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CBN fights senior loneliness


CBN fights senior loneliness with a new grant. The grant helps the Carter Burden Network tackle the major challenges of old age. The Roosevelt Island Disabled Association partners with them.

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On Friday, August 23rd, the Carter Burden Network announced a new program that tackles the problem of elderly isolation.

Related: CCNYC Grants for Community Groups

“We were able to make this grant because New Yorkers create permanent charitable funds with us. One donor, Katharine Park, started a fund by will dedicated to curbing loneliness among older adults,” said Rachel Pardoe, The New York Community Trust’s program officer overseeing grant-making for the elderly.

“We think Katharine would be thrilled with how we’re putting her generosity to use, given to us more than 35 years ago.”

Carter Burden, a progressive New York City politician, founded CBN in 1971. He saw a need while serving as a City Council Member and set up the first senior center .

CBN executive director Bill Dionne said, “We are so grateful to The New York Community Trust for its long-standing commitment to populations with special needs and look forward to working side-by-side with Roosevelt Island Disabled Association.

“With the power of technology, we hope to improve participants’ quality of life by increasing their access to critically needed services; enhancing their social connectedness; improving their adherence to medication, exercise, and healthy food choices; and improving their self-efficacy – which is vital at any age.”

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CBN and RIDA: Taking on the challenge

“Nearly 25 percent of Roosevelt Island’s residents are over the age of 60 and 31 percent of seniors have at least one identified disability,” CBN said in a press release.

“We are thrilled to, once again, collaborate with the Carter Burden Network in an important effort to enhance services to those individuals who have been unable to partake in many of our community’s services in the past,” added Wendy L. Hersh, MA, CRC, LMHC, Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, New York State Education Department- ACCES-VR, and President of Roosevelt Island Disabled Association.

Older New Yorkers deal with limited mobility, isolation and loneliness, CBN noted.

Limitations include dexterity, memory and experience with technology.

The two-year, $55,000 grant from The New York Community Trust improves access to services, independence and social connectedness for some of Roosevelt Island’s most vulnerable citizens.

Amazon Echo Show technology is the foundation for the program.

“CBN and RIDA will provide smart screen devices to 40 homebound seniors and individuals with disabilities who live on Roosevelt Island,” CBN explained.

Heres what they get…

  • Hands-free video calling
  • Voice-controlled reminders and timers — particularly important for medication adherence
  • Voice controlled online research
  • Guided meditation and games/exercises for cognitive function
  • Social media
  • Access to CBN’s and RIDA’s services
  • Ability to make appointments with CBN case managers 
  • CBN’s calendar of events
  • Access to music, movies, books and news
  • Tailored exercise programs for those with limited mobility
  • Access to telehealth appointments/services
  • Access to healthy recipe videos

CBN fights senior loneliness against the grain

CBN’s grant-winning prowess is especially notable in light of lagging local support for seniors. Capturing resources from outside the community brings in crucial program support.

CBN and RIDA will collaborate with Cornell University Tech for the evaluation phase of the project.


  1. As a Single Senior struggling to keep up with the new technology, while dealing with a deteriorating eyesight condition on account of a detached retina,I do occasionally feel isolated, and overwhelmed, and therefore appreciate the effort that CBN is making to alleviate the issue of loneliness among Seniors on Roosevelt Island. I am also grateful that the Roosevelt Island Daily News is reporting on this subject.

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