50 Years. 50 Stories., Community Stories

Story 42: Growing Older with Independence, Dignity, and Grace

July 9, 2018

Eden provides older adults with affordable homes and supportive services that allow them to live independently as long as possible, able to share quality time with neighbors, friends and family members. Residents participate in healthy living activities, computer classes, economic empowerment classes and community events, promoting social engagement and overall physical and mental well-being.

Anne, an 84-year old Eden Housing resident, is an inspiration to her entire community. As a WWII survivor she has seen a great deal of suffering and displacement in her lifetime, yet feels it is important to give back to others. She leads an exercise class called “FUN 101,” and is a “safety buddy” helping with emergency preparedness.

Living at Eden provides seniors and special needs residents with financial security and stability, helping them to manage expenses and experience a better quality of life.“Its hard to find housing for a senior living on disability,” says Susan, a Belle Terre resident. “And, the staff is so patient and wonderful to me.” We had a packed house for ‘fraud bingo’ facilitated by Bank of the West volunteers.

Eden provides volunteer opportunities for community members of all ages! This is Joanne (with the corsage) and her family at her 70th birthday party. When asked why she volunteers? “I was surprised to learn how low an income a person has to have in order to qualify for Eden housing. I feel badly that these seniors have so little money to live on. Many of them have made important contributions to society. I want to make their lives more interesting and fun,” she shared with us.

Meredithe lost her eyesight after a traumatic injury caused by an earthquake. She was unable to stay in her home and lived in a homeless shelter. “Affordable housing has changed my life. It has given me the security that I thought I would never have again. I am able to connect with services…and I’m able to volunteer at my building by teaching a ceramics class. Living in my own home has given me back my independence.”

Many of Eden’s senior communities have community gardens and cooking classes. “I love working in the garden and learning about healthy eating,” said James, an Eden senior resident. “Also, the food delivery program helps stretch my very limited income.”

Eden residents are living longer and staying independent longer, thanks to our supportive services and housing designed for seniors to ‘age in place.’ They have an average age of 74, with 32% over the age of 80 and 5% over the age of 90! Most have fixed incomes of just over $13,000 a year — so they are grateful for an affordable home!

We create safe and supportive environments for our older residents, from the design of our buildings to our partnerships with local organizations for services. For example, Cottonwood Apartments has 98 senior apartments (24 designed for frail elders), 9,300 square feet for On Lok (a senior health care provider), and a satellite office for the City of Fremont Senior Support Services Division.

At Cottonwood, On Lok provides comprehensive long-term care for frail elders, including an adult day health center for individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The Fremont Human Services Department provides case management to identify issues and connect seniors with culturally appropriate community-based services. Through these two health care and service providers, 100% of our residents access basic services each year.

A growing body of research indicates that affordable housing leads to improved health outcomes. The stability and security of a home reduces stress and a well-constructed, safe and green home can reduce health problems associated with toxins and other hazards. The reduced rent can free up resources for nutritious food and health care, and access to services and transit promotes healthy lifestyles. Eden residents live brighter, healthier, longer lives!

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