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STATE BUDGET THREATENS ELDERLY'S MEANING IN LIFE

Ever see a medical transportation van traveling through neighborhoods? These lucky individuals could very well be going to an adult day health-care program, any one of six in Western New York.

An adult day health-care program is a place where people might receive occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy or nursing services. They meet others recovering from strokes or amputations or dealing with Parkinson's disease or arthritis.

Instead of staring at the four walls of their apartment or home, these people have a place to go, to laugh, to better cope with their disabilities. They have an opportunity to strengthen their muscles and improve their overall functioning. This in turn helps them be independent in everything we take for granted, such as walking, dressing, meal preparation, etc.

Also, caregivers such as wives, sons and daughters, grandchildren, etc., are given a break from their routine. Someone once said, "Showing up is 90 percent of life." Well, these people do show up, day in and day out, no matter what the weather or state of mind.

What keeps bringing them back? The answer is simple: Adult day health-care programs bring meaning back into people's lives.

What prompts this letter is that Gov. Pataki's new budget has proposed eliminating adult day health-care programs. Period. This will result in many people going to more expensive alternatives. So where is the logic in that?

I implore the governor to save our programs because our registrants are living, not just existing.

JUDY PRICE
Manager, Schofield Residence
Adult Day Health Care Program
Tonawanda

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