More on Mae...
As Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services since 2001, she keeps in mind the fact that nearly 60% of Westchester residents over age 65 are women -- and in that age group, almost three times as many women live alone than men.
Mae Carpenter listens to the needs of older women and takes action to make their lives healthier, safer and happier. As Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services since 2001, she keeps in mind the fact that nearly 60% of Westchester residents over age 65 are women -- and in that age group, almost three times as many women live alone than men. Mae creates programs to keep older women, and men, socially engaged and of aware of the many health nutrition, and educational opportunities available in our county.
Mae began her career in county government as the Director of the Office for the Aging in 1979. However, she advocated for a stronger voice for seniors and succeeded in establishing the first Department of Senior Programs and Services in the county and was appointed as its first commissioner in 2001. The Department is also the federal and state designated Area Agency on Aging. Prior to moving to Westchester, Mae worked during the reign of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson as a legislative assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1963-67, where she handled legislative and constituent matters.
Aware that women are the main caregivers in a family, in November 2013 Mae testified before a panel of congressional staff members in the capitol about what Westchester has done to meet the urgent need for family caregivers for the growing number of seniors in the county. She also testified about what still must be accomplished in coming years as the number of older Americans continues to grow and the number of available family caregivers becomes fewer and fewer. Mae created caregiver support services and training through a “Care Circles” program available throughout Westchester.
Mae brought the concept of Livable Communities to Westchester in the early 2000’s, long before it began sweeping the nation as the best way people of all ages and abilities can live active lives with independence and dignity as they age in their homes. In fact, Westchester County was one of the first seven areas nationwide that AARP named to its “Network of Age-Friendly Communities.” Because of this designation, Westchester has access to resources from the United Nations’ World Health Organization’s “Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.” Key features of livable communities are informal services provided by volunteers such as health and wellness programs, education and cultural events, safety, consumer protection and advocacy for affordable housing and safe sidewalks and roads.
Commissioner Carpenter was a delegate to the National White House Conference on Aging in 1981, 1995 and 2005. Resolutions she helped to develop at the 2005 conference have contributed to setting the national agenda for older Americans through 2015, including the resolution on the need for livable communities.
Under Mae’s leadership, in 2010 the Department of Senior Programs won two International Livable Communities Awards in the United Nations-endorsed worldwide competition in areas that promote “best practices” such as sustaining communities, promoting healthy lifestyles and planning for the future. In 2008 Mae received the American Society on Aging’s ASA Award, which had traditionally been presented to a person on the national level for outstanding contributions to aging-related services and advocacy. Mae was the first recipient on the local level to be honored.
Mae has lived in Westchester for over 40 years with her husband Robert. They raised their daughter here who recently blessed them with their most valued new title – that of grandparents. When she’s not in the community or on the road advocating for older Americans, you can find Mae on the computer Skyping with her Grandson Luke in California.