News Release

 

For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000
countyexec@co.dutchess.ny.us

For Immediate Release

March 10, 1999

 

County Executive Lauds State's Evaluation of County Office for the Aging

Poughkeepsie, NY - County Executive William R. Steinhaus heralded the State's annual evaluation of the Dutchess County Office for the Aging for 1998. There were three distinct areas where the Office for the Aging exhibited exceptional competence. Those areas were in the coordination of the nutrition programs and summer picnics; in office record keeping and administrative systems; and in the development of innovative programs.

"I commend Office for the Aging Director John Beale and his staff," said County Executive Steinhaus. "This evaluation clearly shows that they have been doing a great job and, because of that great job, seniors in Dutchess County have been exposed to opportunities to live better, healthier and more fulfilling lives."

The Office for the Aging nutrition programs were hailed for effectively coordinating the 10 nutrition centers, which are better known as senior centers, scattered throughout the county. These senior centers provide not only a warm meal everyday, but also provide nutrition counseling, education, transportation and recreation. "These senior centers add another important element to the lives of seniors," said Steinhaus. "They allow seniors to congregate and socialize. The centers provide activities that allow new friendships to happen and old ones to stay fresh."

Another noteworthy element of the nutrition program is the summer picnics that have taken place since 1993. There are approximately 19 picnics throughout the summer held at various parks in the county. Last year the office for the Aging served just under 6000 seniors during its summer gatherings. "These summer picnics were made possible through the private/public partnerships we have fostered over the years," Steinhaus said. "They are usually sponsored by local businesses and service organizations like the Lions or Rotary clubs."

Each year the picnics are also used as an outreach tool to inform seniors of the services provided by the Office for the Aging. "Although at the time people may not think about the issues involved with aging, when the time does come and they need help, we want them to know that they can turn to the Office for the Aging," Steinhaus said. During the up-coming summer's picnics the Office for the Aging plans to conduct a needs assessment survey to find out what concerns and requirement seniors have.

The state also commended the county Office for the Aging for its record keeping and administrative systems. "We must always be able to provide documented information on how many people we have served and who we served.," John Beale, Director of the Office for the Aging said. "The state often wants very specific information such as how many veterans, how many minorities and how many homebound were served. During the evaluation we were required to document the reported figures."

The ability to develop innovative programs was also mentioned by the evaluation. The county Office for the Aging is also the only agency in the area to offer programs such as "Mind your Mind" which is a mental fitness workshop in which seniors keep their minds active through exercises and games. All the senior centers also hold exercise programs for strength training and osteoporosis prevention. "We see results linked to these programs," said Beale. "Certain participants have developed a sharp increase in balance and strength since they have started exercising with us."

"Our Office for the Aging has even received awards for its efforts," Steinhaus stated. "In 1994 we received an award from the National Association of Counties for our senior picnics. Of course, we have some great senior citizens in this county and they make this work easy and enjoyable."

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