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Wellness Fair At Brownsville Recreation Center

It was a nice midweek reprieve for the seniors who came out for a Senior Fair / Black History Month event at Brownsville Recreation Center (BRC). Guests enjoyed continental breakfast and refreshments as they were entertained by performances by active BRC members. BRC boasts one of the largest senior membership in the five boroughs with over 1,000 regular attendees.

After a welcome address by Recreation Director Vivian Jett-Brown, various senior groups took the floor to impress the audience with their skills. A small Tai Chi class illustrated the graceful movements of the centuries-old, stress-relieving discipline, and the Golden Nugget Seniors Helping Seniors ensemble demonstrated dance routines practiced in their weekly sessions. “These seniors are as young as the spring is long,” said Ms. Jett-Brown, a 19-year veteran of the BRC staff. “We have such a robust offering [of classes] here, including yoga, swimming and ballroom dance. Plus they go on trips and put on plays. They get to stay active and have fun.”

Representatives from SUNY Downstate Medical Center manned a table packed with pamphlets regarding HIV prevention, sexually transmitted diseases, and safe sex practices. Marian Searchwell, Program Coordinator, shared a startling local statistic: in New York City, the rate that seniors (ages 65+) acquire sexually transmitted diseases is at an all-time high. The SUNY program is working with city and state health officials to re-educate seniors, many of whom do not consider themselves an “at-risk” population.

Did you know Internet-enabled caption phones are available free of charge for users with hearing aids? Dorothy Bruns of Clear Captions demonstrated the features of the Ensemble phone, which displays text of conversations in near real-time on a large color touchscreen. The sleek, high tech-looking device is really user-friendly, and compatible with all carriers, in any state. Several seniors spoke with Ms. Bruns about setting up future in-home product demos and installations.

Other senior fair participants included AlphaCare, MTA Access-A-Ride, NYPD Community Affairs, New York Life, FDNY Fire Safety Education Unit, Department of Aging NYC, Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Elmy’s Special Services and Centers Plan for Healthy Living and Department of Health & Mental Hygiene NYC.

Brownsville Recreation Center- (718) 345-2706

1555 Linden Blvd, Brooklyn, NY 11212

Scott Stringer Calls For Strategic City Planning For Seniors

Recently, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer called on the City to launch an agency-by-agency, neighborhood-by-neighborhood approach to serving its seniors. Unveiling a new a report – entitled Aging with Dignity: A Blueprint for Serving NYC’s Growing Senior Population

Currently, New York City’s seniors face affordability, transit, housing and other obstacles. As the City’s population ages, so too does the urgency for holistic planning:

Important Stats

  • By 2040, city planners expect there will be 1.4 million older adults living in New York City – an increase of hundreds of thousands of people from today.
  • Over 40 percent of senior-headed households depend on government programs for more than half their income
  • Six out of 10 senior renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent – a significantly higher percentage than the general population.

Despite widespread documentation of these challenges, the City is not engaged in a comprehensive planning process for it seniors. As such, today, the Comptroller called for a cohesive, long-term planning process from the City in order to streamline services and develop a holistic strategy.

Some Solutions Proposed by Scott Stringer

  • Freezing rents by automatically enrolling New Yorkers in the Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE): Additional senior renters can more easily remain in their apartments if they are automatically enrolled in the (SCRIE) program, which freezes their rent.
  • Limiting affordability challenges by expanding tax credits through the Senior Citizens Homeowners’ Exemption:To support seniors who own their homes, the City should expand eligibility for the program to cover those with incomes up to $50,000. That would make approximately 29,000 more homeowners eligible for the program and mitigate affordability challenges.
  • Creating tailored, neighborhood action plans by expanding the Age-Friendly Neighborhoods program: In 2010, the City launched the “Age-Friendly Neighborhoods” program, which created neighborhood action plans for over a dozen neighborhoods to better support seniors. To do long-term planning, that program should be expanded significantly so communities can pinpoint their needs in a local way.

Scott Stringer- (212) 669-3916

Office: One Centre Street, New York, NY 10007