Seniors love living in Westchester County. Yet many are also alarmed that the cost of doing so may be too much to bear. Yesterday, I stopped by the Dobbs Ferry Senior Center during their Seniors Week festivities to address these fears and uncover other concerns.
One thing I hear again and again is that seniors are afraid of being priced out of their homes because taxes are just too high. I know that for many, property taxes are higher than their mortgages ever were. That’s one critical reason why I have been working so hard to lower taxes. Lower taxes help all property owners, especially seniors living on fixed incomes. After my first two years in office, I am proud to say, the county tax levy is down 2 percent. And I pledged not to raise county taxes next year. I am committed to helping seniors stay in the homes that they love and that they have worked their entire lives to own.
And keeping seniors in their homes goes beyond finances. As they age, they need help with the chores of day to day living, cooking, going grocery shopping, managing medications and even picking up the mail.
That is where the county’s award-winning Living Communities initiative comes in. Run by the Department of Senior Programs and Services, the idea is simple: neighbors helping neighbors. Thanks to hundreds of volunteers, seniors are better able to remain in their homes and continue to lead productive and independent lives. If you are interested in volunteering, call (914) 813-6408 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Westchester’s seniors department is also in the midst of conducting its signature 2012 initiative: the Elder Economic Security Survey. Designed for county residents age 60 and older, the anonymous survey will help determine whether seniors have sufficient income to pay for their basic living needs, including food, transportation, health care insurance, and housing.
You may complete the survey by going to this site: www.westchestergov.com/seniors. Seniors have until the end of 2012 to take the survey; results will be tallied and compiled by zip code in 2013 to create a portrait of economic security among Westchester’s seniors. The county will share its findings with the public as well as with service providers, senior advocates, and policymakers.
I had a great time visiting the Dobbs Ferry Senior Center. In addition to talking with seniors, I met some great kids from St. Christopher’s who were volunteering their time for the event. I have posted some pictures from my visit to share with you.
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