We regularly put the reins of tomorrow in the capable hands of our youth. But, too often we fail to acknowledge that the hopes of past generations for a healthy, productive society were pinned on the shoulders of our present-day matriarchs and patriarchs, the progenitors of our history, our heritage.
For that, we owe them our eternal gratitude.
As supervisor of a town with more than 230,000 residents, roughly 57,000 of whom are 60 and older, I welcome the opportunity to thank in a tangible way the residents who have made this town the wonderful place to live that it is today.
My administration’s vehicle of choice, Project Independence, is an ambitious, first-of-its-kind program in the suburbs designed to help seniors remain in the communities they helped build.
Now, with close to $400,000 in grants, the recent unveiling of Project Independence Great Neck – the first in a planned network of regional offices – and the newly established Department of Services for the Aging (DOSA), North Hempstead’s showcase program for seniors is about to take flight.
Project Independence began in 2004 as a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) pilot serving two New Hyde Park census tracts. Somewhat limited in geographical scope, the NORC was expanded and renamed Project Independence with a long-term mission to serve eight regions within the town.
In addition to New Hyde Park and the recently opened Great Neck office located in the Senior Center on Grace Avenue, another six locations are planned, including the Port Washington peninsula, the Roslyns, Manhasset, Westbury/New Cassel, Mineola, the Willistons and the Albertson area. The plan is to staff each office with a team of nursing and social work providers. The projection is for the expansion to be completed in total by 2012.
With Project Independence as its core responsibility, DOSA was established by the town council in June as part of a broader departmental overhaul in the town.
Among other things, DOSA will coordinate services including screening for chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, health education seminars, support groups for caregivers and others, help accessing benefits, case management, social/recreational activities, volunteer opportunities and referrals to other sources of support.
The town’s 311 call-takers have been trained to process calls from seniors, pinpoint their needs and connect them with DOSA and Project Independence for help.
To reach DOSA or learn more about Project Independence services, call 311.