As Betty Davis once said, “Growing old is not for sissies.” Unfortunately, the view of many people is that retirement means sitting in one’s rocking chair remembering the good old days. Yet, for many seniors that view is far from accurate; instead, they are seeking to live a meaningful and event-filled life.
The Gardiner Senior Resource Committee (GSRC) couldn’t agree more. So, in April of 2011, as part of an ‘aging in place’ initiative, the GSRC formed, with the goal of helping local seniors remain in their communities and homes, living active lives with dignity and independence. Our committee, co-chaired by Marie Zapf and Margaret McDowell, meets monthly with each member bringing their individual strengths to the table, including backgrounds in administration, local government, law, transportation, nursing, information technology, ecology and teaching.
We have held Senior Expos, with many Ulster County groups and agencies attending, and we publish a yearly resource guide, an invaluable tool filled with useful information and contact names and phone numbers in the areas of health services, household assistance, emergency response and interventions, transportation, legal services, senior discounts and more. This free guide is available at the Town Hall, Gardiner Library, local food pantry and houses of worship, as well as online at the library and the Town website.
Although, we’ve come a long way, we don’t intend to rest. Recently, we began a series of open forums entitled “Knowledge is Power,” with guest speakers who focus on senior issues such as elder fraud, healthcare management, asset management and socialization. One in May, on legal services and financial management, was held at the Gardiner Library and was a huge success; over 40 attendees, including representatives from the Ulster County Office for the Aging. It was standing room only!
Over the past year, the GSRC has also started a newsletter that goes out several times a month, listing items and events that might help involve seniors in exercise programs, social events and community causes, and we have expanded our out-reach efforts. Every Thursday, members of the committee host walking tours, and later meet at Pasquale’s for a casual get together. We have also begun actively promoting and attending meetings of the New Paltz/Gardiner Senior Club and the New Paltz Settled and Serving in Place Group.
We are optimistic about our future, but our success rests with Gardiner residents’ participation. If you are interested in getting involved, please email your name and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get on our mailing list. A member of the committee will contact you about ways that you can assist.