Friday, January 29, 2016

A Good Time to Be an Elder in Hudson

On Wednesday morning, Amanda Henry, newly appointed Commissioner for Aging (who confessed to being a tad over 60 herself), held a meeting to talk about plans for senior programming and to solicit more ideas. Henry declared that it was her goal "to have something amazing going on for seniors every day in March." Unrealistic? "If you don't shoot for the moon," Henry avowed, "you'll never get out of the neighborhood."

Among the volunteer programs Henry has already lined up or is envisioning are the following:
  • Pet care provided by pet friendly volunteers for the pets of elders who are hospitalized or recovering from hospital stays
  • In conjunction with the Hudson Area Library, a "Tell Me a Story" program, in which first graders read and elders tell stories from their life
  • Middle school and high school students teaching elders to use social media
  • "Make, Do, Mend," a program in which elders teach basic sewing skills
  • Elders telling junior high school students about their college experience
  • A knitting group to do charity knitting
  • A writer's workshop for memoir writing
  • Community acupuncture and massage
  • A program to provide surplus vegetables from local farms to seniors, along with directions for preparing them
  • A lecture on beekeeping by a local beekeeper
  • Events exploring the diverse cultures that make up Hudson
  • Art programs conducted by local artists
  • Instruction offered by a nationally recognized photographer in taking photos with your iphone
  • Foreign language programs--instructors for Spanish and Italian have already been lined up, someone to teach French is still sought
  • Classes in aerobics, chair yoga, Tai Chi, and meditation
  • A Columbia Memorial Hospital lecture series on topics of concern for elders
  • A book club hosted by The Spotty Dog
  • A music program by the proprietors of 2 Note
  • Programs for senior cyclists and motorcyclists
More ideas came from group gathered, which numbered about 40, was made up primarily but not exclusively of people beyond the age of 60, and included (representing the younger crowd) Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton, her aide Lisa Walsh, and prospective Congressional candidate Will Yandik.
  • Leo Carlin, who confessed to having been "around the block" several times talking of plans for a senior center, suggested a program to teach seniors to prepare nutritious food simply with new and different seasonings.
  • A woman who identified herself only as Kathy from Mellenville suggested trips, which prompted Henry to state that she wanted the senior center to be a "traveling senior center," making jaunts to Saratoga Springs and European trips for those seniors learning foreign languages.
  • Susan Schultz, who described herself as "a chef and a teacher and a fitness professional," offered herself and her husband, Skip, to teach ballroom dancing.
  • Sharon Stevens, who disclosed that she had just moved to Hudson, objected to the term senior, suggesting such alternatives as elder or vintage. (The mention of vintage reminded Henry that a wine tasting course has been offered by a local wine merchant.) Stevens explained that she is a retired sculpture teacher and would like to offer courses in sculpture and ceramics if a dedicated art space could be found.
  • Pam Badila, cultural director for Perfect Ten, which will have space in the Galvan Armory, suggested that driver training programs enabling seniors to qualify for discounts on their insurance premiums be offered in Hudson.
  • Former Third Ward supervisor Ellen Thurston stressed the senior center's potential for advocacy, particularly in addressing crosswalk issues in Hudson.
  • Roy Ford, of Camphill Hudson, mentioned "We Are Hudson," program already underway with Perfect Ten in which people of different generations sit in a circle and share stories of their lives in Hudson. He also offered a monthly lunch at Camphill Solaris and "playback theater," drama based on community storytelling.
Henry described the space that will be the senior center at the Galvan Armory: a lobby, where there will be a desk staffed by an administrative volunteer, adjoins a balcony, which Henry hopes in summer can be furnished with wicker furniture; a room with a fireplace, which is fitted out like a living room; a large community room--suitable for such activities as chair yoga and Zumba Gold--which the senior center shares with the Hudson Area Library and Perfect Ten; a kitchen, utility rooms, and bathrooms. Henry explained that it will take a while to "kit out" the space, because the program is short of money, and she wants the space "to look lovely."

A second meeting to gather ideas is scheduled for Wednesday, February 3, at 6:30 p.m., at Camphill Hudson, 360 Warren Street.

1 comment:

  1. Great job, Amanda! May I suggest a program to help seniors navigate the assessment and property tax system.