PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. - Senior citizens have special needs, regardless of how healthy they are, said Geri Brooks, who has been the director of senior services at White Plains Hospital for more than 25 years.
Natural age makes people lose some feeling in their fingers, she said, and older adults also start to see the lens of their eyes beginning to yellow. That sometimes makes determining colors complicated, Brooks said.
“When talking about lives, we are not just looking solely at their medical lives,” Brooks said. “We have to look at all areas that touch their lives.”
Brooks said the upcoming Care Giver Conference at Pace University in Pleasantville, scheduled for Nov. 18 and sponsored by the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services and its Caregiver Coalition, Westchester Public/Private Partnership for Aging Services and Pace University’s College of Health Professionals, is meant to help seniors and caregivers alike.
“Give Me A Break, Lend Me A Hand,” which will be held between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., will focus on the generation taking care of their loved ones, Brooks said. The keynote speaker is Shannon White of News 12, who recently published "The Invisible Conversations with Your Aging Parents."
Brooks said the conference is only one service her department provides, calling the program at White Plains Hospital an umbrella program, which covers everything from wellness care to palliative care.
“We link people into the most appropriate program,” said Brooks, a geriatric nurse practitioner. “Anyone can call us with an issue about a loved one who is an older adult."
Brooks said they have helped adult children out of state determine the best way to handle medical situations, as well as assisted families in Westchester find services for parents who are living out of state.
A resident of Nanuet, Brooks is active in many senior organizations and said she experienced senior caregiving on a personal level when she cared for her parents. Her father had Parkinson’s Disease for 14 years and her mother dealt with cardiac issues.
Brooks is also the chair of the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services Caregiver Coalition and teaches courses about how to understand seniors' needs better.
“I am passionate about seniors and the care we provide them," she said. "I listen to what it is they want and see if we can try to provide that for them.”