History of PAHSA
In 1960, the Presbyterian Church, U.S. (PCUS) called together leaders from among the senior residential communities owned by or affiliated with the denomination to form The Association of Homes for Senior Citizens. In 1974, the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A (UPCUSA) formed an equivalent association of its senior communities. Both organizations adopted the name The Presbyterian Association of Homes for the Aging: PAHA-PCUS and PAHA-UPCUSA, respectively.
When the two Presbyterian denominations merged in 1983 to become the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), the two associations also elected to unite and become The Presbyterian Association of Homes for the Aging (PAHA). Frank McElroy, President and CEO of Presbyterian Homes of Georgia, was elected as PAHA’s first president. The association related directly to the PCUSA through the Office on Aging.
The unified association held two business meetings annually, one in the spring, hosted by one if its members, and a second in the fall during the annual meeting of the American Association of Homes for the Aging (now LeadingAge).
During the 1990s, PAHA changed its name to the Presbyterian Association of Homes & Services for the Aging (PAHSA), recognizing the changing service delivery models for older adults. The website, pahsa.org was launched, including the community location directory. The association continued to gather twice annually for the Spring Conference and Fall Gathering, but confined official business to the annual meeting held during the Spring Conference.
Throughout the years of 2000-2010, PAHSA expanded its membership and gained increasing support from corporate sponsors, including Ziegler and the Board of Pensions of the PCUSA. PAHSA joined efforts with the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries (POAMN) and the former Association of Retired Ministers, Spouses and Survivors (ARMSS). For nearly a decade, PAHSA and POAMN have been co-exhibitors at Presbyterian General Assemblies and other national church gatherings.
Beginning in 2010, PAHSA leaders became contributing authors to “The Presbyterian Outlook” magazine’s annual retirement issue. PAHSA chaplains, residents and executive leaders also contributed daily devotions to “These Days,” the devotional magazine of the PCUSA.
In 2011, PAHSA entered into a formal mission partnership agreement with the PCUSA. The agreement recognizes the independent status of each organization while strengthening cooperation and mutual commitment to minister to and serve older adults. That same year, PAHSA held its first annual Fundraising Summit, bringing together philanthropy professionals from across the association’s membership.
In 2013, it became clear to the PAHSA board of directors and to its members that, with the changes in denominational affiliations, it was time to acknowledge and strengthen relationships with other Presbyterian denominations and support our members in the same endeavor. PAHSA reached out to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and A Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO) and has since welcomed denominational leaders to PAHSA meetings and events. In exchange, PAHSA has served as a resource for older adult ministries at denominational general assemblies and other national Presbyterian gatherings.
Twenty-eight PAHSA member organizations are listed on the 2019 LeadingAge/Ziegler 200* (LZ 200), reporting more than 43,800 combined units of senior housing in over 205 senior living communities. In addition, PAHSA organizations own or manage over 225 affordable housing senior communities. PAHSA members make up the largest faith-based affiliated group appearing in the LZ 200, confirming the significant role that PAHSA member organizations play in providing services to older adults.
As an independent, non-profit association representing organizations that provide senior residential communities, care and services, PAHSA exists to serve older adults through mission and faith. Our Presbyterian relationships enable PAHSA to fulfill its mission to provide and encourage networking and educational opportunities among its members, and to promote the ministries of its members. Together with our members, PAHSA sustains a long-standing commitment to Presbyterian senior ministry through leadership development, sharing best practices, forging and strengthening Presbyterian mission connections with and on behalf of our members, and increasing visibility and access about senior housing and services to a nationwide audience of older adults and their families.
*LeadingAge is a national association representing 6,000 not-for-profit older adult housing and services providers, 39 state partners, hundreds of businesses, consumer groups, foundations and research partners. Ziegler is one of the nation’s leading underwriters of financing for not-for-profit senior living providers. LZ 200 lists the largest not-for-profit systems providing services through senior living in the United States, nearly 90% of the LZ 200 organizations have an affiliation with a religious organization or a fraternal or military group.