I was really pleased and proud yesterday when I learned that 14% - or 1 in every 7 - of the new awards from the NY Department for the Aging for operating senior centers (now re-named Neighborhood Centers) went to UNH member agencies (View the full list). For decades, settlement houses have been in the forefront of innovation when it comes to helping older adults remain healthy and safe in their homes and communities. Our members were among the first to pilot programs that now are well established, like social adult day programs and NORCs (naturally occurring retirement communities).
In addition, every day in our City settlement house staff help to keep at-risk older adults in their communities well-fed and well-monitored through Meals-on-Wheels programs and care management. Some of our member agencies even provide in home personal care services to homebound individuals. The hallmark of our work with seniors is providing a “continuum of care”, allowing older people to remain attached to their communities and their settlement houses from when they’re perfectly healthy and vibrant through physical and cognitive impairment if it occurs as they age. So it makes perfect sense to have settlement houses operating such a significant part of the new senior center system. We believe in offering the services that stimulate minds and bodies, as well as the services that provide a safety net when those minds and bodies begin to fail. It is part of our decades-long approach and commitment to looking for the strengths in individuals, not solely at their problems or deficits.