Pictured are County Executive McCoy, Albany County Department for Aging Commissioner Deb Riitano along with Albany County Legislators Bill Reinhardt and Mark Grimm, Tesoro owners Michele and Raffaele Sainato and Department for Aging staff. (photo submitted)
ALBANY — Thanks to a federal grant, seniors living in the county can register for a “Go & Dine” program that will allow them to eat for free at 10 participating restaurants four times a month.
“Social isolation is a serious problem with studies showing that half of those over 60 years old are at risk of social isolation,” said County Executive Dan McCoy. “That means they don’t have regular contact with family, friends or the outside world and a third of all seniors will experience it at some point in their lives.”
He said social isolation can lead to both health and mental health problems with nearly 68,000 seniors making their homes in Albany County, Go & Dine is one way for seniors to get out and interact with people in the community — and have a healthy meal at the same time.
Participants must be 60 years or older and an Albany County resident. The menu is pre-fixed at a pre-fixed price in accordance with the federal Innovations in Nutrition grant program that is funding the meals.
Each restaurant will offer specific menu items from which to choose. Seniors must complete a registration form with the Albany County Department for Aging to get vouchers for the meals. Any bar service and gratuity will be paid by the participant and there is no take-out service since interaction with others is part of the program.
Diners are invited to take home any part of the meal that is left-over.
Albany and Erie counties are the first in the state to utilize the federal grant for a “Go & Dine” program.
McCoy released the list of participating restaurants during a press conference at Tesoro’s in Guilderland on Tuesday, July 12.
Seniors interested in registering should call the Department for Aging at 518 447-7198 for information.