President’s Message – April-June 2019

President’s Message – April-June 2019

Angie Blackley

Well, 2019 is underway and the Network in Aging is no exception to the excitement the New Year has brought. Beginning with the January Social held at the Pierce Arrow Museum, we had nearly 130 in attendance that included both members and their guests. This event was wonderful and the exhibits, food and networking were top notch. Kudos to the Special Events committee.

Not to be out done is the Network with the Network committee and the Education Committee as they are busy planning the next several events to come.

One such event was held on April 10th.. The Education committee planned a well-received FREE open forum entitled – ‘Health Across All Policies and Healthy Aging in NYS’. This well attended event highlighted Governor Cuomo’s 2017 State of the State address. In this address he directed state agencies to employ a more proactive and interactive approach to improving New York’s overall population health to become the healthiest state in the country. With this $15 million incentive the Governor is looking to how all of the policies, programs, and initiatives support New York State’s aging population developing a blueprint to reduce health disparities and improve the health of all New Yorker’s. Guest speakers Greg Oslen-Acting director for NYS Office for Aging and Randall Hoak-Associate State Director Community Outreach at AARP address how this would be implemented benefiting seniors in NYS.

The Networking committee has planned an event that will be held at The Lockport Presbyterian Home on April 17th from 4:30-6:30pm with a “Sweet Spring” theme. It will be sponsored by Presbyterian Senior Care, Oasis Senior Advisors and Sheridan Benefits.

Following close behind on May 9th, the Networking committee has planned a fun filled evening called “Learn About You”, a progressive dinner event held at The Barrel Factory in Buffalo from 4:30pm to 8:00pm for members only. It promises to be a wonderful networking event where you can highlight yourself and your agency or business to other members in attendance. The format is based on the premise of speed dating but is networking instead. Registration is underway and 40 spots are still available. It’s sponsored by Allegra Cheektowaga, The Olear team/MJ Peterson, Elderwood and Mount Calvary Cemetery. Be sure to bring plenty of business cards.

On May 14th from 12:00pm-4:30pm, the Education committee will present a workshop –‘Anxiety and Depression in Older Adults’ – What we know & Available Mental Health Resources. Cost is $25 that will include lunch and will be held at Meals on Wheels a program FeedMore of WNY. Keynote speaker is Dr. Mark Gunther, PhD, Psychologist at ECMC along with a panel of 9 local service providers. Don’t miss this informative event!

Save the date for June 5th for a fun Network event at the Historic Riviera Theater in North Tonawanda from 4:30pm-6:30pm. There will be food, drink, music and backstage tours of this beautiful building as well as a free concert by the ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’. This will be sponsored by M&T Bank – Reverse Mortgage, MJ Peterson/The Olear team, Amazing Home Care, Magavern Magavern Grimm LLP & ACSIA Partners – Dana Dee.

Coming in early July on Tuesday the 2nd from 4:30-6:30pm BlueCross and BlueShield of WNY will sponsor a summer Network with the Network event held at their beautiful bamboo atrium downtown on Genesee St., Buffalo. Celebrate Independence Day with a ‘Cornhole’ Tournament and other fun events. Visit the Network in Aging web site for additional details.

And don’t forget the much anticipated Taste of the Network on Tuesday, July 23rd from 12pm-2pm. This is our annual culinary cook off where chefs/cooks from our member agencies compete in winning awards in different food categories. It also gives you the chance to taste all of their tidbits for just $15.00!

Visit the Network website to obtain additional information on any of these events and remember to “Like Us” on Facebook and visit us on “LinkedIn”. All the Network in Aging committees are working hard to develop exciting enhancements that will benefit our members.

The Network Board of Directors are dedicated in keeping the recently restructured Strategic Plan working for members by providing these events and future events to come. Come Join Us.

Remember-“A Comfort Zone is a Beautiful Place but Nothing ever Grows There”-unknown author.

President’s Message – Spring 2019

President’s Message – Jan-Mar 2019

Angie Blackley

A DREAM written down with a date becomes a GOAL A goal broken down into steps becomes a PLAN.  A plan backed by ACTION becomes REALITY.  This is what I see when I think of the Network in Aging.

For the members who don’t quite know who I am I would like to introduce myself as the new President of the Network in Aging.

For the past 30 years I have worked in the field of aging in some capacity or another making this my field of expertise. Advocating for nearly seventeen years on both a state and national level I worked alongside many organizations dedicated to the goal of improving and keeping services in place for our elderly. I served as a delegate on the 2005 White House Conference on Aging representing Congressman Thomas Reynolds Western New York district. As delegates we were influential in developing new changes that would impact our nation’s elderly. This was my most moving experience.

