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


Image Above: Photo of holiday string lights in rainbow colors out of focus so that they appear as slightly hazy dots. In white letters in the center it reads, "Happy Holidays."

The Finger Lakes Independence Center staff wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season!

FLIC will be closed on Mondays,

December 26 and 30.

Remembering and Honoring Lois Curtis

Image Above: Photograph of Lois Curtis, an African American woman with short curly black hair, small hoop earrings, wearing a black and white blouse and a big smile. She is holding a self-portrait and another artpiece portrait of a white person with brown hair and a white shirt.

On November 4, our nation lost a significant advocate for disability rights. Lois Curtis died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 55 in her own home outside of Atlanta. She was the lead plaintiff in a landmark Supreme Court case that gave people with disabilities the right to seek care services in their own homes and communities, not just in institutions. In the landmark case of L.C. vs. Olmstead, Lois Curtis advocated for the right to live in her community, and not in a facility. Olmstead is considered the Brown vs. the Board of Education for Disability Rights. Olmstead recognized that the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act protect the right of people with disabilities to live in their own homes and receive services in their own communities. Lois was a child when she was institutionalized for the first time and fought for almost two decades to be allowed to return home. 

Read a few of the tributes to her life and legacy. Click the links below:

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 and registration now available through the TCPL. The book group will be held virtually through Zoom. Email or with questions. 

Click Here to Register and Reserve Your Copy of the Book

Your Voice, Your Vote Event

Photo by Constance Stirling

Image Above: Photo taken outside with fall leaves in the background. In the foreground, center, is a display table with a blue tablecloth filled with materials. Poster hanging on the front of the tablecloth states, "FLIC Advocacy Center." Behind the table are three people; FLIC staff Rashke Bradly and Larry Roberts, and a third person, a white woman with brown hair pulled back in a pony tail. She is wearing a Greenstar Coop (local grocery store coop) Tshirt and is standing with her hands behind her back. Rashke is a white person with short curly hair and a maroon shirt. Larry is a white man with a long beard, glasses and is wearing a blue shirt and a baseball cap.

Staff members Larry Roberts and Rashke Bradley participated in the Your Voice, Your Vote event on November 5th. With ice cream, music and speeches, the event celebrated our right to participation and the need to make our voices heard on issues that matter to us. While there, Larry gave a speech to attendees about accessibility and disability voting rights. 

Your Voice, Your Vote (YV2) Is a coalition of organizations united to do locally based, nonpartisan promotion of civic engagement. The group orginated as an idea in the Tompkins County Human Rights Commission, a volunteer advisory board whose members are appointed by the Tompkins County Legislature, and advise the county's Office for Human Rights.

(The Ithaca Voice)

Read the article about this new coalition by clicking the button below:

The Ithaca Voice

Photo by Constance Stirling

Image Abover: Photo of outside event. In the background, trees with fall leaves and three-story city buildings. In the foreground, small park with black iron fence surrounding it. In the park are display tables in a circle around the park, with tables covered in materials. People mingle behind and in front of the tables. On the black fence leading into the park banners are attached. Most visible banner states; "Let us March on til Victory is Won." Another banner, more difficult to read, states, "ABCs of Black History Month."

Image Above: Photo of Raske Bradley--white person with curly brown hair, wearing a white KN95 mask and a black shirt, and holding their black cat.

FLIC's Rashke Bradley contributes Op-Ed piece to The Ithaca Voice

Op-Ed: What most of Common Council didn’t understand about snow--a reaction to the Common Council's decision to not fund the snow removal pilot project.

The Snow Coalition will continue to meet to work on winter crosswalk and sidewalk accessibility. If you are interested in this topic or want updates, email Eric Lerner, and look for our FaceBook page: Ithaca's Impassable Sidewalks.

Read Rashke's article

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

Image Above: At top of image, in turquoise letters, it reads "Open Enrollment." Below words in center of image is a stethoscope laying on a wooden surface. Below stethoscope, in Scrabble letter tiles, it reads "Medicare."

Medicare Open Enrollment Continues through Dec. 7

Certified HIICAP counselors offer FREE, non-biased 1:1 health insurance counseling on a first-come, first-served basis, on the following clinic dates:

Thursday, December 1, 9:00 to Noon

Tuesday, December 6, 9:00 to Noon

New Walk-ins not accepted 30 minutes before the clinic ends.

Limited scheduled appointments available on 12/7.

Call Lifelong at 607-273-1511 for more information.

The following essay was submitted posthumously by Lynn Alve’s sister. Lynn passed away at age 64 on March 29, 2020 from respiratory failure due to muscular dystrophy. She wrote this essay in her mid-fifties. Her longtime friend Jon was there to hold her hand during her last days of life.

