Officials hope to move program by Labor Day

By William K. Alcorn


Mahoning County health officials expect to move their adult day services program from the South Side Annex to a facility near the health department offices on Westchester Drive by Labor Day.

The county plans to close the annex, 2801 Market St., Youngstown, in September, after its last three occupants move to Oakhill Renaissance Place and other county locations.

The county health board is looking forward to moving the program, primarily because it will enable expansion, said Patricia Sweeney, health commissioner.

“We are within a good work area that might provide opportunities for more private-pay clients,” she said.

Sweeney said there are a lot of working families that have responsibilities for elderly or disabled family members who have no respite and the move to Austintown might give them that opportunity in a facility that provides healthy, age-appropriate activities and good friendships in a supervised situation.

It will also help with supervision and provide additional nurses who work in the county health headquarters if needed. The program has a part-time nurse on staff, she added.

The program is for frail seniors who otherwise might be in more expensive assisted living or nursing facilities, said Diana M. Colaianni, health department nursing director.

About 50 are in the program, most in their 80s and 90s, many of whom have been clients for more than 10 years. It is like family for them and a chance to socialize, Colaianni said.

“And we have a very devoted staff that includes a full-time activities director, full-time bus driver, a part-time nurse; and two aides provided through the Mature Services program,” she said.

Sweeney said the Austintown Township trustees, who own the Westchester facility, have been helpful in getting the building ready and moving other tenants around.

She said the health board was able to lease a new 16- to 18-passenger bus through Mahoning County Adult Services Company, which the health board would otherwise not be able to afford.

It is a great example of collaboration between community organizations, Sweeney added.

None of this would have been possible without philanthropists Anthony and Mary Lariccia, Colaianni said.

The Lariccias gave the program $60,000 in 2008 when it was threatened with closure, and pledged the same amount every year as long as it is needed.

To date, they have gifted $300,000 to the adult day services program, she added.

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