Future Thinking: Making Brooklyn More Senior Compatible

As baby boomers age it follows there will be a surge in the senior population. By the 2030 all of the baby boomers will have moved into the ranks of the older populace, whether they’ll admit to it or not. In Today’s New York City, Brooklyn and Queens are each home to 29% of the senior population, making them tied at having the largest segments within this criterion.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has spoken on the expansion a 2010 city initiative that plans establish age-friendly neighborhoods in 10 new districts. The speaker knows whereof she speaks as her own East Harlem district was part of the pilot program on this matter. The Office of the Mayor, the New York City Council, and the New York Academy of Medicine partnered to create Age-friendly NYC to prepare for a time when there will be a higher number of older adults than school-aged children.

The initiative assists communities craft policies to meet the unique needs of older adults in each neighborhood. For instance, Thomas Jefferson Park Pool established special hours for Seniors Only, when it was communicated that seniors went outside of the neighborhood to swim because the families and kids using the pool made them feel uneasy. The special schedule was such a success at this pool that this policy was adapted citywide.

Another concern is making benefits better available to seniors in need. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito points out that with the newly increased SCRIE regulations thousands of seniors could have their rent locked into an affordable price, and she states that only 44 percent of eligible seniors in New York City are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work and the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging will partner with the Council to find more effective methods to introduce seniors to their warranted benefits. Furthermore, on the subject of affordable housing for seniors, the speaker said she has legislation that will develop a guide aimed to help seniors for landlords and building owners, calling attention to such modifications as: ramps, handrails, larger door frames (to fit wheelchairs), etc., which enable seniors to continue to live more comfortably in New York City.

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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