Discovering Life and Love at Age Fifty

– by Lynn Alve

It’s exciting to think about discovery when I’m over 50, with a disability, and unemployed. I discovered that I still have the will to make changes in my life. I was bored with my life, not that I wanted to end it, I was just bored and boring. I was too young to feel like I’m just biding my time until I die in 15-20 years or whenever it is that I’m supposed to die. I made changes, primarily within myself – worked on my self-esteem and enhanced my interpersonal skills – and I was surprised when I discovered that it wasn’t too late to find the love of my life.

It all started with the guy who works at the muffler shop. It was almost five years ago, when I brought my car in for an oil change and ended up having dinner a week later with Jay, the shop manager. I always enjoyed chatting with him during the three years I had been bringing my car there for service, but he seemed especially charming that afternoon. He jokingly asked me if he could stow away in the back of my SUV so he could escape his busy day at work. He also made it a point to mention an ex-wife, which he had never done before. I wanted to find out if it was just my imagination that he was interested in me or if he was just flirting. To test that theory, since it was December, I brought some Christmas cookies I had made to his store a few days later. My hunch was correct and we met for dinner that evening. Our first date seemed promising. I hadn’t dated anyone in several years, and I thought that part of my life was over, so it felt wonderful to feel that spark of excitement and nervousness of first dates again. It was short lived, however. After a second date and a couple of phone calls, I heard nothing more from him.

Over the next several months and after two unsuccessful blind dates, I was discouraged. I lamented to my hair stylist about my sorry dating life. Tracey had been my hair stylist for several years, and I trusted her and often confided in her. She had set up the two previous blind dates, and she wanted to try again. “The UPS guy who delivers to my shop is single and is very nice,” she said hopefully. I was touched that she wanted to find someone for me, but I told her, “No thanks, but I’m done with blind dates for a while.”

I was bummed about the whole dating business, but it lit a fire in me to break out of my safe, boring rut. I wanted to create a more interesting life, but I had some work to do on myself. I purchased a couple of self-help books and I not only read them in their entirety, but I actually followed the authors’ tips and advice. I had purchased many self-help books over the years, most of them partially read, tossed in a drawer, and forgotten. This time I was on a mission. I recited positive affirmations, wrote lists, and practiced a few other rituals designed to increase self-esteem. Oprah would have been impressed.

Now that I was feeling braver, stronger, and more confident, I was ready to expand my circle of friends and get out into the world and do the things I wanted to do! I used to find excuses not to do something because I feared the unknown or worried what people might think about me – but that was no longer going to hold me back. I joined a singles group whose primary mission is to bring single people together to socialize as a group, not necessarily for the purpose of meeting one’s “soul mate.” That suited me just fine.

I became a member of the singles group after the first weekly dinner I attended. It was one of the smartest things I had done in a long, long time. Since joining the group, I have met many singles my age and older and I’ve made lots of new friends. The best thing that happened was meeting Jon.

I met Jon at the first singles dinner I attended. He and the woman he was dating at the time sat next to me. I liked him right away. He was personable, smart, interesting, attractive and well-mannered. I remember thinking, “now that’s the type of guy I’d like to date,” but never imagined I would. During the course of a year, we saw each other at the singles group activities, but other than small talk, we didn’t know each other very well. I was surprised when he asked me out the following spring. Like me, he is the youngest child from a close-knit family, had parents who were happily married for over 60 years (we’ve each lost a parent since we met), was raised with similar values, was born and raised in Ithaca, has no children, and has never been married. I’m not able ski, sail, hike, or kayak with him, as he likes to do, but we enjoy spending time together. We go to dinner, watch movies, stay in and I cook (cooking is one of my hobbies), and get together with family and friends, including our friends in the singles group. We have a wonderful relationship. We let each other be who we are and we respect each other. I feel so lucky to have this loving relationship with him.

After having been so bored with life, I’m happier now that I could have ever imagined. Life isn’t always easy. I have a progressive disability, making mobility increasingly more difficult. I sometimes worry that Jon will eventually find it too stressful to deal with a girlfriend who will become more and more dependent on other people, as my muscles continue to waste away. However, for the past four years that we’ve been seeing each other, he seems to take everything regarding my needs in stride. I know it sometimes tries his patience, but her never says so. I try to focus on the present and to enjoy what I have. For the most part, I manage to do that.

I’ve discovered that I am a strong person emotionally. Never mind that my body is falling apart physically. I’ve been told by some people over the years that I am strong – and I was surprised they thought that. However, I’m not surprised now because I believe it myself. I wanted to change my life, and I managed to pull it off and along the I way I unexpectedly met the love of my life. 

Finger Lakes Independence Center encourages stories and experiences around disability that any of our subscribers and consumers would like to share. Please submit any articles and essays to Teressa Sivers at

Inclusive Fitness

Image above: Photo of a busy fitness center. Exercise equipment along back wall. Group of people in the center of the room stretching with one arm raised over their heads. 

