Friday, 12 February 2010 00:00
As North Hempstead’s “aging in place” initiative, Project Independence, garners flattering, town-wide testimonials from seniors, Supervisor Jon Kaiman and the North Hempstead Town Board announced a new component of the ground-breaking effort: a transportation program that will provide participants with taxi rides at nominal costs to and from medical visits beginning April 1, 2010.
“In its relatively short life, Project Independence has already brought peace of mind to scores of families by helping senior relatives continue to live safely and independently in the community of their choice by giving them access to an array of services,” Supervisor Kaiman said. “Adding this medical transportation component will only enhance an already remarkable program.”
The non-emergency medical transportation program, which is funded by a grant from State Senator Craig Johnson, will provide participants with transportation to and from doctors, dentists and outpatient treatment appointments.
“This will improve an already great program that has helped many North Hempstead seniors continue to live independently and with dignity in their own homes,” said Senator Craig M. Johnson. “I’m proud to have secured the funding that allows Supervisor Kaiman and the Town Board to expand this very important initiative.”
“Many seniors are living on fixed incomes and the cost of transportation may be the deciding factor when choosing to go to the doctor or skipping a check-up,” Town Clerk Leslie Gross said, adding, “This initiative goes a long way to ensure that they never have to choose.”
Councilwoman Maria-Christina Poons, who represents areas of Manhasset and Great Neck, commented, “I am delighted to see the town provide more affordable transportation for seniors to and from medical appointments. With less to live on, it will ease their financial burdens.”
Supervisor Kaiman also announced the continuation and town-wide expansion of the popular Shopping Transportation Initiative which will begin Feb. 16.
With North Hempstead’s senior population growing—residents aged 75-84 increased 40 percent while those older than 85 increased 60 percent according to the last national census—the town developed Project Independence to help support and empower seniors by providing an array of services through partnerships with government, service providers, businesses and the local community.
Presently, Project Independence operates from three sites within the town, New Hyde Park, the Great Neck Senior Center and the Port Washington Senior Center. The long-term plan is to establish a total of eight locations throughout the Town.
The program is staffed to respond to requests for assistance ranging from blood pressure or diabetes screening to information on health and fitness, support groups and counseling. Community-based education seminars, volunteer opportunities and other services are also available.
Project Independence is linked to North Hempstead’s 311 Call Center, giving seniors, or their family members or friends the assurance that when they call, their questions or concerns will be promptly and personally addressed by the Project Independence staff of nurses, social workers, and community advocates. These professional staffers are in touch with a vast network of agencies, businesses and other institutions within the town which stand ready to offer assistance.
The Project Independent staff works with and is in close contact with community-based advisory councils in each program location and with our health care partner, North Shore/LIJ, and several social service partners.