Program offers 'umbrella' for seniors

Typically, an umbrella is a shield from the rain. But soon the word umbrella will take on a whole new meaning for Colonie.

A new program called Umbrella of Colonie is scheduled to launch in the next couple of weeks, according to Executive Director of Colonie Senior Service Centers Ed Neary.

The program that we're going to be offering will be called Umbrella of Colonie, modeled after the Umbrella of the Capital District, he said, "We've looked at other programs nationwide, and there are a lot out there for folks that have retired."

The idea came to Neary in light of the New York State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, also known as the Berger Commission, which recommended the closing of several hospitals and nursing homes.

"We're trying to react to the Berger Commission. The Berger Commission came out, and most of the press on that was the consolidation of hospitals and downsizing where seniors can go. The issue becomes keeping them in their homes longer," said Neary.

Neary said that Umbrella of Colonie will be a program senior citizens throughout Colonie can enroll in by paying an annual membership fee of $250. With their membership, seniors are able to call the program and request a maintenance man to come to their house to make small repairs.

"The membership also provides for, early on in process, a 17-point inspection of their home. The intent is to take a look at their home and see if there are any issues that need to be attended to and repair any issues that need repairing.

The handymen look for things like clutter, fire hazards and obvious repairs, and try to get rid of things seniors can slip and fall on like scatter rugs," said Neary.

One of the more unique aspects of the program are the repairmen themselves.

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