The Office for the Aging offers dozens of Senior Exercise, Tai Chi and Brain Games (Mental Fitness) classes throughout the county. The county is responsible for finding locations, training volunteer leaders, promoting the classes and registering members. Municipalities assist by providing rent-free space. Offering a large number of classes spread throughout the county enables seniors to attend classes very close to their homes. Having the county train the volunteer leaders and assist with curriculum allows for sharing of exercises and curriculum.
The Dutchess County Office for the Aging partners with the following municipalities in the operation of its Senior Friendship Centers and Home Delivered Meals Programs: Town of Poughkeepsie, Town of Pleasant Valley, Town of LaGrange, City of Beacon (Housing Authority), Village of Millerton, Town of Pawling, Town of East Fishkill.
These partnerships range from payment of the rent for a center, to reduced or free rent in municipal space, and also include payment for activities. These arrangements date back as far as the 1970’s in some locations.
Five Friendship Centers operate four days a week; one operates three days a week, and two operate five days a week. In 2019, we plan to extend more Friendship Centers to five-day-a-week operations.
In an effort to increase socialization among seniors and provide outreach to the greatest possible number of seniors regarding community services, the Office for the Aging organizes 12 Senior Picnics throughout the county in cooperation with nearly every town, city and village. The program was started in 1993 and has grown to where several thousand seniors attend each picnic season.
The benefit to the municipalities of having the county oversee the program rests with the fact that the county has been doing this on a large scale for over two decades. The county owns the tents, works on a daily basis with the caterer and kitchen providing the food, has relationships with the musician and other community agencies attending the picnics. The municipalities know that the Office for the Aging has the experience in planning, organizing and executing these events.