Image Above: Finger Lakes Independence Center--FLIC--Logo: The letters: F-L-I-C and the letter I looks like an open door. Finger Lakes Independence Center Opening Doors to Independence

January 2023

Image Above: Picture with natural wood background. Spelled out with Scrabble-like tiles, it read, "Happy New Year." Below the tiles, in large cutout numbers off-white in color, it reads "2023." Around the tiles and numbers is a string of lights with textured soft green, navy blue, and yellow balls.

The FLIC office will be closed on Monday, January 16 in honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Holiday.

Image Above: Cover of the book. Background is a silhouette of a woman standing in a doorway, leaning on the doorframe with one foot crossed over the other. Colors are green, blue, pink and gold. Over the image in white letters with black trim, it reads, "A Room Called Earth: A Novel. Madeleine Ryan." 

In January! Disability Perspectives: Read with Flic!

FLIC is partnering with the Tompkins County Public Library (TCPL) for a book group. Join Rashke Bradley and Teressa Sivers as we read together an unforgettable story of a fiercely original young woman, whose radical perspective illuminates a new way of being in the world. The debut novel from Madeleine Ryan, A Room Called Earth, is a humorous and heartwarming adventure inside the mind of a bright and dynamic woman. This hyper-saturated celebration of love and acceptance, from a neurodiverse writer, is a testament to moving through life without fear, and to opening ourselves up to a new way of relating to one another.

Books adn registration now available through the TCPL. The book group will be held virtually through Zoom. Email or with questions. Book group begins January 19th at 6:30 pm.

Click Here to Register and Reserve Your Copy of the Book

Help us Get Fair Pay for Home Care Workers

Write a postcard or letter with us! Tell Governor Hochul why home care is important to you and that she must include Fair Pay for Home Care in the next budget. Postcards can be filled out at FLIC and we will mail them on your behalf.

Or, if you want to send one out on your own, email for a virtual copy.

Image Below: A red and white postcard that says Fair Pay for Home Care and is addressed to Governor Kathy Hochul at NYS State Capitol Building Albany, NY 12224.

Honor the Legacy of the

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

on Monday, January 16

Image Above: Purple-hued background with clipart images of numerous, diverse people. In the foreground, center in large gold letters it reads, "KING" with a painting of Martin Luther King, Jr. centered in front of the word. Above KING, in white letters, it reads, "2023 King Holiday Observance." Below KING, it reads, "It Starts with Me: Cultivating a Beloved Community MIndset to Transform Unjust Systems."

The King Center shares The King Philosophy, Nonviolence 365 and The Beloved Community: CLICK HERE.

Here are some ways to honor the holiday: CLICK HERE.

Eligibility Expanded for Medicaid and Medicare Savings Program for Disabled/Age 65+/ Blind (DAB) in NYS Budget!

On April 8, 2022, the NYS Legislature and Governor reached an agreement on the NYS Budget, which included some important wins EXPANDING MEDICAID for New Yorkers age 65+ and those who have disabilities, and for undocumented immigrants age 65+.  While advocates did not get everything, NYLAG thanks the Governor and Legislature for taking important steps to make health care more affordable for all and address racial disparities in health care.

  •  New York has followed California's lead in expanding eligibility for Medicaid and the Medicare Savings Program.  See Justice in Aging's issue brief on expanding health care for older adults and people with disabilities. 
  • View this webinar held May 11, 2022, discussing this national trend sponsored by Justice in Aging,  with participation by Valerie Bogart, NYLAG.

Click the button below to read more on the changes for 2023.

Learn More

Volunteers Needed!

Development & Evaluation of an

Assistive Feeding Robot

Image Above: Picture of a laboratory with storage, refrigerator and equipment in the background. In the foreground, a Cornell male student with dark hair and trimmed facial hair sits in a chair with his mouth open as a robotic arm places food in his mouth.

A study is being conducted with adults (18 - 65 years) who require assistance with eating due to physical limitations. This study is a collaboration between Cornell University (Department of Computer Science) and Columbia University (Department of Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine).

Volunteers are needed to develop and test the usability of assistive robotic arms that are mounted on wheelchairs for the feeding activity. This study involves zoom interviews and actual device testing at Cornell University.

You can see a video of the device and get more details on it at this link: Please see the flyer below as well.

To ask questions and participate in the study, please contact Rajat Kumar Jenamani at or call 607-601-0603.

