Altamont, April 24, 2014

As we turned off of the main road we drove up a short driveway to the security station. A gentleman in a crisp white shirt, black tie and pin-striped trousers came out and with his clipboard in hand and gave us a very warm greeting. We gave him the name of the person we wished to visit and received a guest pass; after he checked his clipboard to make sure we were expected.

The directions were simple - turn right at the stop sign and turn left onto the second road on the left. At that point, we saw the vaulted ceiling over the door of our friends building and pulled into a parking spot just a few feet from the entrance.

Jim and I had been admiring the well-pruned bushes, flowers, majestic trees as well as the ponds with beautiful flowing fountains trickling over the stones surrounding them.

After parking the car we approached the door which slid back quietly as we neared the sensor. Inside the foyer there were two lounge areas, on the right and left. Each had a quaint grouping of padded chairs where residents could sit and enjoy the beauty of the day in comfort while sipping a cup of tea or just having a cold glass of water.

We announced ourselves and signed in at the desk where we again received directions to our friend. As we made our way to the elevator we could not help but admire all the beautiful surroundings.

One display case housed a collection of antique teddy bears that were donated by a former resident. The paintings on the walls slowed our travel because they were such grand pictures by noted artists we could not just walk by and not look at them.

There were several display cases built into the structure of the building and each had a different display of birds and wild and exotic animals that were just breathtaking. At the end of the hallway just before the elevator was a bronze of a mother, father and child.

Needless to say we were completely taken by the beauty of this place.

 Upon exiting from the elevator we walked down the hallway to our friend George’s room. Meredith, his wife greeted us first and then we turned our attention to George who was recovering from back surgery.

He had a cushion put between two vertebrae and a hinge so he had to be very careful about bending and needed to have assistance getting out of his chair. He was also going to need physical therapy for several weeks. Oh, that’s right; I forgot to mention that we were visiting our friend George in a rehabilitation facility.

Isn’t that a hoot? This place is nicer than many hotels we have stayed at in the past. We could not help but wonder why anyone would want to get well.

After a short visit George said,” let’s go to the dining room, dinner should be ready about now!” Away we went to a room that was as well appointed as many a restaurant we have visited. The head waiter greeted us and led us to a table set for four with a reserved sign sitting in the middle. He presented us with a menu and asked if anyone would like a drink with or before dinner. George could not have any wine, however, they had a choice of several wines for the rest of us to enjoy. After a very enjoyable dinner, we went back to one of the many sitting rooms so that we could continue our visit.

George had shown much improvement since his surgery and we were all happy that the therapists were like, in his words, drill sergeants. He described his routine that started at 9 a.m. and after two hours he would get a rest for lunch. At 1 p.m. the routine would start again for another two hours and then once again in the evening before bed time.

They had George walking, stretching, and doing other strengthening exercises. We were thrilled to see him feeling so much better and beginning to see him heal after a long period of pain.

We later found out that the first floor of the facility was an extended care facility with patients who could possibly be there for the rest of their lives or they could be there for the skilled nursing care they needed.    

A nursing home, convalescent home, skilled nursing facility care home, rest home or intermediate care home provides a variety of residential care. It is a place of residence for people who require continual nursing care and have significant difficulty coping with the required activities of daily living. Nursing aides and skilled nurses are usually available 24 hours a day.

Residents include the elderly and younger adults with physical or sometimes mental disabilities. Residents in a skilled nursing facility may also receive physical, occupational, and other rehabilitative therapies following an accident or illness.

Some nursing homes assist people with special needs, such as Alzheimer patients.

A nursing home is often a place for people who don't need to be in a hospital but can't be cared for at home, like our friend George. Most nursing homes have nursing aides and skilled nurses on hand 24 hours a day.

Some nursing homes are set up like a hospital. The staff provides medical care, as well as physical, speech and occupational therapy. There might be a nurses' station on each floor.

Other nursing homes try to be more like home. They try to have a neighborhood feel. Often, they don't have a fixed day-to-day schedule, and kitchens might be open to residents. Staff members are encouraged to develop relationships with residents.

Before the Industrial Revolution, elderly care was largely in the hands of the family who would support elderly relatives who could no longer do so themselves. Charitable institutions and parish poor relief were other sources of care.

Workhouses were the first implemented national framework to provide a basic level of care to the old and infirm.

The first government attempts at providing basic care for the elderly and the infirm took place at the dawn of the industrial era with the New Poor Law of 1834. Mass unemployment followed the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, and the introduction of new technology to replace agricultural workers and the rise of factories in the urbanized towns, meant that the established system of poor relief was proving to be unsustainable.

