Creating Communities for the Future
Serving Older Adults Through Mission and Faith
There are more than 400 Presbyterian sponsored facilities in the United States, offering a full range of services including continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), senior housing (apartments, town homes, condominiums), skilled nursing care, assisted living, specialized care units for Alzheimer's disease (memory care) and home and community based services. In these facilities, nearly every income level is served and millions of dollars are raised to provide charitable care annually to those who have outlived their resources and need assistance to pay for needed care.
The Presbyterian Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (PAHSA) is an independent, not-for-profit association representing organizations that provide residential communities, healthcare facilities and services to older adults of all faiths. PAHSA communities are guided by their Christian heritage and strive to provide older adults with quality residential settings and services to meet their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, vocational and spiritual needs. Through a comprehensive continuum of care they may experience the fullest life their health will allow. The PAHSA website (www.pahsa.org) contains contact information and locations of Presbyterian facilities around the country. PAHSA members can be a valuable resource for anyone seeking care for themselves or their family members.
Historic Relationship to the Presbyterian Church USA
PAHSA organizations are tied to the church through a variety of historic relationships. The relationships vary from local church ownership, to covenant relationships, to a founding heritage based on a church, presbytery or Synod coming together to provide ministry to older adults. Each of the founding stories is compelling and unique, with some going back 100 years or more. A common thread in each story is that an individual or group was moved to provide ministry to older adults of all faiths imbued with the values of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Today, PAHSA is the living legacy of its members' founding heritage. The Association is committed to strengthening its historic and current ties to the church. Guided by its mission, "to provide and encourage networking and educational opportunities among members and to interpret the ministry of its members to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and others," the Presbyterian Association of Homes and Services for the Aging represents over 369 dedicated organizations in 36 states that provide service to 150,000 older adults of all faiths each day. The total number of housing units exceeds 65,000, represented by independent living, low income housing, assisted living and skilled nursing. In addition, PAHSA members collectively, throughout the United States employ close to 60,000 individuals and generate revenues in excess of $1.4 billion dollars annually.
Governance and Stewardship
Each PAHSA organization is governed by a volunteer board. The majority of the board members are Presbyterian church members and or ministers. Local community leaders may also serve. Many of these organizations have Foundations who administer gifts and bequests, acknowledge donors and provide confidential benevolent financial assistance. Some PAHSA organizations offer honorable service grants to ministers, missionaries, church educators and spouses or surviving spouses. The Honorable Service Grant Program provides significant discounts on entrance fees or monthly fees for apartments or homes for individuals 65 or older.
Each year PAHSA members from all over the United States come together for an annual meeting to share best practices and learn new and innovative ways to meet the changing needs of the growing population of seniors entering the marketplace searching for a retirement community.
Wellness-Body Mind and Spirit
A common theme in PAHSA organizations is wellness, based on a belief that we must consider the entire being, body, mind and spirit. A paramount goal in these communities is to enrich the lives of residents by developing new opportunities to meet the important physical, spiritual, intellectual, social, vocational and emotional needs. Life Long Learning programs are offered in many retirement communities. In fact partnerships and relationships are intentionally sought and new facilities are built within close proximity to colleges, universities and libraries. The philosophy suggests that retirees can experience as much growth and transformation at 60-80 as they did between 20-40.
Home and Community Based Services
To meet the growing need of seniors who prefer to remain in their homes a growing number of PAHSA organizations provide a continuum of home and community based services. This continuum includes options such as home delivered meals, transportation, adult day services, home health and hospice. The trend is emerging nationwide. Senior Independence, a subsidiary of Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services, provides care and services to more than 75,000 older adults in 38 Ohio counties and provides assistance and support to their caregivers. Through its iPartner affiliates and icaregiver.org website, Senior Independence extends services to older adults throughout the nation.
Spiritual Life, Community Service and Church Involvement
Nurturing spiritual life for residents is a significant part of life in PAHSA communities. Full-time chaplains are part of the spiritual life in many communities. Generally, weekly Bible study and worship services are offered, along with grief and loss committees and advisory and spiritual life committees, which help shape spiritual life in retirement communities. Some campuses have even created their own choirs and instrumental groups.
Vocation has no age limit in senior retirement communities and residents look beyond themselves by becoming involved in volunteer service activities where they share their gifts to serve others. This often involves the larger community they live in. Volunteerism is a meaningful way to nurture spirituality and there are numerous examples to be found in any PAHSA community. Some organizations have organized church relations programs and provide assistant in Older Adult Ministry.
- Sodexo Senior Services
- Caring Communities
- Hamlin Capital Management
- Presbyterian Foundation