Joining the Network in Aging and serving on the Board of Directors back in 2011 gave me a whole new perspective to what this organization is all about.  I got my feet wet by joining the Education Committee, soon after I was asked to co-chair. When asked to serve as Secretary of the Network I jumped in whole hardly and was up for the task. I served on the Strategic Planning Committee this past year and really got a feel for the expansive history this organization has and why we do what we do. I encourage any member to get involved with the Network and reap the benefits of friendship, networking and education.

This organization thrives with the leadership of our hard working Board of Directors and Committee members solely dedicated our mission. We recently launched a new Facebook page, be sure to ‘Like Us’. Coming soon is ‘LinkedIn’ and the social media exposure is growing. Welcome to our new members.

Membership has grown a current 385 members, 114 member agencies and 43 individual, student and retirees.  The Network with the Network events have become a wonderful way to meet your peers by drawing in members for a fun and educational event. Please join the Network in Aging on January 22nd for ‘Cruise in for a Classic Time’ at the Pierce Arrow Museum. The event includes a guided tour, hors d’oeuvres and open bar. The event is open to guests 21 or older. See our website for additional information and registration. Thank-you to our sponsors: Harris Beach PLLC Attorneys at Law and  Laping, Surdej Associates, LLC, and thanks to our dessert table courtesy of People Inc., Univera Healthcare, and Touching Hearts at home. This year our honorary charity will be: Buffalo Niagara Honor Flight.

I am proud to serve as the new President and thank the Network in Aging board of directors for their vote of confidence electing me to this position.

Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word. Happy New Year!!

President’s Message – Oct-Dec 2018

President’s Message
Kristin Surdej

It is hard for me to believe my two-year term as president of the Network In Aging of WNY is coming to an end.  It went by very quickly, probably because we are always so busy, time really does fly.  I offer a special thank you to Lisa our coordinator, my fellow officers, board members, committee members and member agencies.  It is because of the support and hard work of all involved in this important local organization that we are able to accomplish all the things we do.  Keep up the good work!  I look forward to continuing my work with the Network as your past president and through committee work.

This is also an opportunity to look back and reflect.  In September we lost one of our dedicated and passionate past presidents, Robert Wills.  Please join me offering our sympathies and prayers to the Wills family.  There will be a memorial service for Bob in early November.  Let us never forget those we have come to know through the Network who have left us, their memories stay with us forever and make us smile. – Jerry Flaschner (2006), Nancy Tullmello (2013), Laura Mondello (2014), Clifford Whitman (2015), Michele Maloney (2017) and Leonard Sikora (2018).

July was a busy month with another very successful Taste of the Network at the Amherst Senor Center and a Network with the Network event at Centers Health Care on Delaware.  The theme of the Network with the Network event was a Night Under the Big Top with a wine and beer tent, favorite carnival eats and a midway of interactive games.  The event was co-hosted by Centers Health Care, Fallon Health Weinberg and Eden Heights.

August’s Network with the Network event was held at Presbyterian Village at North Church with a western/rodeo theme.  BBQ and entertainment by line dancers to some western music were on hand and an ice cream truck for dessert!  Congratulations to our very own Lisa Boron, one of the winners of the costume/western dressed contest.  The event was co-hosted by Presbyterian Village at North Church, Eldercare Solutions of WNY, Meals On Wheels for WNY and the Bee Group Newspapers.

September’s Network with the Network event was held at the Jewish Community Center.  Those in attendance had a chance to partake in some Fall favorites to eat and zipped into the Fall season with zip lining.  There were some first timers for the zip lining who were able to cross the fun activity off their bucket list.  Thank you to our hosts Jewish Family Services, Touching Hearts at Home, Weinberg Campus and Allegra Cheektowaga.

See you soon at one of our upcoming Network with the Network and annual meeting.


President’s Message – July-Sep 2018

Kristin Surdej

I write this message to the membership as we are beginning the official start of summer.

April was a busy month for the Network in Aging.  First, the Network with the Network event for April was hosted at the Hospice Buffalo campus along with the Olear Team MJ Peterson Realty, Pfalzgraf, Beinhauer & Menzies Counsel for Generation, Dengler, Roberts, Perna Funeral Home and Geriatric Care Managers of Western New York.  This was an informative networking event; the theme was Cyber Security with William Prohn from Dopkins System Consultants to present.  Also, in April the Network hosted its first workshop of the year at Meals On Wheels Community Center.  The topic was the Opioid Crisis and the effects on older adults.  A special thank you to our panel of speakers, Dr. Gale Burnstein, Colleen Osborne a nurse, Kathy Kanaley a social worker and sheriff James Voutour.  The panel gave us information and views from different perspectives related to their experiences and areas of expertise.

