Many of the citizens of Meigs County were so happy to think we would have a newer and more spacious Senior Citizens Center. We now wonder if we sacrificed the quantity of free programs available to our seniors. The new facility, The Blakeslee Center, (previously known as Meigs County Council on Aging/Senior Citizens Center) is lovely. Unfortunately, it is not as accessible as it could be (i.e.: there is only one rampway for those who use wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or must avoid stairs due to knee or hip concerns, etc.). The corridors are really long and with so many exits, one wonders if there can’t be more entrances that are handicap accessible? There is no admittance through the front door of the building. Could there not be a wheelchair or 2 available for those who might need one to use while in the building? We believe more than a million dollars in grants were available for adapting the building for use. The theater appears to have no wheelchair access, which would limit the folks who could enjoy the performances. Meigs County is one of the Ohio counties with the highest percentage of disabled seniors.
Are levy funds no longer available to produce the quarterly newsletter (as not everyone has Facebook), chore services to “shut-ins”, and nursing visits? Is transportation no longer available to bring seniors to lunch at the center cafe, or to doctor appointments, etc.?
We were not informed that Silver Sneakers would no longer be honored after the move. Several seniors had been urged to select a health insurance policy that would provide this free membership payment for exercise facility use. Meigs Council on Aging is listed as a provider at Silver Sneakers, but we have been denied that service. Several seniors have phoned the corporate office of Silver Sneakers and were told that it still reimburses the cost of monthly membership as they have done in the past. Yet we were told by the Center staff, that Silver Sneakers would only reimburse 5 cents per session, per member.
It seems like the only available “free” exercising occurs less than two hours a week in combination classes of Conductorsize and Sit to be Fit. These two classes are held on the theater stage which appears to also be a storage area. The ceilings are so high that the music must be kept at a deafening level and the instructor cannot be heard easily.
In the initial Blakeslee Facebook post, it was stated that participants were expected to leave the Café (to use the game rooms), as soon as they had finished eating. Many like to socialize and feel they cannot do this privately in a much smaller game room.
We acknowledge the nice new facility; however, it seems that the seniors have lost more than they have gained in this process.
Norma A. Torres
Susan J. Tuttle
(Editor’s Note: Torres, Tuttle, Farrar and Cline are all from Meigs County, Ohio.)