Mutual Mt. Airy discusses aging in place initiative with a range of community groups

As part of its effort to further define itself, Mutual Mt. Airy hosted a panel discussion Thursday night featuring Northwest Philadelphia organizations that help older adults age in place.

“It’s really an evolving process,” said Peter Javsicas, who co-founded the initiative with his wife Anne.

On hand for the group’s third meeting, which drew about 30 residents, were representatives from the Unitarian Universalist House, My Way, Center in the Park, and NewCourtland.

The organizations were chosen as they provide services that range from offering rides to the grocery store to in-home nursing care.

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U.U. House, founded in 1999, is a non-profit that serves residents who are 60 and above that live in Germantown, Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill, West Oak Lane and parts of East Falls.

Membership is free, but participants can’t live in institutions.

Through its outreach program, the organization helps members connect with service providers, healthcare-related and otherwise.

“We’re kind of the people who help navigate the system,” said Mary Fallon, the group’s director.

U.U. has a nurse and social worker on staff that make home visitations.

My Way also provides services to residents across Northwest Philadelphia, but charges for the time it takes to complete them.

With the help of 40 part-time employees, My Way “will try to do just about anything anybody needs,” said George Stern, who chairs the organization’s board.

All employees are vetted. Many are retired professionals.

The group does not provide any type of direct medical assistance, though it does have certified nursing assistants, who can help residents with household tasks as they recover from a hospital visit, for example.

My Way charges $19.50 per hour and has a one-hour minimum.

Center in the Park, a Germantown-based organization, offers more than a 100 programs to older adults at its building in Vernon Park and in the home.

The organization offers a number of classes, but also provides help for home-bound seniors through its staff of social workers.

Membership is free for adults 55 and older.

On the other end of the spectrum is NewCourtland, a non-profit that specializes in senior-living options – such as its recently opened Apartments at Cliveden in Germantown – and in-home care across the city.

Through its LIFE program (Living Independently for Elderly), for example, Deborah Cross said the organization provides services – many medical in nature – in the home that traditionally were only done inside nursing homes.

Over the next month, a working committee will meet three times to fashion a framework for the group.Those discussions will tackle, among other things, what form the effort’s governance and financial structures will take.

The results of those talks will be revealed during a potluck dinner on April 6. The event will take place at the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting on Mermaid Lane from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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