Article on Senior Housing
Lutheran Healthcare Annual Report, 2009
Throughout our 125-year history, we’ve defined health to include many things beyond traditional hospital care. We know a ‘healthy’ community has access to high quality care, but also has employment and educational opportunities, and most importantly, decent housing. This non-traditional definition of health is part of what makes the LHC system unique and affords us greater opportunities to work together for the good of the whole person in our care.
LHC first sponsored affordable housing and support services in 1977 when we built Shore Hill Housing in Bay Ridge. This response to a growing community need was repeated in 1995, when Harbor Hill Housing was built in Sunset Park, and again last July when Sunset Gardens, also in Sunset Park, opened its doors. Combined, the three housing complexes provide a total of 700 affordable apartments to qualified adults (62 or older), disabled, and the frail elderly.
Through the carefully coordinated efforts of several LHC services, these residences provide quality care programs that target the specific needs of each facility and offer tenant’s independent living in a supportive environment. Residents also have direct access to medical care through the Medical Center, the Family Health Center Network and the Augustana Center for Extended Care and Rehabilitation, and may attend Services for Older Adults programs offered through senior centers in these facilities. Clinical services are available for residents and non-residents alike in our senior housing facilities and, as part of our strategic focus on older adults, now include the services of a geriatrician and other specialty service providers.
Coordinated Social Services provided by the Lutheran Family Health Centers help seniors in Shore Hill and Harbor Hill Housing live as independently as possible. Service Coordinators provide advocacy services for patients and their families in order to address issues that may affect a resident’s quality of life or ability to age in place. These concerns are then addressed by the site director who, depending on the nature of an issue, may also bring it to the attention of the Senior Initiatives Network. Service Coordinators also handle referrals and case management, and facilitate monthly workshops, cooking classes, and other activities.
Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, who provided significant federal backing for our most recent senior housing facility Sunset Gardens, along with additional dollars committed by Borough President Marty Markowitz, summed up Lutheran’s commitment to senior housing best, “The new residence will offer a great service to the community by providing seniors with the opportunity to live safely and independently. If there is a challenge today for New York City and our nation, it is a shortage of affordable housing, particularly for seniors. I would like to thank Lutheran HealthCare for stepping up and providing not only wellness services, but a supportive, community-oriented environment for our seniors to live.”