2014-03-21 / Letters

Program Needed

Dear Editor:

Thank you very much for drawing attention to the deplorable treatment our seniors received from the city in 1998. At that time the Neponsit Day Care Center was housed in the Neponsit Health Care Center. The treatment those patients received, particularly the Alzheimer's patients, being transported in the middle of the night, haunts me on a regular basis.

The Neponsit Day Care Center was able to relocate to the building it currently theoretically occupies on Beach 102nd Street. It is a program with a stellar reputation in both locations it has occupied. When my aunt's Alzheimers was progressing in 2010, we went down to the facility and began an application process. We were very impressed with the staff and their care for the participants. Most of the staff had worked there for about 15 years which speaks highly of their commitment to their patients. My aunt moved to Long Island.

In December, I obtained guardianship of the same aunt who was being physically, emotionally and financially abused. As part of my care plan for her healing in January, I planned to enroll her in Neponsit Adult Day Care. There was no answer at the phone number I had, so I went down to the location. It was under construction following the damage it incurred from Superstorm Sandy. There were a few workers there, who were conferencing and told me it would return in a couple of months. They did not know its temporary location.

I could not find any information online regarding the program. Finally I contacted the Alzheimer's Association which was able to give me its temporary number (718) 245-7165. It was relocated to McKinney Nursing Home affiliated with Downstate Medical Center. After a long drive we arrived there and met with the staff regarding enrolling my aunt. I spoke with Maya and Arlene again (as I had several years earlier) and they apologized for the small office which has been shared by the entire staff since their dislocation following Sandy (one and a half years!).

The reality is there is no progress in returning this program to its home in Rockaway. The HHC seems once again to show little to no regard for the elderly, particular those with dementia who are unable to advocate for themselves. If they are lucky enough to participate in the program, they now travel approximately an hour and one half each way by van. I wonder how many in need of the program would have someone like me a clinical social worker to advocate for them and locate the support they need.

Evidently all the new contents, e.g. kitchen, bathrooms ... have been ordered. Maybe Lew Simon, Phil Goldfeder or Eric Ulrich could use some of their political clout to help these poor displaced seniors still suffering from the debacle of poor care they have been subject to since the closing of the Neponsit Health Care Facility. This is an invaluable Rockaway program that has been displaced by Hurricane Sandy. It's long past time that it is restored to Rockaway.


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