By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Community Board 6 hosted its first forum on senior issues at the NYU Medical Center on Monday, September 15. The event was hosted by State Senator Liz Krueger, a senior issues advocate whose office annually puts out the Senior Resource Guide, and panelists who attended included Linda Whitaker from the Department for the Aging, KARPAS Health Information Center director Julie Spillman, OATS and Senior Planet Exploration Center director of programs Kimberly Brennsteiner and Elder Care Giving Senior Care Advisor Joanna Leefer.
The panelists discussed opportunities for seniors and different healthcare options available, as well as some of the problems that seniors might face. Senator Krueger opened the forum with information on one of the issues that some seniors don’t want to talk about because of the stigma: hoarding.
“You’ve lived a long time. You’ve acquired a lot of stuff. But it can be a fire risk and can exacerbate a pest problem,” she said. “The worst calls that we get are from landlords who say they’re going to evict those tenants because it’s a health and safety risk.Our golden rule is to help people keep their homes.”
The senator also discussed the complications of providing healthcare to the rapidly growing senior population in the city.
“We don’t have adequate long-term health care programs and the programs that we do have pay for too little,” she said. “When you’re trying to decide in your 50s what will be good for you, things change by the time you hit your 70s and 80s.”