Opinion: Town’s seniors deserve a better building

Mar 28, 2022

To the Editor:

As the daughter of an elder who utilizes the COA, I am grateful for the many services they offer. Since engaging in COA activities, the progression of my father's memory loss has slowed down. His mood has improved and he looks forward to the coming days. He is much more engaged and happier. My family is so truly thankful. Our Wareham COA is an invaluable asset to our community. 

With that being said, the current location is less than adequate. To expect our seniors to climb stairs, share space, and move tables and chairs each and every day is absurd! Summer is fast approaching. Many of us look forward to family gatherings, where we will greet our elders with love and respect. We will sit, gather and talk about life, love and family and cherish time spent together, especially after being kept apart for so long. As we gather at cookouts, events and gatherings, we don't expect our elders to clean up. We don't expect great-grandma and great-grandpa to help put away tables and chairs. So why do we expect it of our elders who utilize the COA? 

I was in the building last Wednesday, when the elevator stopped working. It worries me to no end, what would happen should a fire break out in the building. Some elders are dependent on the elevator to bring them up one flight so they can exit. You cannot utilize an elevator in an emergency. 

Many of our seniors, like my father, look forward to their time at the COA. They do not want to “make waves” and complain. They’d much prefer to just make do with what they have and keep quiet. But enough is enough! For far too long, their needs have gone overlooked and their voices unheard! The Decas School is a beautiful building. One that has space for all their activities. Where they can come, enjoy the time there and not have to worry about moving furniture. Not feeling rushed or worried that they may fall. The Decas School is one floor, where it’s safely accessible for ALL, in all situations. As a daughter of a senior in town, I urge my fellow community members to stand with me and let the Town Administrator and elected officials know- it’s time to move our elders out of the basement! Support Articles 23 & 24 at Spring Town meeting. 

Thank you,

Jody Santagate