SHIRLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A movement is happening on Long Island to allow seniors the dignity of spending their retirement years in their own homes.
The United Way is helping some elderly homeowners modify their houses with simple, safe solutions.
CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan introduces us to a Suffolk County couple who are aging in place.
“This home is a blessing to my husband and my family,” said Carolyn King.
When their health slowed them, senior citizens Carolyn and Lorenza King feared they would be forced out of their Shirley home, which they bought with pride three decades ago.
“When I was young I wanted to have a house, a wife, a son. This is my dream, my dream come true,” Lorenza King said.
The retirees on a fixed income reached out to United Way of Long Island, and were elated to learn they qualified for a grant to help modify their home to keep them safe.
“I have 19 screws in two places in my ankle and leg. And the grab bars when I get in and out of the tub, it’s a big help,” Carolyn said.
“Aging in place is not a new concept. A lot of cultures value their seniors. Living out their golden years in the home is what they prefer,” said Rick Wertheim of United Way of Long Island.
Studies have examined the psychological and physical strain when seniors are told they must move out of their homes: Effects on heart health. blood pressure. causing depression and anxiety
“We don’t really value what it is that dignity means to a family,” Wertheim said.
So with this federal grant, low income senior homeowners are eligible for grab bars, railings, non-slip strips, ramps, chair lifts. The Kings got a medical grade air purifier for Lorenza’s lymphoma.
“We have been blessed with great neighbors. This is our home. To lose it would just be devastating,” Carolyn said.
Especially because their only child, Lorenza, Jr., has special needs, and they care for him at home.
“He couldn’t make it on his own, so this would be a safe haven for him,” Carolyn said.
A safe dwelling for their son, and peace of mind for Carolyn and Lorenza.