New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is turning his attention to his city’s rapidly aging senior centers. According to a recent article in the New York Times, Mayor Bloomberg is “seeking to bring his business-minded, results-based approach” to help modernize “senior centers” and prepare for a “projected 46 percent surge over the next 25 years of people over 60 years old, New York City’s fastest growing demographic”.
The New York Times goes on:
“Mr. Bloomberg has indicated that he sees the city’s sprawling array of 329 often homespun senior centers as inefficient and outdated.
“So for the first time, senior centers, which are typically tucked into churches or housing projects and locally run, must submit plans for more health, education and culture programs to bolster dwindling attendance. The centers will also be evaluated — and potentially penalized by having funds taken away — based on performance measures.
“At the same time, to streamline operations, the mayor is reducing the number of centers that provide case managers, the workers who guide the elderly through everyday tasks that can range from making medical appointments to filling out tax forms.”
Mayor Bloomberg’s plan is not without its critics however, who claim that the “plan is a clunky one-size-fits-all mathematical exercise that favors numbers over people, standardization over local quirks. And it reinforces a view, they said, of Mr. Bloomberg as an out-of-touch billionaire who does not fully grasp that the current community-based system is exactly what makes New York so, well, New York.
However, according to The New York Times, even most of the plan’s critics are willing to concede that Bloomberg deserves credit for at least trying to prepare for future strains on New York’s senior centers. And everyone agrees that the city has a responsibility to help care for its older citizens and that something has to be done to better manage New York City’s coming “Grey Wave”.
But that question, as always, is “what should be done”? We’ll stay on this one and see what happens.