David Stone
Seniors took the Visiting Nurse Service's AdvantAge Survey in October, last year. The results are in.
Seniors took the Visiting Nurse Service's AdvantAge Survey in October, last year. The results are in.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

The Carter Burden Network, lining up senior needs with those of the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, secured a $55,000 grant from the New York Community Trust to ameliorate the perils of isolation. It's CBN's second big win for seniors after being stiffed by RIOC and the Residents Association Common Council in the hunt for Public Purpose Funds in June.

In securing a grant from the Trust's Katharine A. Park Fund for the Elderly, CBN worked closely with RIDA, and Cornell Tech agreed to participate as well. It's another example of Island community groups working together to synergize for results, a rare occurrence before CBN and Cornell Tech set down roots here.

How CBN isolated the problem...

In October, 2018, the Senior Center hosted the AdvantAge Survey, an initiative of the Visiting Nurse Service designed to discover the most urgent needs of local seniors.

"Roosevelt Island represents a unique community in New York City. Nearly 25% of the population is comprised of individuals over the age of 60 and 31% of seniors have at least one identified disability," CBN found.

"Residents frequently need to leave the Island to obtain necessary goods and services, creating a significant need for expansive and enriching virtual/home-based services that address the physical, emotional, and financial needs of this community, who often face challenges with mobility and leaving their homes."

And responded

"With a $55,000 grant, Carter Burden will test a voice-controlled smart screen that can make video calls, giving homebound older and disabled Roosevelt Island residents a virtual connection to the local senior center. A tech consultant will install each device in the participants’ homes and provide training," the New York Community Trust said in an online article.

And it's not just for seniors.

"The device will also help connect participants to CBN’s and RIDA’s services including virtual case management and presentations. A social media community will be created and moderated to facilitate relationship-building between participants and ongoing discussion after presentations."

To sharpen a focus on results, "Cornell Tech will work to provide the support and expertise of Master’s level students to assist with the development of survey tools, collection of data, data entry, and data analysis to inform on project impact," CBN announced.

"In addition to using established tools like the Quality of Life Scale and General Self-Efficacy Scale, supplemental pre- and post- surveying and interviewing tools will be created to collect data on changes in contacts with friends and family, nutritional and exercise choices, and medication adherence."

Results Matter

The CBN/RIDA team's specific goals point toward identifiable results:

July has seen a remarkable turnaround for the CBN/RI Senior Center after RIOC and the Common Council thumbed their noses at seniors' request for support in June.