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Where to go for information, support

NY Connects (; 800-342-9871): A starting point for those looking for caregiving services through local agencies, including the Erie County Department of Senior Services or outlying county Offices for the Aging, as well as a variety of supports for families dealing with loved ones of any age who have a range physical and mental health conditions.

Erie County Caregiver Coalition (; 858-8526): Provides links on its website to help caregivers in a variety of ways, including with health care questions, home safety assessments, advanced care planning, transportation and proper nutrition.

CASE Niagara (; 285-3499): Provides information and links to agencies and programs that help those who care for the frail, chronically ill and disabled of all ages in Niagara and nearby counties.

Alzheimer’s Association of WNY (; 800-272-3900): Provides information on health care, services and more than 30 support groups across the region for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and their loved ones.

Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center of WNY (; 250-2000, Ext. 1107): Helps doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s and other dementias and helps patients and caregivers put together an individualized care management plan.

Health insurance companies: “I always encourage people to contact their health insurance company to see if they have any programs that may help,” said Sarah Harlock, who chairs the Erie County Caregiver Association. “It may be a care coordination program, a disease management program, or a palliative care program.”

Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or Disadvantaged of WNY (; 853-3087): Lawyers, University at Buffalo law students, social workers and others volunteer their time to provide free legal advice on civil matters related to caregiving.

Visiting Nurses Association of WNY (; 630-8000): The largest of several home health care agencies in the region, it provides various levels of care designed to keep those with medical needs in their homes for as long as possible.

Caregiving classes Power Tools for Caregivers: County senior agencies, in cooperation with health departments, coordinate these classes across the country, including in the region. The six-week sessions run once a week and teach caregivers how to reduce stress, improve self-confidence, better communicate feelings and locate helpful resources. Caregivers also learn how to make tough decisions and balance their life needs. The $25 cost includes a handbook. Trinity Old Lutheran Church in Amherst will host a series starting Jan. 5; to register, call Erie County Senior Services at 858-2177.

Caregiver breaks Respite care: The Erie County Department of Senior Services and the Alzheimer’s Association of WNY work to help local agencies provide a social adult day program for those with dementia at least once a month at several sites, including the Amherst Center for Senior Services and Trinity Old Lutheran Church in Amherst; Catholic Charities Senior Day Care in Buffalo; Guildcare Adult Day Health Care in Buffalo and Niagara Falls; and Aurora and Hamburg adult day services in the Southtowns. For more information for programs across the region, contact the association at (800) 272-3900 or email For a listing, click here.