To the Adirondack Journal:
I strongly object to the recent move of the county’s senior mealsite from the United Methodist Church to Countryside Adult Home, and the following is just a sample of my reasons why.
I am not only a senior citizen. I was the Mealsite Manager in Bolton Landing for 20 years, and worked as a substitute for the past seven years both in Bolton Landing and in Warrensburg. I also serve as a member of the county Office of the Aging council, so I’m looking at this situation from many levels:
The Warrensburg United Methodist church supplied us with a site for well over 30 years. Yes, the mealsite was not handicapped accessible, but Warren County wouldn’t chip in a install a decent chairlift or offer to fix the one that existed there.
The church couldn’t afford to fix it, so they removed it.
A misconception exists about the cost of continuing to operate the mealsite there. Warren County never paid the church “rent” as has been stated many times. In fact, the church was reimbursed for a portion of the church’s heat and electrical expenses, and Warren County paid for the cooking stove’s natural gas. They also shared in the cost of snow plowing, which actually the town could have accomplished — other towns perform this service for their mealsites.
Also, our seniors could visit anytime the mealsite was open and have coffee, tea or hot chocolate and sometimes a snack. The church mealsite was a place for fellowship, friendship and a good meal — not so where we are now. We are not allowed into Countryside until 12:15 p.m. and must be out by 1 p.m. Plus, it’s all “our people” and “your people” — we are not allowed to intermingle with the Countryside residents.
The mealsite program is supposed to provide one-third of a person’s recommended daily nutritional needs, but they don’t. Meal portions are now about half of what they were at the church.
The mealsite is supposed to have a “friendly, pleasant atmosphere, conducive to social interaction,” but it is not. There is no t sufficient time to have such socializing.
We are served, we eat, they pick up the tables, then we are out of there. There is no time for the staff to talk with the seniors or discuss problems they might have, or just get to know each other.
Our mealsite staff members, who have worked for the program for over 20 years, have no control over what’s ordered or what’s served. Our site cook didn’t cook any more — she was demoted to kitchen helper, so she quit and found a job elsewhere. The seniors miss her cooking.
It’s a very degrading and a very unpleasant situation — one staff member was terminated. She a hard worker, dependable, great with the seniors — and a single mother with two children to support, but she was cut — What a Thank You!
I’m sure the Countryside staff feels the same. Everyone there is unhappy. No one smiles and everyone acts like they’re walking on eggshells. It’s not a pleasant situation for any of us. I think I can speak for many of our senior citizens who will not speak out for fear of retaliation.
I applaud the town supervisors in Bolton Landing, Chestertown, Johnsburg and Lake Luzerne for fighting so hard to keep their mealsites in town.
Supervisors, please don’t let your mealsite staffs down. They are doing a great service to their community, and saving a little bit of money at the expense of our senior citizens is not worth it. Each site gives that little special attention to our seniors, and they are not treated like a number, which is what’s happening now in Warrensburg. Our staff, after 20 years of service to their community, have no control or input into what happens to their seniors. They are now evaluated merely on how much each employee costs the county.
Thank you, Mr. Geraghty, for saving Warren County pennies at the expense of our senior citizens!
Calista S. Murray