FROM THIS BOOK
How to Help Seniors Who Are New to the Area
Remember when you just moved and everything in the neighborhood was a mystery? Being new to your surroundings, especially if you have mobility issues, can naturally increase the likelihood of social isolation.
Keep track of where new residents are coming from. Are they moving from a different city, state, or country? Do they have family or friends nearby?
Create a booklet for new residents that lists various grocery stores, restaurants, shopping centers, religious services, and other services nearby. Provide information on how to get to these places. Maps of the area, along with public transportation information, can be critical in connecting seniors to their communities. Providing such information allows residents to feel independent.
Establish a welcome committee at your site. They offer a good opportunity for long-term residents to enjoy a more active role in the community. Provide new residents with a contact person they can call on for help in navigating the new environment.
Make sure new residents know they are welcome at the coffee hour and other gatherings. It can be intimidating to think about joining a group of people who already know one another well. Be very clear that it is in no way an intrusion by saying, “We love having new faces at the group.”
If residents are concerned about neighborhood safety, organize a meeting during which they can raise safety concerns and ask questions. Invite the local police or any community policing group to attend. Encourage concerned residents to join a neighborhood watch group.
Help residents fill out and send in their updated voter registration forms.
About the Author
Patricia Connolly Osage
Patricia Connolly Osage has been the Director of Resident Services for six years at Satellite Housing in Berkeley, CA. Satellite is a 45-year old non-profit development agency providing affordable, service-enriched housing to the region’s lowest income seniors.
Satellite Housing has won awards for its housing design for deaf seniors as well as for its sustainable building practices. Its portfolio consists of twenty-five affordable housing communities that serve approximately 1,650 people in beautiful, affordable apartments across the San Francisco East Bay.
In total Patricia has worked for over 22 years in various human service capacities including two years working in a primary health care clinic in Yemen. She has done direct case management for a number of different demographic and special need groups and ran the services department at the Tenderloin Housing Clinic in San Francisco just before coming to Satellite. She is an expert in the field of supportive services for formerly homeless adults and low-income seniors and frequently provides national and local presentations on topics related to best practices within these service fields.
In her current position, Patricia runs Satellite Housing’s large services department that consists of three major components: wheelchair accessible transit, (non-clinical) case management, and activities programming. She has developed expansive programs within both civic engagement and intergenerationally-based contexts to provide low income seniors with a wide range of opportunities for involvement with their community.
With her staff, Patricia collaboratively developed a unique logic model with the three intermediate goals for seniors of Optimum Health, Financial Stability, and Individual Well Being/Purposeful Living. The long term goal that encompasses all three: is that seniors are able to not only age in place, but to also thrive in their community.