Older adults living in our community are struggling with food insecurity, social isolation, inaccessible medical care, anxiety, depression, household chores, and other challenges.
Approximately 12% of our neighbors are 70 or older. Nearly one-third of them live below the poverty line and are unable to afford basic necessities and critical services on their own.
“Did you know many adults over the age of 65 cannot easily access vital services, leaving thousands of frail elderly in our community to fend for themselves?” asked Y Chief Development and Social Services Officer Victoria Neznansky. “They are falling through the cracks every day. Their basic needs aren’t adequately met.”
As more older adults seek to age in place, the Y is planning to expand critical support for vulnerable older adults in our community to live out their lives with dignity.
What are some of the challenges faced by older adults living alone in our community?
Last month, an elderly widow fell in her apartment. Without any family members in the area to call for help, she reached out to a neighbor who contacted us. We immediately arranged for an ambulance to take her to the hospital, and she came home the same day with a cast. But, our assistance didn’t stop there. We delivered a get-well basket to brighten her day and encouraged her to speak with her doctor to request additional hours of homecare while she was unable to care for herself. We continue to check in with her in person and by phone.
This month, a single woman in her late 70s reached out to us when she didn’t have transportation for a medical procedure. We not only arranged to bring her to the hospital and return her home, but we also provided her with an older adult escort who is specifically trained to assist with mobility issues.
Last week, the family of a 99-year-old Holocaust survivor contacted us to see if we could help her obtain a COVID-19 vaccination booster shot. As an official New York City COVID-19 vaccination scheduler for older adults in our community, we were able to make her appointment. But, we also arranged for her transportation with an escort and provided her meals and assistance at home.
The Y is dedicated to helping our elderly neighbors age in place. That’s why we are planning to increase our services to reach more older adults; provide training to recognize the urgent needs of older adults at home for members of the community — clergy, postal carriers, superintendents, and law enforcement; and engage bilingual geriatric social workers who best understand this population’s unique needs.
We are deeply grateful for your support and for your commitment to caring for our elderly neighbors.