Kittay House celebrates new safety devices

Kittay House residents are going to feel a lot safer when moving around the public areas of the senior independent living facility.

A $642,000 grant from the borough president’s office paid for the installation of a state-of-the-art security system that provides Personal Emergency Response System pendants to all of the residents in the 295-unit senior housing facility run by Jewish Home Lifecare on 2550 Webb Avenue.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s office had already provided funding for a new intercom system that replaced the 40-year-old system installed when the building was originally built.

Residents can roam through common areas like the garden, do arts and crafts in an activity room, or read in the lounge knowing that they now have 24-hour security.

With the push of a button, help can be summoned to anywhere in the building because an electronic signal will be sent to the security console, alerting the security staff to the location and identity of the tenant.

“The pendants were a godsend to our 295 tenants,” said Arlene Richman, director of Kittay House. “It really brings peace of mind. We believe that satisfaction in life comes from being part of a vibrant community, and our goal here is to create an environment where our residents can thrive.”

The help of the borough president was greatly appreciated, Richman said. Bob Rubin, the son of Kittay tenant Edith Rubin, said that the pendants permit the seniors to maintain an active lifestyle while staying safe.

“I knew mom would love the active lifestyle when she moved to Kittay House and now I’m given peace of mind knowing that no mother when or where she is, she’s under a watchful eye, while maintaining her independence,” Rubin said.

Residents recently celebrated that new Personal Emergency Response System by with a choral performance by the Kittay Community Choir, under the direction of Amy Gruszewski.

It featured an original song called “Hail to the Bronx” by resident Sol Levine. Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene was in attendance for the special performance on Friday, May 20.

“It gives people the opportunity to continue to lead productive lives,” Greene said of the new security system. “It enables the residents to go about their lives with less concern about falling or tripping. This is something that we would like to give to every senior citizen in the borough, because it is something that is vitally needed.”

Seniors should be given every opportunity to be as functional as possible, Greene stated. Tenant association president Zelda Fassler, who said that there had been incidents at Kittay House where seniors had fallen in public areas, also had high regards for the new pendants.

“The pendants are really a life-saver,” Fassler said. “Whenever I am out in the building and I see a resident without one I reprimand them, and tell them that we are lucky that we have this system.”

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