Ben Cosmano enjoys a game of cards during a recent visit at the LIFE Center.    
  LIFE participant Mary Bartlemus gets ready to enjoy some fresh-baked apple cake.

LIFE participants Bill and Joyce Glor enjoy some music in the LIFE Center at the OLV Senior Neighborhood.

Bill Glor enjoys playing the piano for his wife Joyce. Ben Cosmano plays a hand of cards with friends. Mary Bartlemus checks on an apple cake just out of the oven. It’s a typical day in the LIFE Center at the OLV Senior Neighborhood in Lackawanna. Catholic Health Living Independently For Elders (LIFE) is Erie Country’s newest Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, providing area residents with a welcomed alternative to nursing home care.

Catholic Health LIFE is celebrating its first anniversary of service with a free community Open House & Senior Services Fair on Saturday, November 20 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the OLV Senior Neighborhood, at 55 Melroy Avenue in Lackawanna.

A Look at LIFE

Catholic Health LIFE is a comprehensive independent living program that provides a wide range of services in the senior’s home, as well as in the newly remodeled LIFE Center. As part of the program, LIFE’s professional staff coordinates all necessary medical and support services and becomes the primary caregiver for seniors who voluntarily enroll in the program.

“Our goal is to keep individuals in their own homes for as long as possible,” said Thomas Schifferli, executive director of the LIFE program. “We do this by working closely with family members and by providing all the medically necessary services our participants need to maintain their independence.”

Services offered through LIFE include all inpatient and outpatient medical care, rehabilitation, social work, nutrition services, home care, dental care, mental health services, eye care, podiatry, prescription drugs, and social and recreational activities. Transportation is also provided to and from appointments and visits to the LIFE Center.

Free Open House and More

During the open house, visitors will have the opportunity to tour the LIFE Center and meet the program staff. Located in the former Our Lady of Victory Hospital, visitors can also tour Catholic Health System’s entire OLV Senior Neighborhood, including the Victory Ridge Apartments, the Mercy Nursing Facility at OLV, and the neighborhood’s new front entrance and Main Street concourse. Free health screenings will be offered, along with information on senior health programs and services.

The Senior Services Fair will feature free health screenings including cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, macular degeneration, and bone densitometry. Senior service representatives include the American Red Cross Caregiver Program, Erie County Senior Services, Catholic Charities, Olmstead Center for Sight, Alzheimer’s Association, People Inc., Belmont Housing, Meals on Wheels, Respiratory Services of WNY, Central Referral Service, the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo & WNY, Delta Development, Elder Care Solutions, and Bankers Conseco Life.

Catholic Health participants include LIFE, Partners In Rehab, Laboratory Services, Mission on the Move/Cardiac Services, Advanced Wound Healing Centers, the Piver Center/Women’s Services, Home Care/Home Response, Imaging Services, Social Work, and Sleep Services. Information on health care proxies and advanced directives will also be available.

LIFE May be Right for You

Participation in Catholic Health LIFE is open to Erie County residents age 55 or older who qualify for nursing home care, but can have their needs safely met at home with assistance and in the LIFE Center. The cost of the program is covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid. Private pay options are also available.

“It’s no secret that people are living longer and Western New York has one of the fastest growing senior populations in the nation,” Schifferi added. “Though innovative programs such as LIFE, Catholic Health is committed to helping area seniors remain active and independent.”

For more information on the LIFE program or the Open House & Senior Services Fair, call Catholic Health LIFE at 819-5433 or log on to