A whole new village is blossoming within Rhinebeck.
Rhinebeck@Home (www.rhinebeckathome.org) is being welcomed by those of retirement age and their families who are planning for a safe and pleasant future they can enjoy in their own homes. As part of an established international network known as Village to Village (www.vtvnetwork.org), their goal is to implement social support programs and coordinate access to affordable, reliable services such as transportation, in-home services, and opportunities to attend cultural events. The key to achieving this is creating a cooperative arrangement that fosters mutual support for all of the members through enabling information-sharing, communication, and interaction.
“I am committed to make this happen,” said Nina Lynch, president of the Rhinebeck@Home board of directors. “I worked at the Dutchess County Office for the Aging, so I have maybe more than the average person’s awareness of the kinds of issues that come up for families.”
When a group started in Poughkeepsie – Hudson Valley Home Matters – Lynch and others went to some of their beginning meetings and thought it was ideal for the Town of Rhinebeck also. “We invited folks from their organizing group to a public meeting,” Lynch said.
Surveys were taken in Rhinebeck in 2005 and 2009 about the “aging in place” concept to learn if people found that interesting, and more than 75 people responded positively.
Linda Stanley serves as the group’s Treasurer. She and her husband have lived in Rhinebeck since 1993 and been very involved with such area landmarks as Wilderstein and the Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market.
“We went to early meetings for RAH, having read about the Aging in Place concept in the New York Times for years. We both think it’s a really great idea, and we would like to be involved. It seems to be happening. I am very encouraged,” Stanley said.
Ellen Hubbard is the group’s secretary and she has lived in Rhinebeck since she was 12 years old. “I taught elementary school in Rhinebeck for 30 years. I’m retired now, and I was able to assist another retired teacher who had no immediate family living nearby. So many families are scattered around the country, even around the globe. You could hire people to help, but they might not be connected to the community,” she said.
Monthly membership get-togethers are organized to discuss RAH operations and future. In December, approximately 30 members attended a festive “Dessert Swap” at the Church of the Messiah parish hall, with representatives of the Rhinebeck Bank presenting hats, keychains, a gift basket for raffle, and mostly support.
Frank Koechlein, the bank’s senior vice president of marketing, explained the bank’s involvement.
“Rhinebeck Bank works with many local non-profit organizations. Rhinebeck@Home, is an organization that came to our attention and we wanted to help them with their holiday event, by contributing some promotional items and to help them design the event poster and invitation. We believe that as we help our community prosper, we prosper as well,” he said.
The big news at the December meeting was the announcement that $5,000 had been received from the Frost Memorial Fund (a private foundation that awards grants to non-profit organizations, with particular attention to charities in the Village and Town of Rhinebeck) and that a 501(c)(3) application is being prepared to enable future fundraising. Members have been especially appreciative of the support and guidance of the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley (www.cfhvny.org), through which they are now able to accept tax-deductible donations.
Although members pay an annual fee of $120, additional funding is necessary for expenses such as liability insurance, 501(c)(3) filing, marketing, and general office maintenance. Their office space is located in the Center for Healthy Aging at 6511 Springbrook Ave., where Dr. Jody Friedman and social worker Allison Gould have also been extremely supportive.
The next Rhinebeck@Home meeting will be a lunch on Thurs., Jan. 10 at the Church of the Messiah parish hall. Regular monthly get-together meetings are scheduled for the second Thursday of each month.
P.O. Box 437