Inclusive programs provide the opportunity for individuals with disabilities to participate in typical, community-based, activities and services, alongside their peers without disabilities, as equals. Inclusion means more than welcoming individuals with disabilities into the same spaces as people without disabilities - although this is important! It requires being prepared for and intentional about ensuring that individuals with disabilities have the same opportunity to participate as your other customers or clients.

Being fully inclusive means that people with and without disabilities are able to access the space and its features, and are made to feel welcome there as they use the site together.

The goal is to create a fully inclusive environment. A fully inclusive environment refers to the seamless use of the environment by all people, regardless of disability or other types of diversity. It also refers to a culture that is welcoming to all participants.

Follow this link to learn more: The Inclusive Toolkit

Image Above: In red against a white background, a buffalo with white glasses is reading a book laying on the ground. Below the buffalo and book, it reads; "Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, NY

From the Buffalo Street Books Cooperative

Buffalo Street Books Cooperative is looking for artists and writers who identify themselves as having a disability. Buffalo Street Books Cooperative promotes community literacy and advocates for the inclusive voices of those with all abilities.

Currently, we are putting together a gallery showing in our community space that would feature the writings and art work of those who identify as having a disability.

If you are a writer or artist who identifies as having a disability and would like to contribute to our gallery, please contact either Susan Eschbach or Jeff Boles at FLIC

Image Above: Cornell University Logo-red against a white background. In the center, a shield with an open book, a smaller shield with field and sun, and a smaller shielf with horizontal stripes. Around shield, in a double circle it reads; "Cornell University, Founded A.D. 1865."

Cornell Older Adult Wayfinding Study: PARTICIPANTS NEEDED!

DAIL is a research lab at Cornell University (, and we are currently looking to recruit older adults aged 60+ for our wayfinding study starting this month. It is approximately a 2-hour time commitment, and participants are compensated with a $50 gift card. Prospective participants should register here:

For any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to email Angella Lee ( and/or Bill Xu (, or call or text 607-232-8488 during standard business hours

Image Above: Entrance to Cayuga Medical Center's emergency department with local ambulance pulled up outside.

Emergency Preparedness Monthly Goal

Goal for December

Be prepared to give first aid while waiting for an ambulance.

An emergency can happen at any time and any place. Many public places have a first aid kit, oxygen, or an AED (automated external defibrillator) to treat people. These items can only save lives if someone knows how to use them. Actions you take in the first few minutes after an injury or other medical incident may save someone’s life.


Task One: Know What to do while waiting for an ambulance to arrive

Call 911 instead of trying to take an injured or ill person to the hospital yourself. It seems like waiting for an ambulance will make it take longer to get help, but ambulance crews can start providing care as soon as they arrive. They can get the patient to hospital quickly, legally, and more safely.

1.    Stay on the line with 911 and follow emergency instructions.

2.    Stay calm and try to keep the patient calm.

3.    Don’t move a patient who was injured in an automobile accident or fall, or who was found unconscious.

4.    If the patient is cold, cover them with a blanket.

5.    Don’t give an injured person anything to eat or drink (unless instructed by the 911 dispatcher).

6.    Have someone watch for the ambulance and show the crew how to get to the patient. (This is especially important in an apartment or office building, or if your address is hard to see from the street).

Task Two: Make or buy first aid kits for your home and car

Ready-made first aid kits are available at most department stores or your local American Red Cross chapter. These kits come in a variety of sizes and prices. You can also make your own kit from supplies you probably already have around the house.

Some items that should be included in a basic first aid kit are:

  • Adhesive Tape
  • Gauze Pads & Roller Gauze (assorted sizes)
  • Antiseptic Ointment
  • Hand Sanitizer (liquid or wipes)
  • Band-Aids (assorted sizes)
  • Plastic Bags
  • Blanket
  • Scissors and Tweezers
  • Cold Pack
  • Small Flashlight and Extra Batteries
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Triangular Bandage

Task Three: Take training in first aid, CPR. AED or per first aid

Helping others in a medical emergency isn’t as hard to learn as you might think. Knowing how to apply a bandage, identify the signs and symptoms of shock, perform CPR or use an automatic external defibrillator (AED) can save a life.

First responders may not be on the scene for five minutes or more. It is up to individuals like you to be ready to help someone who is injured. The person whose life you save may be someone that you love.

Many American Red Cross chapters now offer training in pet first aid. Training may also be available through your local humane society, kennel club, or pet store. Check with your veterinarian to see what special items you may need to include in a first aid kit for your pets. If you travel with your pet, or if they are service or hunting animals, you may want to make a travel-sized pet first aid kit as well.

Contact your local fire department or American Red Cross chapter to learn what first aid classes are available in your area. Ask your employer if they will sponsor a class for your workplace, or take a class with your family or on your own. Many classes are offered free of charge. Courses may also be offered at your place of worship, school, or community organization. Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training also includes first aid training.

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. 

Image Above: White Background. Across the middle it reads: "Happy New Year 2023." The words, "Happy New Year" are in black cursive. "2023" is large in gold glitter.