Senior concerns expressed at Town Hall meetings in Friendship and Whitesville with more scheduled

Anita Mattison, director of the Allegany County Office for the Aging, discusses senior issues with attendees at a Town Hall meeting in Friendship.

Older adults have both unique challenges and some which are similar in Allegany County communities.

This is the pattern which is emerging as the Allegany County Office for the Aging and Age-Friendly Allegany County continue their series of 13 Town Hall Meetings around the county to gather information on needed services for senior populations.

Things to do, ways to connect, and knowing what is happening were common themes of sessions at the Whitesville Volunteer FD Monday and the Island Park Community Center and seniors noon meal site at Friendship last week, along with our previous report last week on a gathering at the Canaseraga Fire Company.

Another meeting will be held at 11:30AM today at the Bolivar Fire Department, along with Monday of next week at Grace United Church in Wellsville and Thursday at the Belmont Legion. A full schedule of remaining sessions is available on our exclusive Allegany Hope Community Calendar at

Pedestrian safety was a prime concern expressed for the second year in a row in Friendship, particularly at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and the Cuba-Friendship Road (County Road 20) where there is a lack of full sidewalks and cars reportedly driving too fast and going through red flashing lights at the intersection without stopping. Uneven sidewalks and those in poor condition also were concerns.

Struggles with out-of-network healthcare providers also were creating problems for seniors in both areas of the county due to having to travel to different areas to receive services, along with suitable transportation to reach various providers.

Voids left by deaths of spouses also was a concern, not only from the aspects of coping with grief but in being able to navigate systems and finding assistance for economical home and car repairs.

At Whitesville, dissatisfaction was expressed with free food distribution systems, including lack of localized distribution, not knowing the schedules, people “coming from all over” the county to obtain food, many visiting every site, long wait lines, and recipients being given whole boxes of food instead of the proportions needed by seniors.

Lack of jobs and a shrinking school and community populations also were noted in the southeastern corner of the county.

Partial solutions to obtaining food and consumer goods were noted over last year’s concerns, with a new Dollar Tree/Family Dollar store opening in Friendship and a Dollar General being planned for Whitesville.

With significant interest expressed in Whitesville for a fitness program, indications were given by Town Hall facilitators that efforts will be made to restart sessions which were curtailed during the pandemic.

A free luncheon is included with the community gatherings if registrations are made 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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