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Record Numbers Attend 2nd Regional Conference on Aging in Place in Suburbia by North Hempstead’s Project Independence

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Record Numbers Attend 2nd Regional Conference on Aging in Place in Suburbia by North Hempstead’s Project Independence 

Westbury, NY
–Supervisor Jon Kaiman, North Hempstead’s Aging in Place initiative Project Independence, and the North Hempstead Town Board welcomed a record-breaking crowd to the recent Second Regional Conference & Expo focused on helping seniors age in place and using technology to enhance their everyday lives.

Held August 21st at the “Yes We Can” Community in Westbury, the symposium, ‘Aging in Place in Suburbia: Living Better With Technology,’ drew upwards of 1,000 attendees, including scores of health care, and wellness providers of senior services.

The conference focused on using technology to enhance the lives of the burgeoning population of aging Americans, 90% of whom, according to an AARP survey, wish to remain in their own homes as they grow older.

It was co-sponsored by Hofstra University’s National Center for Suburban Studies and North Shore LIJ Health Systems.

“This is the beginning of something that promises to grow in this country,” Supervisor Kaiman said in his address overviewing Project Independence. “Project Independence is an investment into the people who, through hard work and dedication helped build our communities. I thank all of you who helped make Project Independence the success it has become.”

Along with Supervisor Kaiman, the panel of speakers for the day-long event comprised of several advocates for Project Independence who have been working in partnership with the Town for several years to improve and expand the program. They included Lawrence Levy, Executive Dean, National Center for Suburban Studies, Dr., Jacqueline Moline, who delivered the greetings for Michael Dowling, President and CEO of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, Dr. Marc Silver, Chair of the Department of Sociology at Hofstra and keynote speaker, Congressman Steve Israel.

In their talks, each of the panelists pointed to a trend that overwhelmingly supports the need for programs like Project Independence and cast the backdrop for the conference; the skyrocketing increase of the 65 and older population. In a development Dr. Molone said experts are referring to as the “Age Tsunami,” it is predicted that by 2020, the number of older adults in the US will increase by 300%. Dr. Molone, who practices at North Shore LIJ, also noted that in the LIJ Health System’s service area alone, the population of 65-plus is projected to grow by 14% percent in the next three years.

Supervisor Kaiman created Project Independence four years ago after observing that the reach of the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) that existed in the Town at the time needed to be broadened.

By simply dialing 311, a resident can connect with a Project Independence staffer, who will help them find answers to a particular question, track down information or tap into valuable services such as health screenings, immunizations and information about managing medications. Project Independence, with offices in six Town locations, also offers caregiver support, social and recreational activities, support groups for those coping with illness, depression or loss, as well as volunteer opportunities.

Right now, services like these as well as more intricate procedures will be delivered through technological innovation like video chat and telemedicine, Congressman Israel noted. “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped,’ the Congressman said, quoting former U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

In addition to the more than 200 health care industry providers on hand at the conference to provide information, attendees were also treated to four breakout technology sessions focusing on Healthcare, Social Media, Safety and Transportation/Mobility Management. There was also computer and iPad training all day, as well as Zumba, Wii Fitness and training on a Virtual Health website.

For the digitally-challenged, Abby Stokes, the author of “Is this Thing on?”, A Computer Handbook for Late Bloomers and Technophobes led a session on Basic Computing. “I want people to know about technology so they can have the option of using it or not using it,” she said.

Other public officials who attended the conference included Nassau County Legislators Judi Bosworth and Wayne Wink, New York State Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and North Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Charles Berman.

Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth speaks with conference attendees as they enjoy their free lunch.

Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman addresses the crowd as U.S. Congressman Steve Israel (right) looks on.

U.S. Congressman Steve Israel delivers his keynote address.

From left, County Legislator Wayne Wink and Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman speak with a group of seniors.

North Hempstead Information Technology Commissioner Frank Prisciandaro gives Computer Training.

Seniors play Wii Fitness.
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