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December 19, 2013

County cutting hot meals to seniors

(Continued)

Wright said frozen meals were first introduced in the county to more remote regions a couple of years ago because of regulations that hot meals must be delivered within two hours after they leave the kitchen.

“When we looked at the contract for this year, we looked at different options, and the least-expensive option was to go to all frozen,” she said.

The number of participants in the program runs from between 280 and 300, she said.

While some have complained about the frozen food, she said satisfaction surveys suggest many people “like the flexibility of having choice” when they have a variety of dinners from which to select.

As for any safety concerns that might arise as the result of the seniors no longer having regular contact with a meal delivery person, she said her office makes daily well-check calls to those homes to make sure there are no problems.

While the mandate that hot meals be delivered within two hours has presented challenges, Nancy Dingee, the director of the Office for the Aging in Schoharie County, said her county has no plans to switch to frozen meals for seniors, and there are no plans to slash spending for the program.

“Our county feels that anyone who is eligible should receive a hot meal,” Dingee said when reached at her office in the village of Schoharie.”We get a lot of support for this program from our county legislature.”

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