Attendance is down at the Schroon senior citizen nutrition site. The Schroon nutrition site is not unique. Patty Bashaw, director of the Essex County Office for the Aging, told the county board in December fewer seniors are attending the meals served at 14 locations around the county.
Attendance is down at the Schroon senior citizen nutrition site.
“I’m concerned,” Keisha Sprague, site manager, said. “If our numbers keep dropping we could lose the program. That would be a shame.”
The Schroon nutrition site is not unique. Patty Bashaw, director of the Essex County Office for the Aging, told the county board in December fewer seniors are attending the meals served at 14 locations around the county.
“The meals are wonderful,” Sprague said. “You get an entire hot meal, coffee and dessert. It’s nutritious and it’s good. I wish more people would take advantage of the program.”
Meals prepared by the Adirondack Community Action Programs of Elizabethtown are delivered to sites in the county. The Essex County Office for the Aging administers the program.
A donation of $3.50 is asked of people age 60 and older and $6 for people younger than age 60, unless they are accompanied by someone age 60 or older.
Heidi Palmer, county senior aging services aide, said no one is turned away.
The Schroon nutrition site, located at the town senior citizen center, serves lunch Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. People can call the site at 532-0179 for information. The senior center is open 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays.
Information on other sites in the county is available online at www.co.essex.ny.us/downloads/seniorcenters.pdf or by calling the Office for the Aging at 873-6395.
“We would love to see more people take part in the lunch program,” Palmer said. “We’d like to see a big turn out every day. We’d like to see increased participation in every town.”
Bashaw, who didn’t have numbers, offered several possible reasons for the decline in participation at meal sites. Many people age 60 and older are still working, she noted, while county’s overall senior population is declining. In the winter months many seniors leave the area, she said.
The Schroon site serves upward to 35 meals a day. It’s busiest day is Thursday, Sprague said, when the senior citizens club hosts bingo. There are also eight meals on wheels delivered to home-bound Schroon residents each day, she said.
Sprague worries some senior citizens stay away from the meals believing they are low-income people.
“This isn’t a public assistance program,” she said. “It’s a program to benefit all senior citizens. There are no income requirements.”
Sprague is exploring ways to increase participation in the program. There may be some evening meals and special events planned in the future.
“We want to do something to get more people involved,” she said.
The nutrition program is a good deal, Sprague said.
“To get a great meal for $3.50, everyone should be doing that,” she said. “The food is good. I’m not the best cook in the world, but I do OK. It’s pretty good.”