According to the city’s Department for the Aging, the number of seniors is projected to increase to 1.84 million, by 2030, making it the fastest-growing age group in New York. That means, by 2030, one in every five New Yorkers will be over the age of 65. A recent U.S. Census Bureau report shows that almost 20 percent of elderly New Yorkers currently live below the poverty line.
Taking care of the growing senior population and giving them access to affordable housing and good nutrition are priorities for New York City’s Department for the Aging Commissioner Donna M. Corrado. “Aging is on everyone else’s agenda, not just the Department for the Aging,” she said. In his Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio put aside $2.6 million to help more seniors stay in their communities and get access to home-delivered meals and in-home care, among other programs.
But the senior population demographic is also changing. A 2013 report by the Center for an Urban Future reported 46 percent of New York City’s older population as immigrants. Nearly two-thirds of that group have limited proficiency in English. “It’s not like it was ten years ago. We have other populations moving into the city,” Corrado said. “We now have to develop that cultural sensitivity.”
Corrado worked at Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services, a social services organization in New York, for 22 years helping people and seniors in need. But now as commissioner of the Department for the Aging, “you have the resources of the city, you have other city departments to help you…we have an administration that really cares about seniors,” Corrado said. “I feel like I have many, many partners to help us meet our agenda.”