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 elders. There was tremendous support from the community to get things up and running in 1952. Space was donated by the YMCA and the Senior Citizens Centers were offered temporary cash support from the Council of Jewish Women and the Junior League of Albany. An in-kind program director was also provided by the city adult education funds. 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, with support from the Older Americans Act legislation, the agency began offering additional programs to local seniors. 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 the involvement of the organization to run their Home Delivered Meals Program. Nearly 100,000 meals were served during the first year of participation, and by 1989, the 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 1990’s marked the beginning of another new era and consequently a name change to Senior Services of Albany. New programs such as services for caregivers and health insurance counseling we added and social workers were hired to help navigate increasingly difficult government programs. 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 another new name was necessary to better reflect the organization’s true values and changes. The Senior Services of Albany was reborn as LifePath, meant to embody the organization’s extensive growth and available assistance which goes beyond just elder services. A number of evidence-based programs were added and LifePath evaluated programs to be sure that what is being provided is engaging, effective and relevant. LifePath also specializes in helping both seniors and caregivers manage the various transitions we all experience as we get older, whether it be connecting caregivers with resources, exploring options for in-home care, or assisting families in making informed decisions based on their personal needs.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a plethora of challenges that was felt by all involved in the LifePath community, but that didn’t cease efforts to continue services in whatever capacity possible. Virtual video sessions became available to guests and residents to remain involved in the Day Program while being able to stay safely 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 to home delivery to ensure that everyone could get what they needed.
Approximately a year into the pandemic, LifePath was able to slowly increase in-person interactions as state guidelines started to change. Congregate meals being temporarily delivered eventually became on-site grab-and-go, and efforts were being made to safely re-open day centers. By the end of the first quarter 2022 all programs were re-opened.
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 once again be able to properly assist and connect with the community.