Pioneer in assisted living steps down at age 80

After nearly 30 years of championing the cause of the elderly, 80-year-old Ellen Feingold is retiring. The Boston Globe reports Feingold is stepping down as director of Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, a post she has held since 1981.

Feingold felt as though she needed to serve as spokesperson for a group that often did not get the respect they deserved.

"There was the same kind of stereotyping and generalizing - the elderly want this, the elderly need that - without making any distinction among this huge group of people with 60-plus years of life experience," Feingold told the news source.

Pioneer in assisted living steps down at age 80 "I was determined to try, within our community, to change the image of aging and the image of the elderly."

Feingold's largest contribution was rethinking the assisted living options provided to senior citizens. She offered residents regular transportation to grocery stores, as well as encouraged them to maintain an active lifestyle.

According to the Family Caregivers Alliance, the number of elderly in assisted living centers is expected to grow as the population ages. By 2050, experts estimate that as many as 27 million Americans could be using such services.

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