Love of learning in life’s afternoon

At Home on the Sound members, from left, Saul and Miriam Cohen, and Margaret and Ted Shultz. Courtesy At Home on the Sound.

If you have been fortunate enough to live in the beautiful Sound Shore communities of Larchmont and Mamaroneck for a long time, you probably never want to leave, even as you grow older.

And many senior residents of these two lovely towns have elected to stay right where they are, aided by a vibrant and active organization called At Home on the Sound.

Founded eight years ago, At Home on the Sound has about 200 members and has taken the concept of “aging in place” to a new plane.

“We serve residents who have lived in their towns for 30, 40 or even 50 years and simply do not want to move,” says Elaine Weingarten, the nonprofit’s executive director. “And why should they? The communities are lovely, with beautiful housing, wonderful shopping, networks of friends and family and a convenient location in southern Westchester. The results are overwhelming. People want to stay here.”

The At Home on the Sound concept is based on the successful model created by Beacon Hill Village in Boston. Gramatan Village in Bronxville, Staying Put in New Canaan and At Home in Greenwich are similar organizations active in Westchester and Fairfield.

“Since its inception, At Home on the Sound has been guided by The Center for Aging in Place,” Weingarten says of the countywide organization.

With these concepts in mind, she adds, a group of residents formed a steering committee and created a board of directors in April of 2010.

“Since then our programs have really taken off. They have grown and evolved and now embrace seniors from age 60 up to 98. We even have a 91-year-old yoga instructor, and our goal is to provide an active, mentally and physically healthy lifestyle for our members, with an array of events to keep them happily occupied and connecting with one another.”

Weingarten says the members of At Home on the Sound are deeply rooted in their communities. “About half live in their original homes and the other half in apartments or condos. All live independently and are served by about 100 volunteers, all local people from the communities.”

Her group is proud of what it does and Weingarten provided ample details. “We now have 25 board members and they are entirely devoted to our cause. We try new programs and events all the time and have had great success.”

At Home on the Sound board members, from left, John Bradley, Janet O’Connell, Leslie Molinoff, Simon Marlow, Ellie Fredston and Harmon McAllister. Courtesy At Home on the Sound.

MYRIAD ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES

Members of At Home on the Sound can pick and choose among a long list of interesting and motivating activities.

“Our list is comprehensive and designed to be engaging. If transportation is needed, members have to only contact the office and we will provide them with a ride both to and from. Events are held at different locations in the area.”

The schedule is a full one.

“Twice a month we discuss current events at the Nautilus Diner. We have a special group that explores what it’s like to be 80-plus in today’s world and have major once-a-month trips to New York City and other locations. In January, we went to The Met (Museum).”

At Home on the Sound, at 545 Tompkins Ave. in Mamaroneck, holds monthly luncheons and other restaurant outings. All activities are during daylight hours. “We have a lovely, catered holiday party each year and it feels like one big family. So many of our members have been with us from the beginning and we tend to keep tabs on one another.”

The group is always trying out new things as well as the old and familiar.

“Our basic, overall services include rides to medical, dental, shopping and other appointments, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. We have 100 volunteers to do this. Our service area includes nearby surrounding communities.”

At Home on the Sound mounts an array of social, cultural and educational programs and provides home chore and handyman help. The group makes referrals to social services and continuing care agencies, conducts routine phone checks and offers friendly visits from volunteers as well as technology assistance for all of today’s new, and sometime confusing, digital devices. At the heart of the programming, however, are activities that keep mind and body limber.

“Our regular upcoming programs include movies; language and book groups; current events discussions; mahjong and canasta; volunteer breakfasts; a new memoir writing workshop that started Jan. 25; and ongoing gentle chair yoga.”

At Home on the Sound offers regular men’s discussion groups and will be having a “show and tell” for grownups at the end of February.

“We are attending a special performance by the Larchmont Music Academy faculty and students Feb. 13 and have our monthly Dine About set for DiGiorgio’s Restaurant in New Rochelle for Feb. 21.

“As a special treat for our ‘out and about’ offshoot, we will be traveling to a performance of ‘American Rhapsody, the Gershwin Songbook,’ mounted by the Gershwin Big Band, at the Performing Arts Center of Purchase College at the end of this month (Feb. 25).”

And, looking a bit into the future, the organization is hard at work planning its annual Spring Gala for May 3 at the Hampshire Country Club in Mamaroneck. “This is sure to be a lively and fun-filled event with the chance to network with
our membership.” 

For more, contact Jilana Meter, communications and administration manager for At Home on the Sound, at 914-899-3150 or visit athomeonthesound.org.

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