Altamont, May 1, 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.

Grade 5 band

On April 24, the fifth grade orchestra celebration was held at the Guilderland High School.  Grade 5 band students will be attending the district-wide band festival that will be held on Wednesday, May 14. Students should arrive at the high school auditorium by 6:45 p.m. for an 1 hour 15 minute rehearsal after which there will be a short concert.

 The Guilderland Music Parents will provide the performers with an ice cream treat.

Parents and other guest can purchase ice cream for $1.

Garage sale

The Altamont   PTA will hold its annual village wide garage sale on Saturday, May 3, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The PTA appreciates the support of the residents of Altamont as well as all who support this annual event. 


Guilderland High School seniors are advised that Scholarship applications for the 

Anthony D.Cervoni Running Memorial and the Donna Amato Memorial Grant are due by May 7. The V. Dalton Bambury Memorial Scholarship application is due May 9.

Additional information can be obtained from the student’s counselor.

Continuing education

The summer continuing education program at the Guilderland High School is now accepting registration. All mailed registration must be postmarked by May 2. Classes will begin the week of May 12.

PTA fund-raiser

 The  FMS PTA  is offering incentives to new members or renewing members. Renew membership to BJ’s and get $10 off a $50 annual membership fee for $43.20 or free additional 3 months; or a free second membership card for a household member; plus BJ’s will donate $5 of your membership fee to the Farnsworth Middle School. Applications and payment should be returned to FMSPTA Jessica Peck no later than May 6.

For additional information go on line to 


Happy-anniversary wishes are extended to:

— Renee and Christopher Buckey, Sue and Mark Jones, and Linda and Tom Miller celebrating their special day on May 2; and

— Linda and Paul Forand, Karen and Andy Hess and to my husband,Jim Caruso as we all celebrate on May 3.


Happy-birthday wishes are extended to:

— Ann Buckey, Kendra Dzingle, Becky Paeglow, and Derik Rau on May 2;

— Beth Burlingame, Jennifer Dean, Erica Munroe and Joel Quay on May 3;

— John Ciupek, Janet Nopper, and Amy Toscano on May 4;

— Mark Daniel Reinemann  and Bruce Shank on May 5;

— Nancy Furr, Sean Golden, Anthony Marciano, and Kendal Hope Morris on May 6; and

— Jack Hale, Ann Buckey, and Kendra Dzingle on May 7.