Today’s news:

Garden accents for senior space

Aging in America Community Services recently cut the ribbon on a new senior program facility that has brightened a much-used corner at 1500 Pelham Parkway South.

The AIA Wellness Café, established with the help of a $50,000 grant from Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, will include a number of enjoyable activities aimed at allowing seniors to socialize and enjoy their leisure time to the fullest in a beautiful new space, complete with an outdoor garden patio. 

Rivera, who attended the ribbon cutting with Borough President representative Bob Nolan, 49th Precinct Council President Joe Thompson, AIA staff and local seniors, among others, spoke of the joy to see the allocation she secured go to such a positive cause.

“There is no greater feeling to come back to my district and see how it translates into something like this,” the assemblywoman said, of her funding. 

Henriette Cole, senior vice president of operations for Aging in America, highlighted specific benefits to seniors in this pioneering space. 

“The Pelham Parkway Wellness Café offers an innovative opportunity to address the needs of seniors and disabled adults clients who benefit from traditional day programming while also providing respite to their caregivers,” she stated. 

The Café includes a continental breakfast, hot lunch and afternoon snacks with escorted transportation to and from participants’ homes, among other amenities for seniors. 

 “The Café offers socialization, supervision, camaraderie, and an informal membership in Aging in America’s Continuum of Care should a future health challenge necessitate the need for more, intensive services,” Cole added. 

It will also include a wide variety of programming including group and individual activities, social work services, personal care services, exercise programs, medical and diagnostic services, clinical management, rehabilitative services, educational workshops, escorted trips, music and art programs, and other special events.

“We’re trying to build a family relationship rather than strictly a health care relationship,” said Joe Tomarino, chief nursing officer at Morningside House, which works with AIA in program administration.  “We’re trying to create a homelike environment.”

The new café does just that, creating both a community space and a venue for positive activities for seniors, enabling older persons to maintain their ability to function, remain in their own homes and continue to be involved in community activities. 

Local seniors are thrilled with the renovations. 

“Its absolutely amazing what they did with this place,” said Emma Vernon of Morris Park, a 20 year volunteer and participant in AIA programming.  “It’s amazing compared to what the old, dumpy offices were like.”

Helen Gold, another longtime volunteer and participant, spoke of how she wished her father had been able to have such resources in his last years.

“We didn’t have this for my father, who died when he was 96,” she said.  “To see all the activities they have now - to be able to enjoy them with friends - its wonderful.”

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