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Non-profit ElderServe ‘pausing’ operations after 60 years

People dancing in colorful shirts.
Mary Louise Brown, 84, leads a line dance class at ElderServe's Senior Center in Louisville on Tuesday, July 24th.

A non-profit that has served Louisville’s older adults for 60 years is pausing operations, citing funding concerns and the toll of the pandemic. 

Patty Belden, CEO at ElderServe, announced this week that the organization would be closing the doors at its facility on 28th Street, which has been there since the 1990s. 

Friday was the last day for activities there, and the organization plans to sell the building. ElderServe downsized from two facilities to one in 2021. 

Belden said the residents are devastated. Some told her the community is the reason they got up in the morning.

“This is a place that they’ve been coming for years and years and before that, their parents or grandparents or aunts or uncles were coming here,” Belden said. “It's a cornerstone of the community and they're feeling a really personal loss.”

Before the pandemic, ElderServe saw around 2,000 clients a year. That’s since dwindled to 800-900, almost all residents who live in or around the Russell neighborhood in the West End. 

The organization provided services like adult day care, activities, companionship and some health services like podiatry and dental care. 

“We were able to bring those here to the neighborhood, making them easily accessible to those who have those barriers to quality healthcare or healthy food or transportation to get to those places,” Belden said.

They’ve also provided free meals, and advocacy for older adults who have been victims of crimes. This has meant helping them navigate the court system or install security features at home. 

According to a news release, ElderServe is working with community partners to bridge the gap in services created by their closure. 

And Belden said she hopes it’s not long before they’re able to restart. 

“It’s not too late to help,” she said. “We’re not dissolving, our hope is to rebuild, and we’re going to need the community to rally around us to make it possible.”


Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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