Senior centers might close down

Senior citizens center. (PNC file photo)

The Mayor’s Council of Guam, which has been in charge of handling village Senior Centers since 2011, shared their concerns about having to stop running them because their hands are full and there are not enough resources to go around.

Most of the mayors said during their meeting on Wednesday that although they do want to keep their centers, they’re the ones who are supplying everything, and it cannot go on like that. They need help.

Jesse Alig, the Council’s President and Piti’s Mayor said that he wanted the Council to consider whether or not they think they can continue handling the centers as he is concerned the Council might have too much on their plate.

“All the mayors want to support your Manamko in your village, but I’m not thinking of it that way, I’m looking at what we can actually handle as the Mayor’s Council of Guam,” says Alig.

Anthony Chargualaf, Mayor of Inalahan, said that the only option is to negotiate with Public Health to provide more resources if they want the Centers to continue operations.

“But again, if we’re taking, if there’s several mayors that have brought up to our attention that it’s just burdening them so much, you know, the only option is either we sit down with Public Health and negotiate with them a determined amount that needs to be given to MCOG or outright just go ahead and give it back,” says Chargualaf.

“I personally would like to keep it, but again, we need to have that funding to be able to support it and have continuity,” Chargualaf continues.

Robert Hofmann, Sinajana’s Mayor and Vice President of the Council, said the centers not only need resources and management, but they also need big “injections” of money as most of the centers need to be updated, painted and renovated.

Another way to solve this problem, according to Hofmann, could be to consolidate some Senior Centers as some of them don’t reach their capacity and don’t really get many visitors.

“The thing we also have to face in reality is, our centers are not at capacity and there’s a reason why. You know, we have to figure out a way, so I can understand the government’s view of this saying we’re gonna give out money to run the center, but you’ve seen it in nutrition, you’ve seen the amount of food wasted, you’ve seen in transportation they send a whole bus for one or two people and you know, they get paid whether there’s one or whether there’s twenty riders,” says Hoffmann.

“It’s useless to open a center for four people or three people,” Hoffmann adds.

Stay posted to PNC as the Mayor’s continue to discuss the future of the Senior Centers.