With its bonanza of organizations offering multiple programs just for us, this town is the perfect place for seniors—women and men alike.
By Sally Wendkos Olds
Dancer Naomi Goldberg Haas started Dances for a Variable Population and holds Movement Speaks classes at Senior Planet in Harlem and senior centers around NYC. Photo by Talya Charef. Schedule for Spring 2022: Outdoor classes will return to Garibaldi Plaza at Washington Square Park in April, permit pending. Currently, classes are at the Church of Pompeii/Greenwich House Senior Center, 25 Carmine Street (enter on Bleecker), 9:30 am Tuesdays. . . . . . . . . . . . .
UPDATED FEB. 17, 2022
When I signed up for a program sponsored by Coming of Age NYC, I had no idea just how many organizations offer special services to New Yorkers age 50 and older. Yes, I already knew about some of them and had drawn on their resources; but others were entirely new to me. Discovering how many such groups this city offers, I found one more among so many reasons to marvel at how this city is a wonderful place for us to live.
Senator Liz Krueger’s Resource Guide: For starters I urge you to get the new edition of the 101-page Senior Resource Guide by New York State Senator Liz Krueger. It is a treasure trove, listing agencies and services that deal with everything from A (Advocacy) to W (What to Do with All That Stuff). Get your free copy of the guide via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone, 212-490-9535; or contact Kreuger’s office: 211 East 43rd St., Suite 1201, New York, NY 10017, and ask for a copy to be mailed to you.
Coming of Age NYC is for women and men age 50 and over. Its motto: “Inspiring New Yorkers 50+ to Live with Passion and Purpose.” Membership is free. Some monthly special events are free; others charge a small fee. I attended “Love, Dating & Sex Over 50.” It was smoothly run, with three good speakers and a Q&A—and well worth the $10 fee, which included the program, one drink and hors d’oeuvres. Coming of Age sends out a free monthly newsletter highlighting upcoming events, including workshops, networking socials, special events and “Explore Your Future’ workshops which encourage people 50+ to rekindle their passions and set goals to find meaning in the third stage of life. COA NYC also partners with PSS Circle of Care to provide free help for caregivers. For more information, go to www.comingofagenyc.org, professional consultants are available in every NYC borough.
ReServe, Inc. matches retirees age 50+ who want to work part-time for a small stipend with public service agencies, non-profits, and a few for-profit organizations. “ReServists” are placed in meaningful assignments, ranging from 10 to 20 hours a week, and receive payment from minimum wage ($15 in New York) to as much as $25/hour. They meet new people, gain skills, provide professional mentorship and enhance the social impact of important community organizations. They may find themselves applying their experience and expertise at organizations that otherwise might not be able to afford such accomplished talent. ReServists come from an array of professional backgrounds, including social work, law, marketing, human resources, health care, education, retail, finance, trade, and military. As of this writing, ReServe has jobs available for an accountant, grant writer and human resource consultant for the Office of the Mayor. If you are computer literate and want to share your skills part-time, go to www.ReServeinc.org and click on the Register as a Professional link. You’ll answer a few questions, watch a PowerPoint presentation and be invited to a group interview. Registration is free and once registered you can search ReServe’s database to explore and apply for current opportunities. To learn more, visit ReServe’s website, call 877-290-6145 or email: email@example.com.
The Transition Network (TTN) is a nationwide organization for women 50-plus who seek new connections, resources and opportunities. The New York City chapter holds monthly meetings featuring topics such as preparing for life transitions in career, family and self. The monthly newsletter reports on upcoming tours of local landmarks, visits to art galleries with expert guides, workshops, and talks. TTN also offers opportunities to connect with like-minded women through peer groups and TTN’s “Special Interest Groups” that focus upon such pursuits as movies, theater, reading, finances, and dining together. A major health-related service is the Caring Collaborative; it helps members assist one another in situations like picking up a member after a medical procedure, accompanying her to a doctor’s appointment, and recommending medical specialists. For information go to https://ttnwomen.org/. Membership costs $100 a year.
Living Well Together (LWT), an outgrowth of TTN’s Caring Collaborative, provides a similar framework for mutual assistance when health-related issues arise. The project, which was originally sponsored by the UJA-Federation of New York’s Engage Jewish Service Corps, is non-sectarian and currently being implemented at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue and at Neighbor2Neighbor in Greenwich Village. Engage encourages volunteers to use their skills, expertise, passion, and leadership to help others. Individuals or organizations wishing to learn more about LWT may contact Mimi Grinker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Planet supports “aging with attitude.” It offers technology courses for beginners and for the more computer-literate at the Senior Planet Exploration Center, 127 West 25th Street. Members can also drop by to use computers, access Wi-Fi, play video games, and check out technology gadgets. Membership is free: You just stop in at the Center, pose for a photo and receive a membership card. You can sign up for a regular free newsletter with a NYC events calendar that lists performances, talks, museum visits and other activities, many of them free or modestly priced. The newsletter covers such topics as health, sex and dating, art and design, style, travel and entertainment. Recent articles included such topics as safety for older drivers, romance scams and sex with a new partner. The Center also offers a variety of tech-based courses, ranging from learning how to operate a computer to creating your own website and/or producing a personalized photo album. Senior Planet is affiliated with OATS (Older Adults Technology Services), a NYC-based nonprofit that engages, trains and supports older adults on how to use technology. To join Senior Planet’s mailing list, go to Senior Planet’s sign up page.
Dorot: Most opportunities with Dorot, a nonprofit aimed at alleviating social isolation, involve volunteering with people aged 65 to 100, but they also have other programs. On one occasion, I attended an excellent free lecture about books and reading. On another, I had a free professional photo taken. I also joined a workshop, “Control Your Clutter, Control Your Life,” about how to tidy up your life and keep a serene home using various organizing techniques, including the famous Kon Mari method. Membership is free; the suggested fee for workshops is $5. Volunteer activities include visiting seniors on birthdays, taking seniors to a movie or museum, playing chess or Scrabble with a homebound senior, and delivering holiday foods. To learn more about Dorot programs, sign up for the mailing list, go to Dorot’s home page: www.dorotusa.org or call 212 769-2850. Located on the Upper West Side, 171 W 85th Street.
. . . . . . . . . . . . The above listings just scratch the surface of the agencies that are here to help us in many ways. Be sure to visit NYC’s Organizations for Older Adults, Part 2, our second listing of services available to New York City residents. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sally Wendkos Oldsis an award-winning writer about intimate relationships, personal growth, and development throughout life. In addition to her classic The Complete Book of Breastfeeding, now in its fourth edition, she is the author or coauthor of ten other books and hundreds of articles in major publications.
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