Colonial Club talk addresses concerns about quality of life for senior citizens
Bay Ridge Center’s Todd Fliedner Is the Guest Speaker
The Colonial Club of Bay Ridge has a long history of presenting insightful and informative talks about community events and topics that pertain to its membership. The club is composed of civic leaders and professionals who play an active role in their neighborhood.
At the club’s most recent meeting, the guest speaker was Todd Fliedner, outreach and development director at Bay Ridge Center (BRC).
Fliedner said that BRC is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The center, contracted by the New York City Department for the Aging, services thousands of adults aged 60 years and older in Bay Ridge and its surrounding neighborhoods. The center provides hot meals, exercise classes, trips, seminars and recreational activities.
Fliedner discussed a recent city Council initiative that allocated funds for a planning grant to the BRC through Councilmember Vincent Gentile. The planning grant enabled BRC to conduct a needs assessment of adults 55 years of age and older to help inform their plans to establish a neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC).
Fliedner explained that “NORCs are circumscribed areas of community where a high concentration of older adults live. Supportive services programs exist in many established New York City NORCs. And these programs provide health care support and social services support, as well as other activities to help seniors age successfully in place. And that’s, of course, the ultimate goal for any senior — to age gracefully where they live and be able to carry on life in their homes.”
According to Fliedner, BRC conducted a very ambitious survey that reached more than 600 people. The center will be presenting the results of its findings at an event at BRC, 6935 Fourth Ave., on Nov. 30 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Gentile will be there to help share the results of the survey with the community.
Fliedner offered the Colonial Club a sneak preview of the research from the survey. He said that 49 percent of those surveyed said they felt very confident that they would be able to live in their current residence for as long as they liked, 34 percent said they were only somewhat confident and 17 percent said they were not confident at all.
Discussing the high cost of renting in Bay Ridge, Fliedner said that the neighborhood has become even more desirable lately and he joked that he’s even spotted some hipsters in Bay Ridge.
One-fourth of the survey respondents said that their homes need repairs or modifications to improve their ability to remain in them as long as they like.
As a result, one initiative that BRC would like to undertake is to help seniors with home modifications. Fliedner said that sometimes they are in need of very simple repairs. He cited his 86-year-old father as an example of someone who recently needed to have grab bars installed in his bathroom.
Only 15 percent of responders said that crime was a problem in their neighborhood. The top three neighborhood problems identified by respondents were heavy traffic, lack of senior housing and lack of affordable housing. He said that the housing issue was something BRC was going to have to deal with.
Fliedner explained that the senior population is projected to increase by 50 percent in the next 10 to 15 years, adding, “Our senior population is literally going to double and Bay Ridge is identified as the second most popular senior neighborhood in all five boroughs.”
According to Fliedner, BRC must find ways to accommodate all the baby boomers who are aging out and becoming seniors in Bay Ridge.
The Colonial Club holds its bimonthly meetings at Gino’s Restaurant at 7414 Fifth Ave. in Bay Ridge.
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