A BETTER WAY TO AGE, IN A SMALL TOWN KNOWN AS THE UPPER WEST SIDE

By Harriet Flehinger

Aging In Place is a key buzzword of the Baby Boom generation. This is especially true of urban areas where it is possible to live without a car, and in certain large buildings which have been dubbed NORCs (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities.)

A friend of mine recently suggested she would rather “Age in Action” while Aging in Place on the Upper West Side. I liked the sound of that, and that’s why I’m writing a column for the West Side Rag about aging in action in the neighborhood.

Why uproot ourselves and move to a 55-plus community in the middle of nowhere when the Upper West Side is the best and most diverse community in which to age-in-place? Everything is available at the tips of our fingers (and the ends of our toes, as we walk the streets).

How totally green of us! New Yorkers know that city living has been the “green” alternative long before that word was invented. We live in smaller spaces; our “stacked” living arrangements make more efficient use of heat. We don’t require an internal combustion engine to pick up a quart of milk.

In times past, a sense of community was created in small towns, where we knew our neighbors and we knew our merchants. People from outside New York rarely know that we can live a small town life right here. Stroll two gorgeous parks; attend free or inexpensive concerts and theater. Walk to the library. Take a bus or subway to health care appointments.

The Upper West Side, like many New York neighborhoods, is a small town in microcosm. Most of us walk or take public transportation. We live in closer proximity to our neighbors than suburban or rural residents.

For many of us, our “real” families are often scattered far away. We may live alone, by choice or by circumstance. We have an opportunity to create “families of choice.” Talk to someone in your building today. Get to know a new person. Not everyone will become your new best friend. However, well-being is closely tied to connectedness. 20-somethings are connected through social networks. The older generation prefers face-to-face interaction. Have lunch with someone. Make a phone call and make plans.

The Upper West Side is among the most diverse neighborhoods in Manhattan, with a variety of socioeconomic levels as well as a diversity of races and cultures. Love living in the midst of one of the richest, most varied atmospheres in the United States? My columns will address issues for “active seniors” (yes, I hate that word too) in one of the greatest “small towns” in America, the Upper West Side.

Photo by Phil Photostream via flickr.

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    1. John H says:

      I believe “Aging in Action” complements, overlaps, mutually reinforces, “Aging in Place”; so, I just tweeted about your new column:

      “Harriet Flehinger just started her new column ‘Aging In Action’ that complements the “Aging in Place” movement. ^JH”

      See our LiLY Twitter Badge link: on the left.

      I hope you can come the our Panel Discussion that LiLY (Lifeforce in Later Years) and St. Luke’s is holding tomorrow, on Wednesday, June 8, 2011, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.

      To see the flyer click this link . For a Google Map, click . For a Bing Map, click .

    2. John H says:

      (All the web addresses disappeared from my first comment; so I’m trying again. I hope they stay visible.)

      I believe “Aging in Action” complements, overlaps, mutually reinforces, “Aging in Place”; so, I just tweeted about your new column:

      “Harriet Flehinger just started her new column ‘Aging In Action’ http://bit.ly/kPQCgz that complements the “Aging in Place” movement. ^JH”

      See our LiLY Twitter Badge by using this web address: http://bit.ly/jvQREC on the left.

      I hope you can come the our Panel Discussion that LiLY (Lifeforce in Later Years) and St. Luke’s is holding tomorrow, on Wednesday, June 8, 2011, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.

      To see the flyer use this web address http://bit.ly/ioQBw4. For a Google Map, use the web address http://bit.ly/cn5JwJ. For a Bing Map, use the web address http://binged.it/b39aG1.

    3. love your column and look forward to hearing more about aging in action on the uws!

    4. Ilse Falcone says:

      Harriet, enjoyed reading your column 3000 miles from the UWS. Only the other day I was telling my friends here in Austria about the great neighborhood I live in.
      Good job!