Flyer Above: Top of flyer is a picture of a white man with brown hair and facial hair who is a wheelchair user opening his mouth to receive a strawberry from a robotic arm with a fork. Blow picture in a red banner with white lettering, it reads: "Get Fed by a Robot...and get paid!" Below red banner it reads: "Recruiting participants for a Research Study on Robot-Assisted Feeding. Compensation: $10/hour for preliminary interview, $30/hour for evaluation of assistive feeding robot. Requirements: 18+ years old, Require assistance with feeding. Contact Rajat Kumar Jenamani,

$3 Million Workforce Initiative Coming to Oneida, Herkimer, Cortland, Tompkins and Jefferson Counties

Will expand the availability of respite for older adults and persons with disabilities.

Will provide extra income for older adults who provide respite

Rochester, NY – The New York State Caregiving and Respite Coalition (NYSCRC) managed by Lifespan of Greater Rochester Inc. announces a workforce initiative for older adults that will also increase the availability of respite for caregivers. The $3 million dollar initiative, funded by AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, is available in Lewis, Oneida, Herkimer, Cortland, Tompkins, and Jefferson counties.

Under the grant, the coalition will recruit and train 300 people 55 and older to provide respite for people caring for older adults and those with disabilities. Respite gives caregivers a several hour break from their responsibilities. People who provide respite with incomes below 400% of the poverty line will be eligible for two-year stipends to increase income. Four hundred percent of the poverty line includes income under $54,600 for one person or $73,200 for a two-person household. The goal is to increase the respite workforce and help about half of the 300 people find non-subsidized work providing respite and caregiving assistance.

National, state, and local surveys have shown respite to be the most frequently requested service by family caregivers. The 2020 report, “Caregiving in the U.S.” notes that, “Increasingly caregivers are recognizing that some services and supports, like respite care, would be helpful to their own situation. Just 14% report having used respite.”

The problem of lack of support for caregivers is compounded by a significant workforce shortage in home care. The workforce shortage issue in Upstate New York is disproportionately impacting people who need direct services. One in ten family caregivers have had to leave the workforce to care for loved ones. Respite is one of the keys ways to support caregivers. Additionally, today’s pre-retirees and postretirees want to continue to contribute in some way either for fulfillment, for additional income or for both. Within the six counties, people 55 and older comprise 30.6% of the population for a total of about 175,000 people. In each county, the coalition will partner with nonprofit organizations, faith communities and government departments to recruit people 55 and older for the positions.

The AmeriCorps grant is part of a demonstration initiative to enhance opportunities for adults ages 55+ to participate in national service activities, impact their community and gain the skills needed to transition back into the workforce. “Partnering with grantees like Lifespan will strengthen AmeriCorps Seniors’ efforts to impact the communities we serve and enhance the lives of our volunteers in a new and tangible way” said Atalaya Sergi, director, AmeriCorps Seniors. “We are excited to support older adults to use the skills they have and those they will develop to not only serve their community but find financial security and new purpose. Upon completion of their service, they will be prepared and supported to re-enter the workforce.”

The New York State Caregiving & Respite Coalition, managed by Lifespan of Greater Rochester, is a partnership of dedicated organizations and individuals committed to supporting the millions of our state's family caregivers.

Lifespan of Greater Rochester is a regional nonprofit organization providing information, guidance and more than 30 services for older adults and caregivers.

For more information about this opportunity to train and be paid as a respite provider, or for more information about the project, call 585-287-6393

Available for Free Through FLIC Leg and Arm Amputation Covers

A local resident is graciously knitting warm covers for those who have amputated limbs. A few covers have already been dropped off at the FLIC office and the local resident is ready to make more as needed. Stop by our office, call 607-272-2433, or email for more informaiton or if you would like a cover.

Image Left: Knitted amputation cover in stripped shades of brown against a canvas background.

Monthly Emergency Preparedness Tip

January-Make a Plan

The GOAL: Understand what puts you at risk from disasters and take steps to lower your risk.

Image Above: Photograph of four red dice against a white background. Each die has a letter in white imprinted on it. The four red dice together read, "RISK."

Task One: Plan what to do if you have to evacuate.

Choose two places for your family to meet. One should be right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire. The other should be outside of your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.

Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. You may choose to go to a hotel, stay with friends or family in a safe location, or go to a shelter. Hold evacuation drills at home. Practice getting out of the house quickly, and drive your planned evacuation route. The more you practice, the more confident you will be if you really have to evacuate.

Plan ahead for your pets. Due to health concerns, pets are not allowed in Red Cross shelters. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation route in case a designated pet shelter is not available. Contact your local humane society or animal shelter to ask if pet emergency shelters will be opened in a disaster.

