Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE) is a large, multi-campus organization that houses and serves 1,500 residents (80 market rate and 1,420 low income). The average age is 80 years old, with one-third of residents 85 and older. Three quarters of the residents are not native English speakers. Through HUD and other funding, JCHE offers a range of supports to these residents, including translators, interpreters and staff with language and cultural competence, meals, transportation and, through their Service Coordinators, facilitation of resident access to government benefits, home care and other services.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2012 special report “People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Who Live Alone” there are 800,000 Americans with cognitive impairment living on their own in community settings. Extrapolating from these national estimates, JCHE estimates that approximately 255 of their residents have some level of cognitive impairment. More generally, it is clear that cognitive impairment is prevalent in market rate and subsidized independent senior housing properties throughout the United States. These cognitively impaired individuals, at JCHE and elsewhere, may also be struggling with limited resources and language barriers. They face great difficulty in managing many aspects of day to day life, like transportation to doctors’ visits, shopping, getting along with neighbors, and accessing needed support services and government benefits. Without staff that is prepared to assist these cognitively impaired residents to overcome barriers and access services, many individuals may be needlessly institutionalized.


This report was created by researchers in the Gerontology Institute, within the John W. McCormack School of Policy & Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, under contract with Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE), and in fulfillment of the evaluation requirement of a LeadingAge Innovations Award.

It is a result of collaboration between the researchers and members of the Memory Support Initiative Team at JCHE. In particular we want to recognize the work of Caren Silverlieb, Vice President for Program Development, for providing leadership to this project, We submit this report to LeadingAge in the hopes that it will inform the efforts of senior housing providers who wish to strengthen their ability to serve residents with cognitive impairment.

Community Engaged/Serving

Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series.



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