For 70 years, LifePath has been dedicated to serving the senior community by offering impactful programs and services that advocate for independence, engagement, and overall well-being. Initially known as the Senior Citizens Centers, the organization was one of the first agencies in the Capital Region to provide supportive services to older adults. There was tremendous support from the community to get things up and running in 1952. The YMCA donated space, and the Senior Citizens Centers were offered temporary cash support from the Council of Jewish Women and the Junior League of Albany. The city adult education funds also provided an in-kind program director. In 1954, the Center accepted membership and support from the Community Chest and continued to grow and add programming through the ’50s and ’60s. Utilizing these generous resources, the first senior center was able to open and successfully provide social, recreational, educational, and health activities for the older adults in the Albany area.
In the 1970s, the agency began offering additional programs to local seniors with support from the Older Americans Act legislation. The number of Centers that offered congregate meals, health services, social activities, arts & crafts, counseling, and bingo expanded to 13 locations by 1979. With a greater emphasis on providing services in various locations, the agency changed its name to Senior Service Centers of the Albany Area, Inc.
Newgate was one of the first social model adult day programs in the area and was started in 1985. In 1986, the Albany County Department of Aging requested our involvement in the Meals on Wheels program. Nearly 100,000 meals were served during the first year of participation, and by 1989, the Meals on Wheels program was expanded to include the non-elderly disabled population. Nearly 8 million meals have been prepared and delivered since making this change.
The early 1990s marked the beginning of another new era. The agency’s name changed to Senior Services of Albany, where additional services for caregivers, hired social workers to help navigate increasingly difficult government programs and Health Insurance Counseling were added. Moving into the 21st Century, the organization continued to grow and develop new opportunities for the local senior population.
In 2019, it was determined that yet another name change was necessary to better to reflect the organization’s true values and mission. Senior Services of Albany was reborn as LifePath, which was meant to embody the organization’s extensive growth and available assistance beyond just elder services. LifePath added several evidence-based programs and continued to ensure that the services provided are engaging, effective and relevant. Also, specializing in helping older adults and their caregivers manage the various transitions we all experience as we get older, LifePath connects caregivers with resources, explores options for in-home care and assists families in making informed decisions based on their personal needs.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a plethora of challenges that all involved in the LifePath community felt, but that didn’t cease efforts to continue services in whatever capacity possible. Virtual programming became the norm for the Social Adult Day programs guests where individuals were able to stay engaged with others while remaining safe in their own homes. Online book clubs and other activities were also offered to try to maintain some communal socialization. Meals on Wheels successfully continued operations throughout the chaos, and those who participated in congregate meals were switched immediately to home delivery to ensure that everyone could get what they needed.
Approximately a year into the pandemic, LifePath was able to increase in-person interactions as state guidelines started to change slowly. Congregate meals being temporarily delivered eventually became on-site grab-and-go, and efforts were made to safely re-open day programs. In September 2021, the Cohoes Companions were finally able to cautiously resume in-person activities, and Newgate Social Adult Day Program followed suit in April 2022, as they moved into their new, fully renovated location in Albany.
LifePath has worked hard to persevere through COVID-19 and revive the programs and resources that were temporarily lost. Being able to personally and positively engage with the public is paramount, and this organization is overjoyed to be once again able to properly assist and connect with the community.