An Advocate for Elders to the Last Breath

By Brown, Maria; Kingson, Eric | Aging Today, January/February 2005 | Go to article overview

An Advocate for Elders to the Last Breath


Brown, Maria, Kingson, Eric, Aging Today


New York's Rose Kryzak

To The Last Breath: Rose Kryzak and the Senior Action Movement in New York State, 1972-2001 (New York State Wide Senior Action Council, 2003), by Michael Burgess, offers a compelling historic account of the New York State Wide Senior Action Council, the senior rights movement in New York State and the leadership and inspiration provided by Rose Kryzak of Queens, New York.

StateWide, as it is known, was incorporated in 1972. Even though that was a time when federal and state funding was generous for advocacy programs, such as StateWide, it was the active involvement of elders like Kryzak-those not afraid to put themselves on the front line of policy battles-who were the lifeblood of such groups.

Kryzak's activism began in the 19308, when she campaigned for the passage of the Social Security Act. Kryzak, who remained an activist well into her 905, joined the senior-power movement in 1973, when she opted to chair the political action committee at her local senior center in Queens. She became known, not only statewide but also nationally, when she attended a New York City hearing by the Federal Power Commission in 1976. Her remarks at the hearing caused officials to refer to her as "the Kryzak problem," and she remained a visible and driving force in New York State policy and as an outspoken delegate to the 1981 White House Conferences on Aging. She died in 1999.

Kryzak's personal dedication to improving the health and welfare of older New Yorkers and her sense of humor and showmanship inspired both respect and love in allies and opponents of Statewide. …

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