Nikki Lucas pictured in center
Nikki Lucas, a community leader and senior advocate from East New York has been working with New York for Seniors® as a moderator of the New York for Seniors Healthcare Panel Discussions, as well as the overall host of their Health & Wellness Resource Fairs.
Starting in 2020, Lucas will be working even closer with New York for Seniors, providing outreach services for seniors and caregivers throughout New York City. We had the opportunity to sit down with her to ask a few questions about her impactful work throughout the years. See the Q & A below with Nikki Lucas:
NYC Newswire (NYCN): How long have you been advocating for seniors and what made you start?
Nikki Lucas (NL): I’ve been advocating for seniors for 20 years. I was moving around between the different senior centers in my area and dealing with my own parents as they grew older and I realized there was a tremendous need for resources and the need to get information out to seniors and caregivers.
NYCN: What are the main concerns of seniors in East New York and other parts of the city?
NL: Housing, prescription drug pricing, unclear about medicaid/medicare structure and transportation.
NYCN: How did you begin working with New York for Seniors?
NL: It was a natural gravitation to the group. I had a solid senior base of seniors in East New York and New York for Seniors was doing great things in the area and it only made sense to bring my seniors to the group. They were bringing real resources and information into the community and I wanted to make sure seniors in the area were involved in receiving the information. That’s how it started and the relationship has grown a lot since that time.
NYCN: We know you have been the moderator for the New York for Seniors Healthcare Panel Discussions. How has that been working? And do you think it has been helpful?
NL: It’s been amazing! Through working with my senior base, as well as my parents, I’m knowledgeable about the questions to ask. I’m also familiar with most of the panelists and the services they offer, so I ask questions that I know many seniors would like to ask. Because it’s a more intimate setting, it allows the seniors to truly understand the issues at hand. This works much better than large events that distract them with picking up pamphlets, collecting gift bags and such. The Healthcare Panel Discussion segments are like breakout sessions with a focus on questions and answers that are important to seniors and their families. We found that in these sessions the information is easier for the seniors to digest and they can also ask questions, with one on one follow up after the discussions. The questions that become more important when you’re a senior are addressed by people who are experts in those fields. Seniors are willing to receive information from people they feel they can trust, and they get the answers right there on the spot. There’s no doubt that these sessions have been helpful for not only the seniors but their family members as well.
NYCN: What are the expansion plans for 2020?
NL: We are adding more New York for Seniors Health & Wellness Resource events throughout New York City, including an event at Bronx Borough Hall in partnership with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr’s office. We added partnerships with Silver Sneakers for added fitness options for seniors. We have expanded by partnering with different church senior groups. We are partnering with transportation groups to get the seniors to and from events. The New York for Seniors print magazine will be distributed inside of Walgreens stores throughout New York City, giving us the opportunity to reach seniors who may not be members of senior centers. We are also distributing at additional locations, including senior centers/assisted living facilities so that they are aware of the events happening with information relevant to them. The goal is to reach as many seniors as possible, and inform them of the resources that are available to them throughout New York City, from transportation, to housing, home care, healthcare options and more.
If you or someone you know is a senior who wants more information about resources and events please call the New York for Seniors office at 718-285-9351 and Nikki Lucas will get back to you personally.