2006-05-12 / Columnists

Chatting with Chapey

Dr. Geraldine ChapeyDr. Geraldine Chapey

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader

Join Us At The Trinity Luncheon, June 1

Please join Chapey's Trinity Services on Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 12 Noon at Russo's on the Bay in Howard Beach. The purpose of the luncheon is to raise funds for our van transportation program, which transports groups of 10 to 14 seniors and youth on group trips.

Our congressional district and in fact all of the U. S. is experiencing an aging tsunami. Each day in 2006 - 7,919 people in the United States are turning 60 years of age. A baby boomer turns 50 every 7.6 seconds. As these baby boomers turn 60 and retire many of them are enjoying the company of their parents. This is the first generation that has had the benefit of this longevity.

In a Wall Street Journal article last Saturday, May 6, 2006, entitled "Staying Put at 96," Lucette Lagnado points out that the way America cares for its seniors dates back to the 1960's with the creation of Medicare and Medicaid - the federal and state programs that insure our elders and our poor. These programs are essential but their view is only one of long term care. According to Frieda Vladick, the Director of the Aging in Place initiative at the United Hospital Fund, a research group that studies health issues - "we keep talking about long term care when we need to be talking about long term living." The fastest growing population people 85 and over. The greatest achievement of the 20th Century is survival. The challenge of today is to ensure the quality of life for all seniors.

The 2000 census figures show that 22% of the seniors in our catchment area are living at or below the poverty level. Other seniors exist just above the poverty level and may in fact be "house poor" - that is, they own a house but pay their bills with only their limited social security income. The majority of our seniors are widows who live alone without the support of a multigenerational family.

Today, seniors want and need to substitute new involvements and new friends for the roles that they lose through retirement or advanced age. It may be that the constraints of a fixed income or a physical impairment keep an older person inactive but when social policy and social support networks such as the Trinity Van Transportation Program are available to help, the individual can overcome these difficulties.

Seniors, as do other age groups, enjoy spending time with their peers. On the van everyone has an opportunity to talk with their friends. They can enjoy the scenery while conversing about their trip and as the Greyhound slogan goes - "leave the driving to us." Transportation is the tie that binds. Safe and reliable senior transportation builds stronger connected communities. Studies have shown that next to health, transportation is the most important issue for seniors. Transportation is a life link. It allows people to maintain their quality of life by continuing to live independently. As we all know, public transportation is geared to commuters and not to seniors.

The Trinity Senior Van Program provides a unique group transportation program for seniors tailored to enhance their quality of life and to promote the independence of persons 60 or over. The Trinity Program fills the void by providing safe, secure, flexible and responsive modes of group van travel. It provides a means of allowing well seniors to be productively involved in their communities and in our city. This program builds stronger connected communities.

The unique feature of our program is that seniors enjoy having convenient and fun ways to get where they want to go. They meet new and old friends, experience new places and things, pursue old hobbies and learn new ones, become and stay physically active, contribute to the community and take care of personal business with our adaptable senior transportation. Senior transportation is a two way street - it involves getting seniors to services and to life.

The Trinity program recognizes the importance of the five criteria established by the AAA foundation for senior friendly transportation - availability, accessibility, acceptability, affordability and adaptability.

So - please join us on Thursday, June 1, 2006 at Russo's on the Bay in Howard Beach at 12 Noon for lunch. Call Geraldine or Stella at (718) 474-1641 for tickets.

Help us to continue to provide these important and vital services for our seniors and youth.

Come and bring your friends.

Join us and have a wonderful time in a fantastic place while raising funds for a very important cause.

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