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Ageing cannot be prevented, but it can most certainly be a happy process. Everyone heads towards the ‘wonder years’ of their life. Do they wonder where they left their phone? Where the glasses are? What day it is? And many more. Fun apart, everyone faces difficulties when the graph of life starts to tilt towards the ultimate point. People fall ill both physically and mentally. Hence, they need more attention and care.

But in this fast-paced world, wherein time is money, it becomes difficult to manage the balance between work and family. Those taking care of their elder family members are sometimes stuck between the priorities of their own life.

While the challenge is huge, the necessity for caregiving is equally important. Many people struggle to manage this difficult task. To provide and solution to this, Carnegie East House was established with the focus of providing quality lifestyle for senior citizens.

In the following interview, Joseph H. Girven, the Executive Director of Carnegie East Home, sheds light on the journey of the organization, its mission, and the necessity of senior care.

Please brief our audience about Carnegie East House, its mission, and the key aspects of its stronghold within the senior care services niche.

Since 2002, the mission of Carnegie East House has been to provide comfortable, secure, and supportive enriched housing for senior citizens. It is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to help and empower senior citizens by elevating their quality of life through safe and affordable housing. Our community celebrates individual freedom and offers support when and where it is needed.

Carnegie East House has earned a reputation for providing an exceptional level of care and attention to residents. It has consistently been ranked among the best adult care communities in Manhattan.

Visitors always comment that you can ‘feel’ the difference when they walk through our building. This atmosphere is created by having a caring team that supports the residents with competency and compassion.

Tell us more about the services that give Carnegie East House distinct edge to stand out from the competition?

Carnegie East House is distinct in its market—New York City—it offers expansive apartments, dynamic programming, and exceptional value. As a not-for-profit organization, the end goal is not to produce increased profitability. Our efforts focus on one objective: serving and supporting residents with the highest standards of care possible.

Residents of our community represent all backgrounds and professions: teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, interior decorators, accountants, writers, judges, librarians, homemakers, artists, actors, professors, researchers, social workers, simultaneous interpreters, and musicians. We are an inclusive community that appeals to people who value individual care in an ideal setting, where healthy aging is nurtured and fostered.

What is your opinion on the effects of the current pandemic on the healthcare sector, and what challenges did Carnegie East House face during the initial phase of the pandemic?

One cannot underestimate the financial and human capital challenges presented by the pandemic. From the cost of purchasing enormous quantities of personal protection equipment to the loss of revenue due to a freeze on admissions, the strain has been taxing. In addition, the pandemic placed many additional stressors on staff—all of whom are essential workers—by putting them at risk by commuting and working and adding to their already heavy workloads with additional safety protocols and new regulations issued weekly.

The largest challenge presented in the initial phase of the pandemic was developing new protocols to ensure the safety of residents and personnel. We had to amend almost every aspect of our operations, and we revised these changes throughout the days, weeks, and months of the pandemic. From meal delivery to getting all personnel COVID tested weekly, we had to implement a new way to operate every day.

With continuous technological development in the healthcare space, what is your prediction about the future of the senior care services market?

As the demographic construct of ‘older adults’ evolves and more baby boomers age, we will have more technology users who have a higher level of proficiency—new needs will have to be met. New buildings and residential units will have to be much more energy efficient. Additionally, advances in technology will enable clinicians and patients to interface more efficiently and effectively.

As an established leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the senior care services niche?

No matter how we serve this market, it all boil down to individual care. Never lose sight of the true objective—taking care of each person as you would your mother, father, friend, sister, or brother.

How do you envision scaling Carnegie East House’s operations and offerings in 2021?

At present, we will focus on improving our communities and elevating all facets of operations. We are planning a sizable renovation project and the addition of some exciting new amenities. Our operations and programming are constantly evolving to meet our resident’s new needs and to serve them better.

About the leader

Joseph Girven is a former financial executive and certified public accountant. His career took a dramatic turn when he became a Licensed Master Social Worker. Girven’s social service career focused on protecting and supporting senior citizens and the disabled from its inception. Girven spent 13 years in a leadership position at the Lenox Hill Neighbourhood House, a provider of senior citizen essential services in New York City. 11 years ago, Girven became the Executive Director of the James Lenox House Association and Carnegie East House.

The James Lenox House Association was founded 150 years ago to house civil war widows. Today, the James Lenox House is part of the Mitchell-Lama Housing Program. With 99 apartments, it meets the growing need in New York City for affordable housing with quality social services for senior citizens. Carnegie East House, a residential care community comprised of 97 apartments, is licensed by the New York State Department of Health as ‘enriched housing’ and offers residents a wide range of supportive services.

Throughout his tenure at both residential communities, Girven has consistently led with insightful leadership and judicial stewardship. The recent challenges presented by COVID-19 tested the most formidable industry champions with unprecedented safety challenges, regulatory demands, and market pressures.

Girven successfully navigated the shoals of the pandemic and succeeded in taking care of all residents through his tireless and dedicated vigilance and guidance. He moved into Carnegie East House to be ‘on-the-ground’ and available around the clock, every day. Throughout the long-term care residential housing sector, the pandemic presented many horrific realities and outcomes. Girven’s move to live ‘on-site’ went far to reassure residents and their families.

Under Girven’s direction, Carnegie East House employed conservative measures from the onset of the pandemic, before they were mandated. As a result of his vigilance, the residents were kept safe.

Joseph H. Girven was recognized for his stewardship in Crain’s New York Business 2021 “Notable in Non-profits and Philanthropy”