IT assistance, or organizing social events.
New York State currently has 18 villages, with more being planned in the Capital District. The CRVC convenes regular meetings with village updates, networking opportunities, and educational aspects of developing and operating a village.
The AGS also publishes helpful directories. A few include: the “Housing Options for Senior Adults” directory, which provides detailed information on different types of housing opportunities available to Capital Region seniors looking to downsize or move; the “Adult Day Services” directory, and “Transportation Options for Seniors.” If you are a caregiver, access to these resources can be pivotal, as respite options are often difficult to find and access.