AGE-FRIENDLY NYC is a a program created by The New York Academy of Medicine, the NYC Council and the Office of the Mayor. This was implemented to keep pace with the rapid growth of the senior population in New York City.
New York is a city of neighborhoods, and older adults have spoken and said that they most want to see improvements at the local level, in these neighborhoods, where they spend the majority of their time. In response, the innovative concept of Aging Improvement Districts was born. Bedford Stuyvesant is one of only 4 Aging Improvement Districts in NYC. To create an Aging Improvement District, the concerns and suggestions of older adults in a specific neighborhood are brought together with the leaders and resources of local businesses, non-profit organizations, city officials, cultural, educational and religious institutions to think strategically to make no and low-cost improvements.
Older adults in Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights are as diverse as any group of New Yorkers, but I am sure of one thing - most of them want to grow old in their own homes and communities. A survey by the AARP found that almost 90% of older adults want to age in place. Aging in place can present challenges, but we're finding that it becomes much more manageable with the help of services provided through naturally occurring retirement communities, known as NORCs. BedStuy and Crown Heights must pay particularly close atention to this as a great percentage of its senior population are home owners and probably have considerable equity in their homes. Enter unscrupulous Realtors and Lenders. some of our sustainability as a thriving community rest upon our ability to recognize and assist those senior in staying in their homes.
NORCs are a true New York City institution. From the development of country’s first NORC program at Penn South Houses in the early 1980s to the rapid expansion of NORCs in recent years, we've led the way in this field. In a city as concentrated as New York, being a bit close to our neighbors might not always seem like the best part of City life, but when it comes to aging in place, it works in our favor.
We should be taking advantage of our geography and our size when it comes to NORCs. We have a tremendous opportunity to help prevent early moves to care facilities and improve the quality of life for our seniors. NORCs don’t just provide health care services and social work support, they can enrich seniors’ lives and help to develop a real community. Moreover, in times of crisis, such as Hurricane Sandy, they can be an essential lifeline. It’s my hope that NORCs in New York City will continue to lead the way in innovation and that we will be able within the next few years to create a NORC community right here in BedStuy and Crown Heights Our City is filled with resources and as the Legislative Policy Analyst for the New York city council on Aging and Veterans It is my goal to better pepare this community for a NORC!