HUDSON — Nine residents were named to Mayor David Basil’s new senior citizens advisory committee, Basil announced during a luncheon hosted by EMS Outreach Hudson at First Congregational Church on Feb. 8.
In his remarks to the approximately 140 people gathered, Basil said many “seasoned citizens” — as he calls the elder generations — feel disconnected from the community after they retire and their children grow up and move away. He said he wants that to change.
“I want Hudson to be the place where you live, work, play and engage for life, for all of your life,” Basil said. “This is what I envision.”
Communications Manager Jody Roberts said that while Hudson does not offer city-sponsored programming for seniors, such programs do exist through other community groups. However, there is “no centralized way to know what is out there,” she said.
The purpose of the committee is to determine senior needs, what services are already available and a way to pool the resources together, Roberts said.
“While the city government does not offer these programs, there are many organizations within the city that do,” Roberts said.
“I really think [the city] should have a room that we could go to that closes at 9:30 or 10 p.m.,” said Barbara Schuele, a Hudson resident in attendance, said she would appreciate a community or social room that closes “at 9:30 or 10 p.m., where you have someone to talk to your own age.”
“Somewhere you could go to get a book or play cards with someone,” Schuele said. “Most of our seniors have good families who take care of us, but sometimes you want to talk to someone your own age.”
Bill Gerdes of Hudson said communication is an issue.
“I don’t think there is enough coordinated publicity,” he said. “There are a lot organizations already doing things, but they’re not coordinated.”
Chosen for the mayor’s senior committee are Dr. Michael Bird, Diane Carrabine, Kristin Keller, Leslie Knoblauch, Rich Pierkarski, Marcy Schulman, Heidi Schweighoefer, George Snider and Cindy Suchan-Rothgery.
“The committee, I think, will be a catalyst for the structure that is necessary to utilize the talents of our senior citizens, to engage our senior citizens for life for the betterment of our community,” Basil said. “That is what I see as the primary role of this committee. There is a lot to do, so we are going to walk before we run, but we are going start walking really soon.”
During the luncheon, Schweighoefer, a member of the EMS Outreach board, led discussions on what people would like to see available for senior citizens. A spokesperson for each table was invited to the podium to share ideas. Louise McCorkle, a volunteer with EMS Outreach, wrote the suggestions down on a large pad.
There were 21 different suggestions, including offering a community bulletin board for those who are not on the internet, perhaps at the library or another public location; a service directory that lists senior discounts; senior transportation; bus trips; delivered meals; home inspections; and programs to connect seniors with the schools.
Also during the luncheon, Hudson Police Chief Perry Tabak talked to seniors about scams. Fire Lt. Kevin Nelson said the fire department offers free of charge to residents 65 and older smoke detectors, bedshakers and strobes, and secure key boxes while supplies last.
Basil said the talent and passion exhibited by the individuals to whom he spoke for the committee interviews was “overwhelming.”
“They were absolutely remarkable,” he said. “Selecting the committee was an incredibly difficult task. I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn’t know it was going to be that hard.”
Basil noted the members of the committee are not going to be able to do all of the work themselves. They are going to need the help and support of other members of the community.
“I look forward to their participation and the participation of all of you,” he said.
Reporter Steve Wiandt can be reached at 330-541-9420, email@example.com or @SteveWiandt_RPC.