Task Two: Take Steps to Prevent damage to your home in a disaster.

Once you know what disasters could happen in your community, there are things you can do to lower your risk of injury or property damage. Here are some suggestions.

Tornado – Add a tornado safe room to your home, or add extra protection to an existing room to keep your family safe in a tornado. Look for FEMA publication 320 for more information.

Hurricane – Install hurricane shutters. Keep trees around your house trimmed to prevent damage from falling branches. Secure your soffits to make sure that they won’t provide a way for wind and water to get into your home. Make sure entryway doors have three hinges and a deadbolt lock.

Wildfire – Use fire-resistant building materials like shingles and siding. Cut back branches and brush within 30 feet of your home. Keep firewood at least 30 feet away. Check into the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise program for more ideas.

Flood – Elevate your home above the base flood level or take steps to floodproof. Elevate your utilities above the base flood level. Make sure you have adequate flood venting. Use flood-resistant building materials when you build or remodel. Taking steps like these can lower your flood insurance rates.

Earthquake – Secure your furniture, appliances, and water heater to walls and floors. Install safety catches on cabinets and cupboard doors. Make sure your appliances are connected with flexible connections. Consider using a safety film on your windows or installing laminated glass to prevent injuries from broken glass.

Task three: Learn what disaster can happen in your area and decide what you will do in a disaster.

It is important to know what types of disasters can happen where you are. Is your home in a floodplain? Are you in an area that has earthquakes? When are tornadoes most likely to happen? Knowing what disasters could happen can help you know how to be prepared and what to do. Contact your local American Red Cross or emergency management office to learn more about the disasters in your area.

Meet with your family or household members. Discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work, and play. Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team. If a family member is in the military, plan how you would respond if they were deployed.

Talking About Disasters

Talking about disasters can be scary, especially with children, or with someone who may have difficulty coping with daily life. Be open and positive. The unknown often causes more anxiety than knowing the facts. Listen to what the individual has to say, learn how they feel and what they may be afraid of. Older people and people with disabilities may worry that asking for help during a disaster will take away their independence. Talk about different options for assistance and make a plan with them.

The Registry Referral Program

The Finger Lakes Independence Center administers the Registry Referral Program. This is a free referral service linking individuals seeking independent employment to people who need care in their home. Opportunities include: elder companion, housekeeper, run errands, cook, personal care aide, home care aide, LPN, RN. People looking for help can call and receive names of people willing to provide those services. If you either need assistance or if you would be interested in listing your name as a caregiver, pease call FLIC at 272-2433 or email: If you have experience caring for a friend or loved one, please consider sharing your compassion with others. This program is made possible through funding from the Tompkins County Office for the Aging. 

Need a Public Notary?

Contact Cheryl Baker at FLIC at

607-272-2433 to make an appointment.

Services are free!

Image left: gold star with the words "Notary Public" in black, bold letters in the center. Double circle surrounds these words. In the circle at the top it reads "Official" and, at the bottom, "Duly Commissioned."

Image Above: Photo of hands reading braille from a white paper resting on a flat surface. Overtop of the photo, in white lettering, it reads: "World Braille Day, 4 January."

Louis Braille was born on January 4, 1809 in France and invented the reading system of raised dots in 1824. World Braille Day reminds us of the importance of accessibility and independence for those who are blind or visually impaired.

Read this article from the United Nations:

Read the Article

Image Above: Red background with words in black and white letter reading: "National Blood Donor Month." Next to works is a white tear-drop shape to represent a drop of blood. Within the drop-shape is a red hand with a white hand inside it.

Give the gift of life in the New Year! January is National Blood Donor Month. Visit the American Red Cross website, click below, to find a Blood Drive near you.

Red Cross

Image Above: Close-up photo of the right side of a woman's face, focusing on her brown eye. Next to her face it reads, "January is Glaucoma Awareness Month." All words are in black except "Glaucoma," which is in Green.

More than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58 percent increase.

Glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight” since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it’s permanent. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing.

Continue Reading

Image Above: Photo of a baby, in a diaper only, laying on their stomach and pushing themselves up with their arms to look toward the camera. Next to the baby it reads, "January is Birth Defect Prevention Month." The word "January" is in rainbow letters and "prevention" is in green.

CDC recognizes January as National Birth Defects Awareness Month. This is a time to raise awareness about birth defects and highlight efforts to improve the health of people living with these conditions across their lifespan. Join the nationwide effort to raise awareness of birth defects and their impact on individuals, parents, and families.

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