Planned residence reflects The New Jewish Home’s embrace of LGBTQ elders

NEW YORK, NY, March 17, 2015 — The New Jewish Home, one of the country’s largest and most diversified nonprofit geriatric care systems, has received a capital grant of $150,000 from the Tikkun Olam Foundation, Inc. The grant, which reflects the foundation’s commitment to programs that support sexual orientation and gender identity, will go toward the construction of an LGBTQ living space in a 20-story residence that Jewish Home is building in Manhattan. It is expected to open in 2019.

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A rendering of The Living Center of Manhattan

To be called The Living Center of Manhattan, the new residence will comprise 22 self-contained apartments of 12 people each, and five floors of rehabilitation facilities. LGBTQ elders will have the option of living in the all-LGBTQ apartment or in any other apartment in the high-rise.

“We are so grateful for this generous grant, which recognizes Jewish Home’s embrace of LGBTQ elders,” said Audrey Weiner, President and CEO of The New Jewish Home, which welcomes people of all faiths. “Judaism teaches that every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. This generous grant will help us to create an environment that reflects that belief.”

The new building will be New York City’s first nursing care residence to operate according to the Green House® model of eldercare. It will also be the first Green House residence to be built in a major urban center.

The innovative Green House model returns control, dignity and a sense of well-being to both frail elders and their caregivers. Instead of living in the impersonal, hospital-like setting of traditional nursing homes, Green House residents live in beautiful, spacious and homey apartments where they are assisted by CNAs (certified nursing aides), who work in flexible, self-managed teams. Each day’s schedule, activities and meals are chosen by the elders themselves rather than being determined by institutional priorities, as is the case in traditional nursing homes.

The Living Center’s all-LGBTQ apartment is only part of Jewish Home’s embrace of LGTBQ seniors. That embrace can also be seen in Jewish Home’s work with the national advocacy organization SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders), which acknowledged The New Jewish Home’s unprecedented level of commitment to the LGBTQ community with the SAGE Aging Services Leadership Award in 2013.

The New Jewish Home has partnered with SAGE on “cultural competency” training, making sure that staff members at every level of the organization understand the needs of LGBTQ elders. SAGE has also conducted an audit of Jewish Home’s human resources and marketing materials, policies and procedures to make sure that they reflect the presence and concerns of LGBTQ and other diverse populations.

The issue could not be more important. There are 1.5 million LGBTQ adults over 65 in the United States and their number is expected to double by 2030. A 2011 survey, LGBT Older Adults in Long-Term Care Facilities, revealed that fewer than 25% of feel they can be open about their identities with the staff of their long-term care residences.

Long overlooked, aging LGBTQ adults face distinct challenges. Most live alone, are less likely to have partners or adult children to care for them and advocate on their behalf, and have often faced discrimination in health insurance, medical care, social services, and housing. The resulting social isolation, depression, anxiety, and other emotional and physical problems have made many older LGBTQ adults wary of health care professionals and aging-services providers.

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The Tikkun Olam Foundation, Inc., takes its name from the Hebrew phrase tikkun olam (tee-KOON oh-LUM), literally, world repair. This Jewish concept has come to connote social action and the pursuit of social justice. To believe in tikkun olam is to believe that acts of deep kindness have the power to repair the troubles of our world.

About the TIKKUN OLAM FOUNDATION, INC.: The mission of the Tikkun Olam Foundation, Inc., is to improve health, justice, and equity for all individuals. The Foundation does this primarily by funding programs focusing on women’s health; sexual orientation and gender identity; and advocacy via the arts. The Foundation focuses its grantmaking in the U.S. with a particular focus on New York City.

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About THE NEW JEWISH HOME: Serving New Yorkers of all faiths and ethnicities for 167 years, The New Jewish Home is transforming eldercare as we know it. One of the nation’s largest and most diversified not‐for‐profit geriatric health and rehabilitation systems, The New Jewish Home serves 12,000 older adults each year, in their homes and on three campuses, through short-term rehabilitation, long‐term skilled nursing, low-income housing, and a wide range of home health programs. The New Jewish Home believes that high quality care and personal dignity are everyone’s right, regardless of background or economic circumstances. Technology, innovation, applied research and new models of care put The New Jewish Home in the vanguard of eldercare providers across the country. For more information, visit www.jewishhome.org.