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Carrie Bloss: Executive Director of Heights and Hills

Heights and Hills provides a variety of services to older adults and their caregivers in Brooklyn. Heights and Hills promotes successful aging by assisting with case management, food and housing security, companionship, and more. Learn about their important work here!

Can you tell me about the importance of providing resources for older adults?

We were founded in the 1970s by a group of volunteers who became aware of the growing population of older adults who were homebound and didn’t have anyone in their lives to assist them with basic tasks. Over the past five decades, we’ve grown tremendously and now serve about half of Brooklyn. We connect older adults to resources that they may need, and also provide support and referrals for their caregivers. Our services aren’t based on income, they are based on whether a person is able to get their needs met and if they are living within the areas that we cover.

What kinds of programs do you offer?

Our case management program supports 1,200 older adults at any given time. We help connect them to programs like Meals On Wheels and refer them to services that help them maintain their independence as much as possible. Anyone over the age of 60 is able to access our older adults center. The caregiver program supports the family and friend caregivers of older adults. Caregivers can range from small tasks like taking an older adult to appointments and helping them with grocery shopping, to bigger tasks like being a live-in, full time aid. When caregivers need to take care of themselves, we step in to provide information and referrals to ensure they and the older adult they care for are safe and well.

Can you tell me about your volunteer program?

We have a robust volunteer program that included 650 people last year. Our Friendly Visitor Program connects volunteers to an older adult who is looking for companionship. It’s a social visit to help older adults who are mostly homebound have the ability to connect with others. Our volunteers also do grocery shopping, accompany older adults to medical appointments, and even help them learn how to use smartphones. We’re always looking for diverse volunteers, because we want our volunteers to represent the incredibly diverse Brooklyn population that we serve.

What is the best part of your job?

It’s amazing to be able to provide critical support to people when they are in a crisis. We have helped older adults access emergency housing and connected them to vital legal resources to ensure they are safe. Seeing the friendships that form between our volunteers and older adults is beautiful. It’s great that our staff is able to connect with older adults in an authentic way, especially when it comes to serving such a diverse population. When a volunteer or staff member is able to connect with an older adult in their native language or connect with them about cultural topics, it’s really magical.


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