Saint John’s On The Lake commits $500,000 to develop Institute on Aging

St. John's on The Lake is planning a third tower on Prospect Avenue.

Senior living community Saint John’s On The Lake is committing $500,000 to develop a new institute aimed at expanding its outreach and education initiatives in the community.

St. John’s on The Lake

The development of the Institute on Aging at Saint John’s is in the preliminary stages as the organization considers how to bring its aging-related resources to the community, said Renée Anderson, president and chief executive officer of Saint John’s.

The idea for the institute was born out of recent conversations with stakeholders, board members and staff members about opportunities to grow the organization’s reach and impact.

“We were presented with a concept by a very well connected and driven resident who proposed that we look at some opportunities that we provide to people who live here and use that as a platform to launch an institute that would offer those same opportunities to people in the community,” Anderson said.

A group of about 10 stakeholders is developing a plan for the institute and the organization is reaching out to a long list of community partners to gauge their interest in the initiative, Anderson said.

The nature of the institute’s work will likely depend on who decides to partner with the organization, Anderson said. It will build on Saint John’s existing initiatives, including its annual week-long symposium on aging and a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee course hosted at the senior living community, in which its residents help educate UWM students about aging.

“We have had a few meetings, talking about how we can identify our core competencies and identify gaps in community, and work with partners to help those who don’t live at Saint John’s to experience some of the positive aspects our residents enjoy,” she said. “That could look like work related to chronic conditions, poverty and discrimination, the negative conditions that older adults in the community deal with.”

While the institute will ultimately require outside funders, Saint John’s foundation pledged its initial commitment to get the idea off the ground, Anderson said.

The institute would be housed on Saint John’s campus, using existing meeting and auditorium space, and would be staffed by Saint John’s employees, she said.

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