Mention the words Office for the Aging (OFA), and the first thing many think of is its Meals on Wheels program. Currently, Monday through Friday OFA serves approximately 140 nutritious meals — ordinarily consisting of a hot entrée, vegetable, fresh bread, fruit, and milk — to those 60 and older around the county who meet the program’s criteria.
Those receiving weekday hot meals may also receive frozen weekend meals if needed. Frozen meals, consisting of five to seven planned dinners, are also available for weekly delivery.
Three years ago, a $50,000 state grant enabled the purchase of a system that allows the county to produce its own frozen meals, which began this January. The frozen meals are now the same as the hot meals prepared in the OFA kitchen.
The critical, ever-present need is for volunteers to deliver the meals. As OFA Administrator Kevin McDonald points out, “Even the ability to deliver meals one day a week is a major help. The more volunteers we have, the more meals we can serve.”
OFA staff actively participates in Meals on Wheels — everyone pitches in to make deliveries one day during the week.
“There is a safety component to the deliveries,” McDonald said. “Volunteers do go through a training program.”
As part of their training, volunteers are instructed to not simply leave a meal at the doorstep, but to hand it to the recipient. This functions as a wellness check.
For those who are able to travel to the eight Senior Community Centers around the county, along with a hot meal, the Centers also at times host guest speakers on subjects of interest to seniors, as well as other activities.
The Senior Community Centers are located in Philmont, Hudson, and Greenport, which are open Monday through Friday, and Livingston, Valatie, Stuyvesant, Copake, and Canaan, open various days during the week. Reservations are needed — those interested are advised to call the site directly. Center addresses, days and hours of operation, and telephone numbers are available on the Columbia County website.
Currently, 150-200 people per week are served by the Senior Community Centers.
On a separate subject but of critical importance to seniors is the widespread occurrence of scams. While someone of any age can be the subject of a scam, often very sophisticated in nature, seniors in particular are frequently preyed upon.
OFA staff tells of a recent senior county resident who recently responded to a telephone call of what was purported to be an Internal Revenue Service request for funds to be sent to them immediately.
Sparing the details, the resident was in the midst of fulfilling the request when someone, fortunately, intervened. Sadly, this is not always the case.
Residents of all ages should be reminded that IRS does not make telephone calls. Any IRS business will be conducted through regular mail.
Located at 325 Columbia Street in Hudson, the OFA telephone number is 518-828-4258.
This is part one of a two-part series.
Reach Matt Murell at firstname.lastname@example.org.