Increasing wellness

JCC Grand open­ing: Steven Berk (left), Chair­man of the Board of Trust­ee of Ein­stein Hos­pit­al, and Steph­en B. Klein, Chair of Klein JCC Board of Dir­ect­ors, talk at the JCC Klein open­ing for the Well­ness Cen­ter. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHO­TOS

“I don’t feel as well as I used to and I don’t get around much any­more.”

That should be a fa­mil­i­ar re­frain to staff mem­bers of the Klein JCC, where about 4,000 North­east Philly seni­or cit­izens vis­it each day for meals, re­cre­ation­al activ­it­ies and fel­low­ship with oth­er seni­ors.

On Jan. 30, the Klein JCC, at Red Li­on Road and Jam­is­on Av­en­ue in Somer­ton, de­b­uted a pro­gram that will help its seni­ors bet­ter cope with their health and mo­bil­ity con­cerns. The Well­ness Cen­ter at Klein is a new re­source of primary med­ic­al and pre­vent­at­ive care that Klein vis­it­ors can ac­cess without hav­ing to step bey­ond the warm JCC con­fines.

“This will provide med­ic­al and edu­ca­tion ser­vices to the thou­sands of seni­ors who come to us on a daily basis,” said An­dre Krug, the Klein JCC pres­id­ent and CEO. “We are the largest seni­or cen­ter in Phil­adelphia. Four thou­sand seni­ors re­ceive daily meals and pro­gram­ming here. So we are lit­er­ally their home away from home.” 

The JCC, or Jew­ish Com­munity Cen­ter, opened the Well­ness Cen­ter in part­ner­ship with the Ein­stein Health­care Net­work, an or­gan­iz­a­tion with strong his­tor­ic­al ties to the city’s Jew­ish com­munity through the Al­bert Ein­stein Med­ic­al Cen­ter.

The Well­ness Cen­ter oc­cu­pies a space that formerly housed the JCC’s fit­ness cen­ter. It looks like a typ­ic­al fam­ily prac­ti­tion­er’s of­fice, with a re­cep­tion desk, sev­er­al ex­am­in­a­tion rooms and a lab-work area. Dr. Har­vey M. Spect­or, an os­teo­path­ic phys­i­cian with ex­tens­ive ex­per­i­ence in the geri­at­ric field, sees pa­tients there two days a week, while Re­gistered Nurse Prac­ti­tion­er An­gela D. Stew­art staffs the cen­ter every week­day.

The cen­ter provides gen­er­al phys­ic­al ex­ams, screen­ings for con­di­tions such as high blood pres­sure and dia­betes, as well as re­fer­ral ser­vices. The fee sched­ule for med­ic­al ser­vices is the same as it would be for any oth­er primary care phys­i­cian’s of­fice.  But the cen­ter ac­cepts Medi­care and oth­er health in­sur­ance. 

“When people get to be in their eighties, I like them to come in every three months to find out what’s hap­pen­ing that they might not know about,” said Spect­or, a Felton­ville nat­ive who gradu­ated from Ol­ney High and Phil­adelphia Col­lege of Os­teo­path­ic Medi­cine.

In ad­di­tion, the cen­ter will dis­sem­in­ate in­form­a­tion about nu­tri­tion, healthy liv­ing, chron­ic con­di­tion pre­ven­tion and oth­er pree­mpt­ive meas­ures. Stew­art will over­see edu­ca­tion­al work­shops and out­reach ef­forts.

“We have a large seni­or pop­u­la­tion [at the JCC]. The idea is to provide them well­ness, health­care, edu­ca­tion and phys­ic­al activ­ity,” said Steph­en B. Klein, the JCC board chair­man.  “These people are in­ter­ested in well­ness. They come every day to be with their friends and to en­gage their minds and bod­ies. This is an ex­ten­sion of that.”

The cen­ter is open to the com­munity out­side the JCC, too, even non-mem­bers. But for those who vis­it the JCC reg­u­larly, hav­ing a Well­ness Cen­ter un­der the same roof is a wel­come con­veni­ence. It may even en­cour­age some folks to seek health­care more reg­u­larly.

“Trans­port­a­tion for the eld­erly is a prob­lem,” Klein said.  “We [already] trans­port a lot of people from their homes to this fa­cil­ity.”

Steven Berk, the Ein­stein board chair­man, said that his or­gan­iz­a­tion is com­mit­ted to help­ing people avoid hos­pit­al­iz­a­tions and re­main where they feel most com­fort­able.

“That’s a man­tra I’ve heard so many times, al­low­ing people to stay in their homes,” Berk said.

For in­form­a­tion about the Well­ness Cen­ter at Klein, call 215-969-7870. ••

Re­port­er Wil­li­am Kenny can be reached  at 215-354-3031 or

You can reach at

comments powered by Disqus