About Us: Statewide History

New York StateWide Senior Action Council is a grassroots membership organization made up of individual senior citizens and senior citizen clubs from all parts of New York State. StateWide was organized in 1972 from War on Poverty funds with the goal of developing a statewide organization of older New Yorkers who could advocate for their interests and needs regarding services, programs and policies effecting older persons. StateWide’s unique history and role has been to focus on the needs of the low-income and minority seniors. 

With other advocacy organizations and service providers across the nation, StateWide has helped build a very successful and cost-effective aging network over the past three decades. This has reduced the number of senior citizens living in poverty by over 50%, has allowed seniors to remain in their communities, has dramatically increased quality of life, and has avoided costly institutionalization as the only alternative for long-term care.

Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, StateWide has worked on a number of issues and provided trainings and educational workshops throughout the state. For example, while working on energy issues in those years, StateWide also educated seniors about the dangers of hypothermia. In the 1980’s, StateWide played a key role in advocating for laws ending mandatory retirement and enacting the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program.

StateWide also began operating its Patient’s Rights Helpline to assist consumers with questions and complaints about hospital patients rights and other health issues. StateWide continues to be at the forefront of the debate to ensure strong protections in hospitals, nursing homes, and other community based health care delivery systems.

Recently, StateWide has focused prescription drug costs and access, protecting Social Security and Medicare, increasing funding for important community-based services and concerns related to managed care as thousands of older New Yorkers sign up each month with health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Presentations are made in various regions of the state on these issues and on changes in the Medicare program and questions seniors need to ask before switching from traditional fee-for-service to join a Medicare HMO or other alternative.

StateWide publishes a quartely newsletter, Senior Action News, which keeps members up to date on important health and consumer issues at the local, state and national levels. Regional meetings are held regularly  throughout the state and a three-day annual membership Convention is held in October at which time the membership sets its priorities for the coming year.

StateWide sends out a weekly e-mail alert during the legislative session to keep members up to date on the New York State budget process and tracks the progress of aging programs and important health and consumer oriented legislation.

To learn more about StateWide, please click the links below:

StateWide History



Board of Directors

Staff List and Bios


Collaborating Organizations