May’s Network with the Network was hosted by The Amberleigh along with co-hosts Michelle Dill Keller Williams Realty, PharMerica, First Light Home Care and Amherst Center for Senior Services.  In honor of Older Americans month and all we do as caregivers and professionals it was our turn to be spoiled and taken care of.  Professionals were on hand to give manicures, make-overs, chair massages and haircuts.  What more could we ask for!

June was a busy month as well for the Network.  We hosted an education workshop on Sleep with Dr. Daniel Rifkin as our speaker at the Meals On Wheel Community Center.  Dr. Rifkin was very engaging and informative. He shared information we all could related to and use, as well as information specific to the aging population.  The Network with the Network for June was hosted by Brookdale at their Kenmore location along with Preventive Diagnostics and MedVan.  The theme was a Garden Party, very appropriate to issue in summer.  Dana Dee, one of our fabulous VPs was on hand for the welcome and to update all in attendance on upcoming Network in Aging events.

In closing, I look forward to seeing as many members as possible at the Taste of the Network in July.  We will be honoring former board member, the late Jerry Flaschner, by awarding two $1,000 scholarships this year.  Come enjoy the great food and help us congratulate students pursuing a career in the field of aging.

President’s Message – Winter 2018

Kristin Surdej

I write this message to the membership as we enter a new year, 2018.

We celebrated Fall in the month of October together in Niagara County with host Lockport Presbyterian Home and co-hosts Accessible Home Solutions, Hearts & Hands, Preventative Diagnostics and R.J. Financial Associates.  The theme was October fallfest with local fall treats, including cider.

Mount Calvary Pine Lawn Cemetery was the host along with co-hosts Dietrich Funeral Home, Laping, Surdej Associates and Sitters On Standby in November for the Network with the Network.  The theme was giving thanks and highlighted our veterans by collecting donations to ship overseas and making cards to distribute at the VA hospital.

Thank you to Juniper Glen for hosting December’s Network with the Network event along with Allegra, Center for Elder Law & Justice and Clear Captions.  The mood was festive with some attendees decked out in ugly holiday sweaters.  The entertainment by Sax Man Slim added to the festivities.  We had the unique opportunity to view the new Alzheimer’s Special Care Center just prior to opening its doors to the first residents.

The Strategic Planning Committee has completed all planned sessions and added one additional session to wrap up some lose ends before the end of the year.  Dopkins & Company had been excellent partners with the Network in this endeavor.  A special thank you to Ralph Jeswald and Sarah Hedges, our facilitators.  A presentation to the full board of the work completed by the Strategic Planning Committee is scheduled for January and the board will likely vote on implementation of suggestions of the Strategic Planning Committee at our March full board meeting.  Once approved we can move forward on implementation.  This is where the board, committee members and you are key.  We will be looking for members, those new and those longstanding to step up and take ownership of the work to carry out the strategic plan over the next three years.  I will share more exciting details with you in the next newsletter.

I look forward to the new year, everything in store for the Network and seeing everyone at the January Social.  Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!

President’s Message – Fall 2017

Kristin Surdej

Fall, one of my favorite seasons is upon us.  Let’s remember to take time to give thanks for those special people in our lives both professional and personal, some you may have even met through the Network.  Let me recap for you some of the activities at the Network this past quarter.

Taste of the Network in July lived up to its reputation as a feature event of the year.  Members, guests and judges alike were impressed with the vast assortment of delicious options.  No one went away hungry.  Be sure to check out pictures in this newsletter from the event.  Congratulations to Megan Pohzehl as the winner of the Jerry Flaschner Humanitarian Spirit Education Award scholarship, we wish her the best in her educational endeavors.

August’s Network with the Network was held at Bristol Village in Clarence and co-hosted by Touching Hearts at Home.  The theme of a Luau Party was perfect for the summer.  Good food, drink and conversation was had by all who attended.  We were entertained by the Ukeladies, they did a superb job.

September’s Network with the Network was held at Centers Health Care in Buffalo and co-hosted by Wheatfield Commons DePaul and Alpine Home Health Care.  The theme was Magical New Beginnings.  Appropriately so, the hosting member all has something new and exciting to share. Centers Health Care announced a name change of their Waterfront facility to Ellicott with a ribbon cutting as part of the evening s events.  The food and desserts were astounding and we were entertained by two impressive magicians and caricature drawings.

Strategic Planning convened with a kick-off session as part of a full board meeting on September 5th.  Dopkins & Company are our facilitators.  At the time of writing this message we have since held a 3-hour session.  The session was filled with good ideas and passionate discussion.  We have four more 2-hour sessions to go.  We are planning for the process to be completed by year end with recommendations brought before the board.

I close by wishing all our members a safe and enjoyable fall/winter season.  I will see you at the Annual Meeting where we will benefit from valuable insight from or speaker Dr. Wil Miller and announce the Dr. Evans Calkins Award for Meritorious Service and the Program Award of Excellence winners.