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Princeton Senior Resource Center Comes to the Aid of a Mayor-in-Need

Matthew Hersh

When Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand emerged from foot surgery on July 27, she was placed in a situation that was completely foreign to her: she was immobile.

An avid runner who has completed several marathons, she now could not enjoy so much as a summer evening outside with her husband or a stroll around the block.

"Keeping the weight off my foot was important because this was a whole reconstruction," she said, describing the effects of bunion surgery, which is, essentially, a last option for most people. Many people simply choose to live with the adverse effects because the pain and recovery involved can be debilitating.

She contacted Community Without Walls, a senior transportation service that can serve those with even temporary injuries, and received some welcome advice.

"Someone said 'why don't you call the Senior Resource Center?' because they have equipment for temporary injuries."

And so they do.

Susan Hoskins, executive director of the Princeton Senior Resource Center, said that while they are unable to help everyone, they try to help as many people in need as they can.

"It so happens that we had a wheelchair available when Mayor Marchand needed it, and we were happy to lend it to her," she said.

One of PSRC's goals, she added, was to help people with short term injuries, like the Mayor's.

"We try to connect people who need services and equipment, sometimes long-term and sometimes short-term, with the things that they need," she said. She added that while the center does receive donated equipment that they are able to lend out or give to those who can't afford it, not everyone who inquires will necessarily be able to acquire a piece of equipment immediately.

"We wish we had more storage space so we could do more of that," she said.

However, Ms. Hoskins did emphasize that residents should consider services like the those offered by PSRC and the transit assistance organization Crosstown 62, even if those services are only needed on a temporary basis.

"People think that groups like that are for people who lost their license, but it's for people who simply can't drive. It is the kind of thing that someone like Mayor Marchand can use for a short period of time," she said, adding that organizations like PSRC offer services that are not only for the "frail and elderly," but also for those who are "aging and vital, but sometimes hit bumps in the road."

"There are a lot of people out there who say 'I'm not aging, I'm not elderly, and I'm not old, but I am having knee surgery,' and there are services they can receive," she said.

As for Mayor Marchand, being in a wheelchair has allowed her to see the world from a drastically different vantage point.

"Everyone should experience a situation that gives them a sensitivity to people who have some kind of disability," she said. "Everybody should have a week on crutches at some point in their lives so they never will park in a handicap spot."

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