Saratoga Springs

Office manager steps up to fill new role at Prestwick Chase in Saratoga Springs

McNeary’s shopping is lifeline for residents of senior living facility
Cadigan McNeary in Saratoga Springs after shopping for Prestwick Chase residents on April 10.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Cadigan McNeary in Saratoga Springs after shopping for Prestwick Chase residents on April 10.

Categories: Business, Rising to the Challenge, Saratoga County, Special Sections

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Cadigan McNeary is used to being pulled in several directions at once.

As the office manager at Prestwick Chase at Saratoga, McNeary normally works with payroll and other human resource tasks, and handles other issues that come up around the office at the senior living facility.

However, she hasn’t been able to return to the office in two months. Instead, she spends her days getting residents everything from prescriptions to groceries.

Since COVID-19 started spreading in New York, it’s become dangerous for residents of the facility to run errands. When it became apparent that apps such as Instacart and even pickup services at local grocery stores would not work for residents, McNeary was the first to step up.

GAZETTE COVID-19 COVERAGE

The Daily Gazette is committed to keeping our community safe and informed and is offering our COVID-19 coverage to you free.
Our subscribers help us bring this information to you. Please consider a subscription at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe to help support these efforts.
Thank You

Prestwick Chase has been operated by McNeary’s family for years, so while McNeary has only been office manager for about a year, she’s spent much of her life working there in some capacity.

Her father, Fred McNeary Jr., is the current CEO, and while McNeary originally planned to go into event planning and hospitality, she found her passion was working with senior residents.

Earlier this month, she spoke with The Gazette about how she shops for 200 residents each week and what it’s been like to go without seeing them for the past month.

Q: How did you come to this new role?

A: We had a meeting probably two months ago when this all started happening, and we were talking about what we could do at Prestwick to help the residents and make sure that they were able to stay put and not have to worry about someone bringing groceries to them, or family members that are far away having to go and do it.

So when we were talking in the meeting, it was just a question of who wanted to do it and when we were going to start this. I was the first to jump in and say I’ll do it. I have no hesitation. I was also the youngest there, so I figured out of everyone that worked there, I’d rather take one for the team.

Rising to the Challenge: Faces of the COVID-19 crisis in the Capital Region

My dad’s in his 50s and he jokes, but he’s like “I’m in the age bracket that I could get this and it could hurt me.” A lot of the employees are older than me, so I just wanted to make sure I was the one that was doing it.

I obviously can’t go back there right now. I pick up the groceries and we have a car that comes and [picks] them up from the store. I bring them outside and put them in the car and they take them back. But I don’t go back to Prestwick Chase. I don’t want to infect anyone there. So this is my full-time job right now.

Q: How many residents are you shopping for?

A: 200.

Q: How does it work? Do they each give you a list?


A: When we first started it, we weren’t super-organized about it. I’m sure a lot of people weren’t organized with this stuff either. [We] didn’t expect it to happen this quick. So they were writing lists on a piece of paper and handing it in to our front desk. … All of a sudden I [got] to work and there [were] 40 lists one day. Half of them are not that easy to read. So we made a little sheet up and it’s separated by dairy, meat and things like that. They just fill it all out with what they want, and I just go around the store and pick it up as I go.

We separate it into wings. We have four wings in our building and then we have cottages that are not attached to the building. I do one wing per day and then I do the cottages on Wednesday, when I also go to all the pharmacies in Saratoga to pick up prescriptions for the residents.

Q: Do the employees at these grocery stores and pharmacies know you by now?

A: It’s really funny, I go to the Price Chopper in Saratoga and the store managers … probably thought I was a little crazy at first. … I was going through the store and they started asking me questions like, “Who are you shopping for?” “Do you work for Instacart?”

Now, I know the manager for every department at Price Chopper and they all talk to me. [One] jokes with me every day and we go back and forth. I’m really friendly with all of them.

The people in the produce department I really appreciate. They started giving me what they call a “U-boat.” It’s a double-decker cart that they put all the produce on. I can put so many more bags on there, so it cuts my time in half. I don’t have to walk around with one shopping cart with four bags. I put 16 bags at a time on the U-boat and push it around the store. I appreciate the produce department.

They’ve helped so much. Every day I go in now and they have the U-boat sitting aside for me. They’re ready when I get there.

Q: On average, how long do you think you spend in the store?


A: It depends. One day I spent nine hours in the store. It depends on the day and the wing. … It also depends on how many people are in the store. I’ve noticed a lot more people showing up to Price Chopper than there originally were, so it’s more difficult to shop for 16-plus people at a time.

Q: Are you disinfecting the groceries?

A: Yes. In our lobby, we have [a] luggage/storage room, and they put UV lights in there and they have some sanitation [device] in there, so all the groceries or anything that comes into Prestwick Chase goes in that room and gets sanitized for 15 minutes before it goes out to any of the residents. The residents don’t touch a bag that I’ve touched before it’s been sanitized.

Rising to the Challenge: Faces of the COVID-19 crisis in the Capital Region

Q: Has it been tough to not be able to see the residents?

A: I do miss the [residents] a lot. I would from time to time go and sit with them while they were playing cards before, and not being able to do that now, it does stink.

I actually had a resident text me and she said that she was so grateful for the groceries and she knew it couldn’t be easy and sent a heart. The day that I had a nine-hour day and I was kind of stressed about it, she [sent] me a nice message on Facebook. I’ve had a lot of residents reach out and just say that they’ve missed me. I really do miss them and I miss being there.

It’s very different being out and about and not being with the community.

Leave a Reply