Senior services on new East Hampton committee's radar
East Hampton officials are bringing together representatives from government and private organizations to examine the services offered to the town's aging population and determine how to make sure programs address future needs.
Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzales, who sponsored a resolution creating a senior services committee, said she acted after learning that nearly 20 percent of the town's year-round population of about 22,000 is at least 65, and that the trend will grow as baby boomers age and require additional town services.
"We want to see what we deliver . . . and see if there are any gaps in services," Burke-Gonzales said after the town board voted 5-0 Thursday night to approve her resolution.
The 2010 U.S. Census showed that 18 percent of East Hampton's year-round population is 65 or older. That is higher than the 13.5 percent average in Suffolk or the 15.3 percent in Nassau.
With little regular public transportation available on the East End, the senior services committee will look at where services are located and, Burke-Gonzales added, check for any duplication of services that can be consolidated.
The committee has an Oct. 1 deadline to complete its work and give the town an assessment of existing services and recommendations for what additional programs are needed.
Burke-Gonzales noted that some town programs for the elderly start with residents who are 60 and older, and include some who are as old as 100. "We span three generations," Burke-Gonzales said.
The committee includes representatives from the YMCA, the East Hampton library and the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation -- which runs a clinic and walk-in center in the area -- as well as the town's recreation supervisor and housing director. It is expected to look at the delivery of services for the elderly in other Long Island towns and across the country to get an idea of what is being done elsewhere that could be emulated in East Hampton.