LifePath (formerly Senior Services of Albany) has been helping older adults remain independent and living in their communities for over 65 years. A number of times during those years our understanding of the aging process and our society’s perception of older adults has changed and evolved. Some of the most significant changes in how we look at aging and older adults have taken place over the past few years. Thus in 2019, we found ourselves at a point where we had simply outgrown our name, and after reviewing who we are and what we do we have emerged as LifePath. LifePath is about the journey through life and how to navigate the transitions associated with aging – at any stage – and to maintain independence and continue to live a full life with dignity and joy.
Our story begins…
In 1952, the Senior Citizens Centers, as it was known then, began as one of the first agencies to serve the elderly in the Capital Region. With donated space from the YMCA, temporary cash support from the Council of Jewish Women and the Junior League of Albany, and an in-kind program director provided by the city adult education funds, the first senior center began providing social, recreational, educational, and health activities for the older adults of the Albany area. The Center accepted membership and support from the Community Chest in 1954 and continued to grow and add programming through the ’50s and ’60s.
In the 1970s, with support from the Older Americans Act legislation, the agency began offering additional programs to the elderly. The number of Centers where we offered congregate meals, health services, social activities, arts & crafts, counseling, and bingo expanded to 13 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.. Transportation services were was added in the early 80’s and today we transport hundreds of older adults to medical appointments, community dining centers, and grocery shopping.
In 1985, Newgate, one of the first social model adult day programs in the area was started, and in 1986, at the request of the Albany County Department of the Aging, we took on the Meals on Wheels program. During that first year, just fewer than 100,000 meals were served. By 1989, the Meals on Wheels program was expanded to include the non-elderly disabled and since its inception close to 8 million meals have been prepared and delivered.
The early 1990’s marked the birth of another new era and a name change to Senior Services of Albany. We added services for Caregivers, hired social workers to help people navigate increasingly difficult government programs and began providing Health Insurance Counseling. As we moved into the 21st Century, we continue to grow and bring innovative services to our community. We added a number of evidence-based programs and continue to make sure that the services we provide are engaging, effective and relevant. Our experience, flexibility and unique collaboration of public and private partnerships, allows us to continue to respond to an ever-changing market.