Donors save Senior Care Program


By Jim Poole

Generous donors have saved a senior citizens’ program that was threatened with ending unless money could be found.

Run by the Schoharie County Child Development Council, the Senior Care Program was expected to close Monday.

But donors responded with open wallets to an appeal in the Times-Journal September 19, according to Judy McLaughlin, executive director of the SCCDC.

“We heard from people all over the county,” she said. “It was wonderful.”

The program aids seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia, providing stimulating activities and having them visit with children in SCCDC’s Head Start classes at the former Aker School in Cobleskill.

The program also gives the seniors’ caregivers a break for four hours per day three days per week.

A success for five years, the program gradually saw its funding dry up, even though it cost less than $10,000 per year to run.

So far, however, Ms. McLaughlin has donations and commitments in hand of more than $10,000 to keep Senior Care going.
“We’re very grateful and the families are very grateful,” she said.

Local businesswomen Donna Lavigne and Maggie Jackman are teaming up to start a fund drive for more donations.

“It’s probably as valuable for the caregivers as it is for the patients,” Ms. Lavigne said. “It’s so physically and mentally demanding. It’s hard on your heart.”

Besides the donations, Ms. McLaughlin said, several people volunteered to help with Senior Care. The program, which serves up to 10 seniors, typically has one staff member and two volunteers.

“It’s wonderful to have more volunteers,” Ms. McLaughlin said.

Although donations will keep Senior Care going for another year, it will need money in the future, Ms. Lavigne cautioned.

“I want to make sure we don’t feel comfortable that we have just enough money,” she said. “This program should stay in force no matter what we have to do.”

Anyone who would like to donate should contact Ms. McLaughlin at 234-7521.