Elder Service Plan seeks new clinic space before senior housing home is renovated
A new space is needed for an innovative Cambridge Health Alliance daytime program for frail, low-income seniors that operated for years in the Manning Apartments, a public housing development on Franklin Street.
The lease for the space expires in December 2015 and the health care provider isn’t renewing. Gregory Russ, executive director of the Cambridge Housing Authority, said the tenant wanted a larger space, while health care provider spokesman David Cecere said the Authority planned to use the space “for other purposes.”
Frank J. Manning is one of seven public housing developments that will be renovated extensively over the next two years as part of a broad program to rehabilitate the authority’s aging developments. Construction at Manning, near Central Square, is to begin next spring.
Whatever the reason for the non-renewal, the Alliance must now find another place for the day program, which combines social and physical activities for seniors with medical checkups by a nurse or doctor. The program is part of the Alliance’s Elder Service Plan, designed to keep seniors in their homes despite conditions that make them eligible for nursing home care. As of July, 279 people were served by the program, according to the Alliance’s monthly financial performance report.
The Elder Service Plan provides home care such as cooking, shopping and cleaning; transportation to medical appointments; prescription drugs; dental, vision, hearing and foot care; physical and occupational therapy; and coordinated medical treatment. It’s open to seniors eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, the health program for low-income people; some participants can have higher income and pay fees. Residents 55 or older living in Cambridge, Somerville, Watertown, Arlington, Allston, Brighton, Charlestown, Chelsea, Everett, Malden or Medford can enter the program.
Some Cambridge public housing tenants are also in the program. The Elder Service Plan provides staff for special units in five developments for seniors: Manning; the John F. Kennedy Apartments; the LBJ Apartments; the Putnam School; and Millers River.
The Alliance “is actively pursuing potential options” for its day center, Cecere said. “One possibility is to identify a single-story space for its greater ease in caring for older adults with chronic health issues”; the Manning area is spread between two floors, he said.
The health care provider plans to open a satellite Elder Service Plan program in Malden because administrators believe there is unmet need for the service in that area.