Office of the Brooklyn Borough President and The New York Academy of Medicine Release Recommendations for an Age-inclusive Brooklyn
From Better Housing Options to Safer Sidewalks and Intersections, Age-friendly Brooklyn Task Force Outlines 10 Steps the City Can Take to Facilitate Improved Health, Happiness, and Opportunities for Older Adults Across the Borough
Brooklyn is Home to 352,000 Adults Ages 65 and Older
BROOKLYN, NY (March 24, 2023) – Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso and The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) today released 10 recommendations from the Age-friendly Brooklyn Task Force – an initiative first launched in 2019 by Mayor Eric Adams during his tenure as the Brooklyn Borough President. Comprised of 29 Brooklyn-based organizations who are advocates for older Brooklynites, the task force analyzed and prioritized the results of a 2019 borough-wide survey of nearly 2,000 older adults as well as the original set of 33 recommendations set forth in the Age-friendly Brooklyn report published in October 2019.
The task force’s recommendations – prioritized to have the widest and most timely impact – aim to ensure that Brooklyn’s 352,000 adults ages 65 and older can age with dignity, enjoy all that the borough has to offer, and continue to contribute to their communities. The report will serve as a guide for Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso as he and his office work to implement age-inclusive changes in the coming years. READ THE FULL SET OF RECOMMENDATIONS HERE.
“Building a Brooklyn for all is how we show our love to the people who made our borough the beautiful place it is today,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “As our borough rapidly grows, and our aging community continues to increase, we must make sure it does so equitably – and that means providing the housing, infrastructure, and resources that encourage health, comfort, and opportunities for our older adults. I’m grateful to Mayor Adams, NYAM, and the Age-friendly Brooklyn Task Force for leading the way toward an age-inclusive Brooklyn.”
“The publication of this report is a milestone in a longstanding relationship between NYAM and the Brooklyn Borough President’s office as we work together to improve health for Brooklynites of all ages,” said Ann Kurth, PhD, CNM, MPH, President of The New York Academy of Medicine. “Together, with partners across the borough and the City, we’re working to amplify the voices of communities to affect system change for the people it is intended to serve.”
“We are thrilled to publish the Age-friendly Brooklyn Task Force report in partnership with Borough President Reynoso and his dedicated staff,” said Elana Kieffer, MBA, Director of the Center for Healthy Aging at The New York Academy of Medicine. “This report is an important next step in the Age-friendly Brooklyn initiative that was launched in 2019 and exemplifies the commitment of nearly 30 organizations from across multiple sectors in ensuring that the borough continues to be age-friendly for all of its residents.”
“As a founding member of the Age-friendly NYC Commission, the New York City Department for the Aging applauds the continued efforts of Brooklyn Borough President Reynoso to prioritize the needs of older New Yorkers who call Brooklyn home,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. “Older New Yorkers deserve a city to age-in-place in and today we take another step forward in creating a fully age-inclusive New York. The recommendations outlined by the task force in this report reinforces the vision of then-Borough President Eric Adams, which continues to be an important part of his vision for the City as our Mayor.”
The report’s recommendations address key aspects of aging-in-place including housing, transportation, outdoor spaces, social participation, and health services:
- Housing: Expand and promote housing options for older adults, including supportive housing, grandparent housing, and home sharing options.
- Outdoor Spaces: Ensure safe, clean, and well-maintained sidewalks and safe, well-lit intersections in neighborhoods.
- Transportation: Provide training to MTA bus drivers and rideshare drivers on working with older riders and/or riders with disabilities.
- Access to Information: Expand access to information about news, events, health services, and public benefits.
- Digital Access: Increase digital accessibility and literacy for older adults, including an expansion of computer and technology classes.
- Language Access: Expand language access for mental health services.
- Expanded Partnerships: Establish opportunities for private and public partnerships, including “Adopt-an-Older-Adult Center” programs.
- Employment: Increase employment opportunities that fit the diverse vocational needs of older adults.
