We have cared for the elderly in our community since 1910. During these 100+ years, the frailty of those we serve, the size of our residences, and the scope of the services we provide all have increased dramatically.
In 1910, individuals concerned about the lack of care for the aged formed a small organization and collected funds that were used to board elderly Jewish men and women in private homes.
In 1914, the group purchased a brick row house at 415 M Street, NW. Ten residents lived on the second and third floors (there was no elevator). The main concern was to provide room, board, and a religious atmosphere.
In 1924, a new Hebrew Home for the Aged was built on Spring Road (Cost: $27,000). The 35-bed nursing home became overcrowded, with residents sleeping in hallways and on porches, and in 1953, a new addition increased capacity to 165. A medical panel was established.
In 1964, a survey indicated a need for a new facility that could provide complete medical and nursing care. Charles E. Smith was instrumental in selecting the site and raising the funds that made it possible for the Hebrew Home, Jewish Social Service Agency, and Jewish Community Center to purchase land in Montgomery County. When these agencies moved to the Rockville campus in 1969, the Honorable Arthur J. Goldberg, Supreme Court Justice and former United Nations Ambassador, gave the opening address.
The DC National Guard and American Red Cross participated in the complex task of moving 172 senior citizens from Spring Road to the new Hebrew Home of Greater Washington. The Wasserman Residence contained 266 beds and an innovative shopping arcade. The opening of our Smith-Kogod Residence in 1981 increased our capacity to 556 residents, and the Post-Acute Care Center in the Wasserman Residence made it possible to offer rehabilitation services to short-stay patients.
In May 2006, in honor of the visionary leadership of the late Charles E. Smith and the generosity of the Charles E. Smith Family Foundation, our services were united under the name Charles E. Smith Life Communities.
Please enjoy the 2010 Centennial video introduced by renowned broadcast journalist Susan Stamberg.
In 2013, the sixth building on our campus opened. The Cohen-Rosen House provides specialized memory care assisted living in a beautiful, intimate setting.
In 2015, we launched the ElderSAFE™ Center in response to a growing need to protect the elderly from abuse. This center, the first of its kind in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, is equipped to provide safe temporary shelter, to coordinate and provide community referrals, and to increase public awareness about elder abuse.
The years since 1910 have seen countless hours of commitment — both on the part of the Charles E. Smith Life Communities toward the elderly, and on the part of the Washington community in support of our mission.
Today, more than 1,100 seniors make our campus their home, and close to 1,000 more take advantage of our outstanding Post-Acute Care Center each year to recover following a hospital stay. Please watch the video.