Greenport is home to a large population of seniors and will soon be home to a new partnership designed specifically to bring a set of free services — ranging from medical to social to transportation — closer to them.
Family Service League, a Huntington-based social service agency, is partnering with Southold Town and Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital for the Long Island Sound Senior Care program.
The program received about $1 million total in funding from the New York State Office for the Aging for the next five years and is looking for feedback from Greenport seniors on what kinds of services they need.
Of Greenport's 829 households, 388, or 46.8 percent, are occupied by seniors who are 60 or older, according to data from the 2017 version of the American Community Survey. As a result, the village qualifies as a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community, a state program that provides support services for elderly residents in either building complexes or residential areas with single-family homes. That qualification helped the partnership secure the state funding.
Though Southold provides senior services such as Meals on Wheels and adult day care, Karen McLaughlin, Southold's director of human services, said town officials found that Greenport had more cases of seniors living in either isolated conditions or without proper access to critical services such as transportation.
“There are certain areas in Greenport where we know there’s a greater need,” McLaughlin said. For that reason, she said the collaboration with the agency and the hospital will help provide more resources for seniors in a way where “we can really make a difference.”
Kathy Rosenthal, senior vice president of programs for Family Service League, said in an interview that the partnership’s new program will focus on providing a safety net for Greenport seniors. That net consists of free services that could range from assistance in accessing health care and social service systems, to offering transportation to social and recreational activities within the village, such as movie nights, book clubs and support services such as bereavement groups.
“As seniors age in place . . . some seniors may not be able to drive on their own, so getting to and from critical things like medical appointments, the pharmacy and food shopping all become challenges,” Rosenthal said. “This model is one where you identify the spokes and tighten them so we can keep those seniors safely and with dignity in their community.”
Family Service League representatives presented more information about the program to the village's board of trustees at their July 25 meeting.
Mayor George Hubbard called it “a very interesting program” and added the village would be “more than willing” to provide assistance to the program “in any way we can to help the elderly.”
About the senior program
- Currently, 2 1/2 staff members for Long Island Sound Senior Care have been hired through grant funding and are spreading word of the program through flyers and direct mailings to seniors. The partnership is still conducting needs assessments for seniors in the area and is planning to set up an advisory committee for the program later this summer.
- If the program succeeds, Kathy Rosenthal, senior vice president of programs for Family Service League, said similar services for seniors could be expanded in the coming years to areas such as Orient and Marion, where she said there were also “significant” senior population numbers.
- Southold applied several years ago for a Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities grant for senior services through New York State, but its request fell through because paperwork was sent to the wrong state office, according to officials with the partnership.
- Residents interested in learning more about the program or giving feedback on services that are needed can contact project representatives at 631-333-2837.