Broome County Executive Jason Garnar and director of Broome Office for Aging Lisa Schule say the county has made the difficult decision to close the senior centers for the rest of the year over coronavirus pandemic concerns.

Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Schule says the centers have been closed for in-person programs on a month-to-month basis but, following a survey of many regular users of the facilities, it was decided to shutter the facilities for the rest of the year.

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Garnar says throughout the pandemic, seniors have been identified as some of the most vulnerable to the coronavirus and COVID-19.  The Democrat says, given worries about keeping seniors safe and concerns about access to services and keeping the population socially and physically active and engaged, the decision to close the centers was "not taken lightly."

Schule says Office for Aging will continue to offer services, including drive up meals-to-go five days a week.  Reservations can be made a day ahead for the meals with a requested nominal donation.  OFA also is coordinating other services like Meals on Wheels, grocery errands and transportation.

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OFA will be providing ZOOM exercises classes, coffee chats and newsletters for people who do not have access to computers.

Schule stresses it is important for older residents to remain socially active and engaged as well as current with their health care.  She says many doctors have recently raised the alarm about some seniors skipping regular or other necessary check-ins with health care professionals and, in some cases, the result has been serious health consequences.

Anyone with questions or who wants to arrange for services provided by OFA for seniors can contact the agency at (607) 778-6205 or online at gobroomecounty.com/senior.

County Executive Garnar says Broome County Office for Aging is funded through grants, not local tax dollars.