First Allegany County Town Hall Meeting for seniors opens in Canaseraga

Anita Mattison, standing at right, and Danielle DeLong, receive Town Hall comments from seniors today at Canaseraga.

“Services need to come to us” was a significant theme today as the Allegany County Office for the Aging and Age-Friendly Allegany County kicked off their 13-site Town Hall Meetings tour to gain information about elder adult needs in the county.

The session, held at the Canaseraga Fire Company after the first scheduled session last week at Fillmore was postponed due to lack of registrations, unearthed a myriad of issues, many particular to the area at the far northeast corner of Allegany County.

The loss of a Community Bank, N.A. branch was the first issue which drew significant discussion after the company closed down its facility in the village this year and individuals have to travel several miles to Arkport, Hornell, Dansville or Mount Morris for banking services. The ATM at the Arkport branch also was alleged to frequently not work properly.

Having access to transportation to access leisure activities, such as trips to the The Palmer Opera House in Cuba, were in the discussion mix, with comments also made in regard to lack of activities in the area for seniors. This also was balanced by lack of participation when events are available due to little means to communicate the activities to those who may want to participate.

Anita Mattison, county aging director, and Danielle DeLong, coordinator of the age-friendly initiative, said that a fitness program, halted at several county senior meal sites due to the pandemic, is slowly restarting. One attendee said that activities are important to seniors and should be offered even if there only is one participant.

School District Assistance
There also was discussion about a need for the Canaseraga Central School to connect more with the senior population, saying the facility is available to walk in the wintertime and holds a dinner for older adults once a year, but more should be considered,.

This includes having students provide instruction on how to use computers and electronic devices, including cell phones and smart TVs.

The district also doesn’t seem to be promoting student community service as much as in the past, according to comments.

Another observation was that Livingston and Wyoming counties seem to offer more services to aid the disabled, such as assistance with home access ramps. County officials said there is a program for ramps in the county but it is backlogged.

Mattison encouraged attendees to call the Office for the Aging if they have particular needs.

Additional Concerns
Other items on Town Hall participant minds included:

– Sidewalks: Poor conditions for walking in many parts of the village.

– Heating costs: Propane charges have increased five times since last year, according to one attendee, with coal up four times.

The county director said that significantly higher Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) funds will be available this winter with an increase in qualifying income limit levels, too, although the changes won’t match the higher energy costs. Program information is in the process of being mailed, she said.

– County services provided locally for elder law issues, including wills, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives, along with tax preparation, education about Alzheimers caregiving and grief counseling, instead of residents having to travel.

– Needed assistance even encompassed available services In nearby communities, including the loss of another Community Bank, N.A., branch in Angelica and no public restrooms alleged to be available in that village, despite many events throughout the year, leading one Town Hall participant to say, as a result, that they will “never go there.”

The next Town Hall meetings will be Thursday, September 8, in Friendship; Monday, September 12 at Whitesville; and Wednesday, September 14 in Bolivar.

The full schedule is available on our Allegany Hope Community Calendar on this website.

A free luncheon is included if registrations are made at least a day in advance with the Office for the Aging at or (585) 268-9390, or NYConnects at (866) 268-9390.
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