“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 firstname.lastname@example.org