The New Poor Law curbed the cost of poor relief, which had been spiraling throughout the previous decades, and led to the creation of workhouses for those who were unemployed. Most workers in the workhouse were given tasks such as breaking stones, bone crushing to produce fertilizer, or picking oakum using a large metal nail known as a spike.

Although conditions in the workhouse were intended to be harsh, to act as deterrence in areas such as the provision of free medical care and education for children, inmates were advantaged over the general population. By the late 1840s most workhouses housed only "the incapable, elderly and sick".

Responsibility for administration of the Poor Law passed to the local government board in 1871, and the emphasis soon shifted from the workhouse as a receptacle for the helpless poor to its role in the care of the sick and elderly.

By the end of the century only about 20 percent admitted to workhouses were unemployed or destitute, but about 30 percent of the population over 70 was in workhouses.

The introduction of pensions for those aged over 70 in 1908 did not result in a reduction in the number of elderly housed in workhouses, but it did reduce the number of those on outdoor relief by 25 percent.

In the United States, the national social insurance program Medicare, was established by the U.S. federal government in 1965, which guaranteed access to health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older. This program prompted many new nursing homes to be set up in the following years, although private nursing homes were already being built from the 1930s as a consequence of the Great Depression and the Social Security Act of 1935.

To ensure that nursing homes met the necessary legal standards, the authorities conducted inspections of all nursing home facilities. This process played a critical role in ensuring basic levels of quality and safety by monitoring nursing home compliance with the national legal requirements. Surveyors would conduct on-site surveys of certified nursing homes on average every 12 months to assure basic levels of quality and safety for beneficiaries.

The authority could also undertake various initiatives to improve the effectiveness of the annual nursing home surveys, as well as to improve the investigations prompted by complaints from consumers or family members that nursing homes be more home-like and less institutional or hospital-like.

In these homes, units were replaced with a small set of rooms surrounding a common kitchen and living room. The staff giving care was assigned to one of these households. Residents had more choices about when they wake, when they eat, and their schedule for the day. They also had access to pets.

Everyone was amazed at the progress that has taken place in the care of people who need it. We are glad that the old workhouses are gone and replaced with caring facilities.

Our friend George is doing well and we are thankful that he has been in a good, caring facility.

 Camp Turk

Registration is now being accepted for Camp Turk, a camp for both boys and girls.

This camp offers youths a fun-filled summer at this Masonic operated camp. Financial aid is available, but must be applied for by May 1. 

Additional information is available by going on line to  As of this writing 248 boys and girls are registered. Openings are available. Don't miss out on an opportunity for your child to have an enjoyable summer experience.

Scholarship deadline

 Guilderland High School seniors are reminded that the deadline to apply for the Guilderland PTA Council Scholarship is Friday, May 2. In order to be eligible for this award, the student must have been accepted by a college or other recognized post high school institution and have financial needs.

Ladies night

The members of the St. Andrew's Society will hold a Ladies Night on Saturday, April

26, at the Turf Tavern in Scotia with cocktails at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets are $32 for members and their guests.

Checks should be made payable to Schenectady St. Andrew's Society and mailed to Robert Halley, 40 Macintosh Street, Ravena, NY 12143. There is no charge for the Society member's wife or significant other.   

Last minute reservations can be made by calling Bob Halley at 756-9369.

Garage sale

 The Farnsworth Middle School Garage Sale is this Saturday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Proceeds from this event will benefit the Organic Garden  and Butterfly Project.  Community support is appreciated.   

Prom tickets

Students are reminded that tickets for the Junior Prom scheduled for May 10, will be on sale until Friday, April 25. Tickets are available before and after school in room 111.

Tickets are $65 and only checks will be accepted. The prom will be held at the Albany Hilton.


Happy Anniversary wishes are extended to:

— Helen and Kelly Mitchell and Claire and Joe Battista on April 25; 

— Pattti and Bernie Percoski on April 28; and

— Deb and Bernie Dzingle on May 1.                                             


Happy Birthday wishes are extended to:

— Eric Campbell and Mary Murphy on April 25;

— Mandy Lynn Bareis, Candace Barkley, Sandy Grant, Gretchen Hornberg, and Paul Levin, on April 26;

— Patty Fisher, Dan Jensen, Katy Vojnar Watford, and Paige Munroe on April 27;

— Anthony Bellardo, Linda Forand, Doug Lawton and Chuck Schiltz on April 28; and

— John Flynn, Tim Godfrey, David LaFleche, Meg Rau and Kim Wagner on April 29.