RYE, N.Y. -- Betti Weimersheimer sat down for lunch with a group of senior citizens at the American Yacht Club to introduce herself as the executive director of a new organization that helps seniors maintain an independent lifestyle."The majority of older adults want to live in their own homes, " said Weimersheimer, who has spent the last three years advocating for seniors living in retirement communities.SPRYE - Staying Put in Rye and Environs - is a non-profit membership organization that is geared toward providing seniors in Rye, Harrison, Purchase, Port Chester and Rye Brook with basic services such as transportation, grocery delivery and home maintenance.The organization was established in 2010 and plans to begin offering services in September. It is currently fundraising and seeking volunteers.Tom Saunders, president of the board of directors, said SPRYE has raised roughly $100,000 out of $150,000 needed for its operating budget.A membership fee has been tentatively set at $360 per year for individuals and $480 per year for couples.The organization will also host outings and events to provide opportunities for seniors to socialize."The social aspect is very important," said Saunders. "We want people to be able to get out of their homes and not be isolated."
Part of the organizations mission is to create a network of neighbors across generations who can assist and support one another.Rye resident and retired lawyer Ellen Stern, 72, lives with her husband in an apartment co-op and volunteers for Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, which provides legal representation for low-income individuals and families. She said she came to Wednesdays luncheon to learn about volunteer opportunities."Right now, I would like to volunteer," said Stern. "But I know at some point I will need some of their services. That's the way life is."After witnessing cases of elderly abuse and neglect in nursing homes, Weimersheimer sees SPRYE as a positive and uplifting endeavor."This will allow older adults to remain vital and active members of their community," she said.
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