By Ann Donnelly
The Conkling Center, which offers senior-directed programs and services for community members 55+, is preparing for its 125th anniversary celebrations in 2024. The organization started as The Glens Falls Home and was incorporated in 1899 to provide residential services for aging women. In 1999, the adult home closed. The Glens Falls Home partnered with The Eddy, the residential division of Northeast Health (currently the Continuing Care division of St. Peter’s Health Partners), and founded the Glen at Hiland Meadows in the Town of Queensbury. The Glens Falls Home relocated the remaining residents to lovely new quarters at the Terrace in the Glen complex.
After the Glen at Hiland Meadows opened in the early 2000’s, The Glens Falls Home began operating and providing senior directed programs and services, including On-The-Go Transportation that started up on November 1, 2012. In 2014, the board decided to change the name to The Conkling Center in honor of Mary Conkling, who contri buted her family home for the original Glens Falls Home.
“Our mission is to enhance the quality of life of seniors in the community directly and indirectly by providing services, programs, and opportunities to meet their ever-changing needs,” says Executive Director Joan K. Tarantino.
Programs offered by The Conkling Center include the On-The-Go Transportation Program, the Ice Melt Program, and various programs touching on topics within the areas of Community Awareness, Health and Safety, Legal, Educational, and Inter-Generational. They often collaborate with individuals and organizations to offer programs and services to the community. “In the past, and we anticipate we will again in 2024, we held an Elder Law Summit and worked with local elder law attorneys to put that together,” says Tarantino. “We also do a veteran’s breakfast with the Greater Glens Falls Senior Center.”
Program Manager Tricia Golden, researches topics of interest to seniors and develops, markets, and oversees in-person and virtual programs.
The On-The-Go Transportation Program, run by part-time Transportation Coordinator Michael Gleason with one full-time and two part-time drivers, provides door-to-door transportation to community members 55+ via two accessible vans, Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. This service transports users to medical and rehabilitation appointments, banks, grocery stores, hairdressers, restaurants, and other destinations within a 20-mile radius of Glens Falls. Since 2012, the program has transported more than 2.300 riders over 378,355 miles.
As many older adults live alone and need help in maintaining a safe outdoor walking surface during the winter months, The Conkling Center’s Ice Melt program distributes ice melt to the senior centers and other senior service organizations in Northern Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties at no charge to any senior in need of ice melt. The goal is to keep seniors safe and prevent as many falls as possible due to snow and ice melt buildup around their homes.
The Conkling Center also provides valuable resources and information, including a Legal Resource Guide for the Elderly, Memory Loss, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Communication DVD, and Housing Directory for Local Counties.
“Our focus is on seniors, but we also get a lot of questions from family members on resources or to get questions answered, so we also serve as a resource hub for a variety of things,” said Tarantino, who is a valuable resource herself with over 40 years of not-for-profit leadership, management, and direct program experience.
Many programs are available at no cost to participants or only with a fee to cover the cost of materials. You can support the work of The Conkling Center in several ways. Community members may volunteer to help with various projects and programs. Individuals and organizations may make gifts and donations on a one-off, annual, quarterly, or in-memory or to support a specific program or event.
The Judge J. Timothy Breen Golf Tournament occurred for the first time in May 2023 and was a huge success, drawing 100 golfers. The tournament will occur this year on May 23, 2024, at the Hiland Park Golf Course. Sponsorships are available at various levels.
A 15-member Board of Directors governs The Conkling Center. Four members and one elected community member serve on the Board of The Glen at Hiland Meadows.
The Conkling Center is located at 79 Warren Street in Glens Falls. For further information go to https://www.theconklingcenter.org/.