The GOLDEN AGE CENTERS OF GREATER CLEVELAND, INC. has supported and advocated for the elderly in Cleveland since its founding in 1954. It developed out of local GOLDEN AGE CLUBS. In 1995 Golden Age supported 16 local centers and had central offices at the Fairhill Institute for the Elderly. With its first facility (later named the Lucia Bing Center) located in the Cedar Apartments, Cleveland pioneered the placement of Golden Age Centers in PUBLIC HOUSING. The Rev. James H. Woods, Unitarian minister, social worker, attorney and former director of Golden Age Clubs, served as the first executive director (1955-73) of the Golden Age Centers.
Golden Age has provided services such as health screening, hot meals, transportation, nutrition classes, and assistance with shopping and homemaking. With a goal of enabling older people to live independently, it has cooperated with local organizations such as the Board of Education of CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS, the Retired Senior Volunteer Project of Cleveland, and the INTERCHURCH COUNCIL OF GREATER CLEVELAND, and federally funded projects such as the 1972 Areawide Model Program on Aging. Fundraising events have supplemented the center's support base of government monies (from federal sources as well as CLEVELAND CITY GOVERNMENT and CUYAHOGA COUNTY GOVERNMENT), membership contributions, program fees, grants from FOUNDATIONS, and donations from individuals, corporations and groups such as the WOMEN'S CITY CLUB OF CLEVELAND and the ROTARY CLUB OF CLEVELAND. In 1970 Golden Age Centers of Greater Cleveland merged with the UNITED AUTO WORKERS Retired Workers Centers, keeping the Golden Age name. The centers tripled in size between 1970-73. A Women's Council developed to help utilize community resources. To ease the constraints of time-limited funding, Golden Age formed a Century Club in 1974 for member contributions and broadened its Sustaining Membership campaign. It received a planning grant that year from the CLEVELAND FOUNDATION to explore coordination of services with other institutions which served the elderly, such as the BENJAMIN ROSE INSTITUTE, the CENTER FOR HUMAN SERVICES, the VISITING NURSES ASSN. of Cleveland, and the CUYAHOGA METROPOLITAN HOUSING AUTHORITY. In 1976 Golden Age began employing Homemaker-Home Health Aides and studied new services for older residents of UNIV. CIRCLE.
In the 1980s and 1990s Golden Age Centers acted as a guide for older persons and their families through the maze of insurance and governmental forms and benefits. It helped match these persons with available services in the public and private sectors.
Paul W. Alandt, who had assumed the position of Executive Director in 1983, continued to serve in that capacity in 2001.
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See also OLD AGE HOMES.