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“[In 1898], Mr. Rose had the occasion to aid an aged couple whom. . . had been friends of his many years before. . .. Reverses had come and they were left in their old age without any means of support.”  

Benjamin Rose shared the story above when asked about his intentions in establishing the Benjamin Rose Trust and the Institute that bears his name. A former colleague, whose business had failed, was at risk of also losing his home. Benjamin and wife Julia decided that this would be their legacy, a fund to help “needy aged people.” He directed that his commercial and business interests be placed in a trust that would continue to fund the Institute and its mission. And one of the first issues addressed by the Benjamin Rose Institute and its board was affordable and appropriate housing. 

In the 1930s, the Institute bought a house in Cleveland and converted it into a home for older adults. Clients of Benjamin Rose were living longer and facing significant health issues. Many boarding houses offered limited or substandard care. The Institute’s board and staff determined they could do better. Other houses were added. And services for the residents expanded to meet their needs. It would be many years before the terms “long term care service,” or “aging in place” came into common use, but at Benjamin Rose it was understood that in order to age in place, there had to a place. A place to call home. 

Safe, stable, affordable housing is key to living with dignity as we grow older. And most people prefer to age to in place. In its 2021 Home and Community Preferences Survey, AARP asked about retirement plans among adults, and an overwhelming majority report they want to stay where they are. It’s a sentiment shared by people everywhere: to grow old in a familiar setting, among the people, places and things that are important to us. But nearly half of Americans worry about their ability to do so. What happens if I can no longer drive? Or if family and friends are no longer nearby?  

From its earliest days, Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging has focused on supports that help people to age in place, and community programs that help make that possible. The programs have evolved over time, as we continue to find new ways to meet the needs of older adults and their family caregivers. But a one constant throughout has been a focus on housing. Today, this includes offering affordable housing for low-income older adults at Margaret Wagner House. It includes pre-purchase housing counseling, foreclosure prevention and property tax counseling from ESOP. It’s workshops for older homeowners on how to maximize the value and livability of their homes. And, it is services delivered in the home by our Rose Centers For Aging Well and Eldercare Services Institute, that help promote health and wellness and help make the dream of aging in place a reality. And there is more to come.   

The new website for Branches Real Estate is now live. Branches, a subsidiary of Benjamin Rose is the first nonprofit real estate brokerage in Ohio, and is focused on helping low and moderate income homebuyers find affordable properties, promote home ownership and help families build equity and intergenerational wealth. Because, in order to age in place, you need a place to call “home.”