PARK SLOPE — It's a neighborhood full of babies, but a fast-growing Park Slope group wants to help people at the other end of life's journey.
The recently launched Good Neighbors of Park Slope has already attracted 250 members age 50 and over who want to join forces so they can "age in place" — live independently in their own homes as long as possible.
On Friday the group will host a workshop at the Park Slope public library to help seniors sign up for the SCRIE program, which freezes rents for tenants age 62 and up who meet certain guidelines.
The workshop is just one facet of Good Neighbors of Park Slope. The group also keeps members informed of aging-related news and events, and it's launched several activity groups, including three book clubs and groups for Scrabble, poker, Tai Chi, eating out, movies and morning walks.
The idea is to help seniors form social bonds — a key aspect of healthy aging, said Joyce Jed, 73, who helped start the group last year.
“Most of our [members] thank goodness at this point are able to take care of ourselves, and we don’t need a lot of concrete help yet, but we believe we will in the future,” Jed said. "We're hoping that people will start to help each other informally and that happens when you know other people and you get to care about other people around you."
Jed grew interested in starting the group after she read about "villages" — seniors who band together to support and help each other in a specific geographic area. She found a group based on that principle nearby, Good Neighbors of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, and its founder connected her with Bob Ohlerking, another Park Slope resident interested in starting a group in Park Slope.
The two reached out to friends who they thought might be interested in forming a "village" and got an enthusiastic response. Good Neighbors of Park Slope held its official launch party in October, and 120 people showed up. Member Lynne Ornstein said attendees didn't want to stop talking to each other at the end of the night.
"I realized that just like teenagers, older people need to be with other older people sometimes," Ornstein said.
Since then the group has swelled to 250 paying members. It's $30 a year for individuals and $50 for households.
The current goals of the nonprofit are to connect seniors with each other and to advocate on issues that affect them, such as the return of the B71 bus and proposed changes at the Seventh Avenue F/G stop. Members also plan to advocate for making Park Slope more senior-friendly, perhaps by adding more street benches or bus shelters.
As the group matures, members hope to help each other live independently so they can avoid ending up in retirement homes.
“Park Slope is such a lovely community, and it’s so easy to get things and get around and have a good quality of life," Jed said. "It would be really great if we could all stay here.”
One way to achieve that goal is to make sure eligible seniors are signed up for SCRIE, the city program that freezes rents for seniors who live in rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartments.
Good Neighbors of Park Slope will host a workshop Friday where volunteers will help people sign up for the program. It's from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Park Slope public library, 431 Sixth Ave., between Eighth and Ninth streets.
"You can't age in place if you can't afford the rent," Ornstein said.