Project In Fort Greene, Clinton Hill Aimed At Keeping Seniors Independent

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A program in Brooklyn is being touted by organizers as a win-win for seniors and for kids in need of a grandparent figure.

As CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reported, a rent-a-granny program is gaining steam in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.

Baby Mei is just 6 weeks old and her grandmother will soon head home to Japan.

But Mei’s mom said she loves the idea of the program.

“I think it’s great because my mom lives all the way in Japan and she can’t just fly over whenever I need help,” Kumiko Reinhardt told Hsu.

Seniors involved in the so-called Geezer Project said it benefits all parties.

“Everybody has a lot to teach each generation and I can learn a lot from younger people,” Patricia duBose, 67, told Hsu.

The project in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill is aimed at bringing the community together to help seniors.

Beverly Emmons says it’s a dignified way for seniors to get the help they need and for volunteers to channel their enthusiasm.

So far, 70 volunteers have signed up and once the group launches, members would pay a monthly fee for access to all sorts of services that many seniors need.

“Pet care, grocery shopping with or without you, home repair support, snow removal, gardening,” Emmons said.

The goal is for seniors to be able to live out their lives at home instead of becoming isolated as they grow older.

Barbara Plimpton knows the pain of having to move her parents to a nursing facility.

“They just went downhill so fast when they weren’t where their friends were, they weren’t where they had any agency over their own lives in the same way,” she told Hsu.

Hyacinth Graham, 83, says it’s about time New Yorkers slow down and work together, similar to a village where everyone takes care of each other.

“The older people are cooking, the children are running around. And so if you need something on an emergency basis, there’s someone who’s there to help you,” she said.

Similar groups have been forming throughout the country. The Brooklyn Geezer Project is hoping to launch in the next few months.

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