DuBOIS — It’s been more than two years since Pennsylvania’s first Elder Cottage made its debut in Sandy Township and the program, initiated by the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging, is still going strong.

“Most of you I remember when you took that leap of faith with us and brought the first Elder Cottage to Pennsylvania and Sandy Township,” said Julie Fenton, director of business development for the CCAAA, at the recent meeting of the township supervisors.

“I came here tonight to present you with a photo of the cottage and to let you know that the gentlemen in the cottage is doing very well,” said Fenton. “He has had no hospital stays since almost two years ago. His medications have been decreased. He’s less anxious and he can open his front door and let his dog out. So kudos again to all of you. I spent many a night here with all of you going through this because it was new to all of us. And I thank you so much for stepping outside the box as Sandy Township and bringing a first Elder Cottage here.”

She presented a photo of the first Elder Cottage placed in Clearfield County in Sandy Township.

Elder cottages are small, separate, manufactured residences that are temporarily placed in the side or rear yard of a host family for an older adult. The program aims to serve adults 60 years of age and older with incomes below 50 percent of the area median income who prefer to age in place. A host family is required to be related by blood or marriage to the senior they will host and agree to place the cottage on their property.

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These cottages are a vision of the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging’s CEO, Kathy Gillespie, along with the aid of Fenton.

Fenton said the CCAAA will be placing the third Elder Cottage in Clearfield County in January in Houtzdale, while another will be placed after that in Madera.

Fenton noted that there are probably about 15 Elder Cottages placed throughout the state.

“The Pennsylvania Department of Aging looked at what we were doing in Clearfield County and actually applied last year for a grant through the PHARE funding, which is housing money for other counties to do an Elder Cottage,” said Fenton. “That’s how we’re getting the third one. So we are continuing to apply for grant funding to pay for these cottages. And it’s affordable housing for people to be able to live close by with their relatives, but also (keep) their independence, right there on the property. So congratulations to you guys for being that one that stepped right outside the box. And I truly appreciate that. Walking that path with me was great. And I appreciate all of you.”

An Elder Cottage is just one of the numerous housing options made possible by the CCAAA. Other options included a Shared Home, located in Curwensville, numerous rentals, and the innovative Village of Hope to be located in LeContes Mills. To learn more about these options, to apply for placement, or to be placed on a waiting list for the Village of Hope, please contact CCAAA at 814-765-2696.

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