- Arts & Culture: Increase opportunities and funding for programming at cultural institutions, community centers and spaces, and faith-based organizations.
- Volunteerism: Cultivate and promote opportunities for volunteerism.
“Brooklyn’s elders are the reason this borough thrives. They have worked here, raised families, and continue to play such an integral part of the community. The growth of this cohort to a significant portion of the entire population merits an infrastructure that supports a decent and sustainable quality of life which permits older Brooklynites to live with dignity,” said Maria Alvarez, Executive Director, BWICA (Brooklyn-wide Interagency Council on Aging) Educational Fund, Inc.
“Brooklyn Community Foundation was honored to participate in the Age-friendly Brooklyn Task Force to assist Kings County in taking measurable steps in supporting older Brooklynites to age in place with access to services and opportunities that are rooted in comfort and dignity. This report will also help guide our grantmaking strategy with the Foundation’s Brooklyn Elders Fund that prioritizes the voices and experiences of older adults throughout the borough,” said Sabrina Hargrave, Director of Programs for the Brooklyn Community Foundation.
“It’s been a rewarding privilege to partner with and learn from other organizations working towards supporting older adults and their ability to age in place.” said Ryan Greenlaw, Director of Social Impact at the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership. “All recommendations are both necessary and timely and are a direct result of listening to older adults and addressing their unique needs.”
“Age Friendly Bay Ridge was thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to the Age-friendly Brooklyn Task Force report. Bay Ridge is home to approximately 26,400 adults aged 60+; one of the largest older adult populations in the borough. We have a huge stake in the Age-friendly Brooklyn Task Force’s findings because NYC Aging has projected the need for a 75% increase in capacity by 2030 for older adult center programs and services,” said Todd Fliedner, Executive Director of the Bay Ridge Center.
“I welcome the recommendations of the Age-friendly Task Force and appreciate the Borough President for ensuring continuity of focus on issues impacting older adults,” said Assemblymember Stefani Zinerman. “Throughout my time in public service, I have worked to emphasize the importance of ensuring that our neighborhoods are places where our elders can live in dignity, places where they feel cared for, places that honor the loving work they have done to create the communities we now enjoy, and places that value and support them. It has been my privilege to work with community stakeholders to uphold the values and eight domains of an age-friendly city. There is much work still to be done. It is up to us to collectively take responsibility for the future we build for ourselves and our elders.”
“In the next fifteen years, our City’s older adult population is projected to grow by nearly 40%. Despite this looming demographic change, we’re woefully unprepared to meaningfully meet many of our older neighbors’ material needs,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson, Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Aging. “We have to do all we can to ensure that our communities are responsive to the needs of our aging population today so that we may all age with the care and dignity we deserve tomorrow. I applaud the Office of the Borough President and the New York Academy of Medicine on the release of their recommendations for an Age-friendly Brooklyn, and I look forward to continuing my work alongside the Borough President to ensure all New Yorkers have the opportunity to age in place, with dignity, in the city they call home.”
“We inherited the greatest borough in the greatest city and owe a debt those who built it,” said City Council Member Chi Ossé. “That is a debt of gratitude, but also a debt of resources and equitable investment. We are obligated to provide for our aging community through investment in in spaces and institutions dedicated to their wellbeing. NYAM and the Age-friendly Brooklyn Task Force are providing a path forward for the Borough of Brooklyn, and their recommendations have my full support.”
About The New York Academy of Medicine
The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) is a leading voice for innovation in public health. Throughout its 176-year history, NYAM has uniquely championed bold changes to the systems that perpetuate health inequities and keep all communities from achieving good health. Today, this work includes innovative research, programs and policy initiatives that distinctively value community input for maximum impact. Combined with NYAM’s trusted public programming and historic library, and with the support of esteemed Fellows and Members, NYAM’s Impact as a public health leader continues. To learn more, visit www.nyam.org and follow @NYAMNYC on social media.