The Pew Charitable Trusts has committed $4.2 million to support Philadelphia-area organizations working to preserve the quality of life for frail and low-income seniors. Twenty-seven organizations are slated to receive grants that will help approximately 26,000 seniors meet their basic needs each year.
“Low-income and frail elderly are among the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Frazierita Klasen, the senior director of Pew’s Philadelphia program, in a statement.
“Pew is pleased to support local partners whose services and care help strengthen the dignity of the elderly and enable them to live safely and securely in their own homes for as long as possible.”
Among the funded organizations is Senior LAW Center, which will receive support for its Homeowners’ Assistance Program. Over the past three years, the initiative has provided more than 1,000 senior homeowners with a range of legal help, including representation in court, legal advice, and counseling and information services.
“We’ve had Pew’s support for quite a few years and we’re excited to have it renewed,” said Karen Buck, the executive director of Senior LAW Center.
The funding is particularly significant, she added, because a number of major funders no longer support senior-oriented work.
“There’s a misunderstanding of the needs of the elderly population and it is particularly dire in the Philadelphia region,” Buck said. “We have a shocking senior poverty rate.”
Philadelphia has the second-largest population of poor older adults in the nation, and almost 20 percent of seniors who are 60 and above live in poverty, according to the Senior LAW Center.
The Homeowners’ Assistance Program, which operates from the Center City offices of Senior LAW Center and five neighborhood-based locations, helps seniors resolve mortgage and reverse mortgage foreclosures, real estate tax issues, and contractor fraud, among other problems. Approximately 126,000 homes in Philadelphia are owned by seniors 65 and over.
Another Pew grantee, Penn Asian Senior Services, will use the support to bolster a program that provides hospital discharge and medication management for older adults with language barriers, the vast majority of whom are Asian-Americans.
According to Im Ja Choi, who founded Penn Asian Senior Services, the organization is meeting the health care needs of older adults who speak 12 different languages. Eleven are Asian languages, including Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Hindi and Laotian.
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When Choi established the nonprofit ten years ago, “there wasn’t anybody doing home care for Asians with a language barrier,” she said. Penn Asian Senior Services is now operating across the Greater Philadelphia region.
“We currently serve over 500 home health clients and 60 day care clients,” Choi added.
With funds from Pew, the organization has begun to partner with local hospitals, such as Einstein Medical Center, to better coordinate care for Asian seniors being discharged. Approximately 400 seniors are expected to receive these services over the duration of the three-year grant.
Image via Senior LAW Center-30-
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