Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE) was founded in 1965 to provide affordable, supportive housing for low-income older adults. Grounded in Jewish values, JCHE is open to seniors of all backgrounds and is home to a diverse population of 1,500 residents living in apartments across four locations in the Greater Boston area.
Our mission is to give every senior the opportunity to live a full life of connection and purpose in a dynamic, supportive environment—we call this Aging in Community.
A tireless commitment to improving the wellbeing of our residents is integral to this mission, and so in that spirit, we sought to equip them with the knowledge and tools necessary to deter the ubiquitous phone, mail and internet scams affecting Americans.
And while none of us are immune to scams, older adults tend to be more vulnerable—especially seniors with memory loss.
“Everyone had a story about being targeted by scammers,” recalls Jen Rich, JCHE’s Resident Service Coordinator, who organized two interactive scam prevention seminars at our Shillman House in Framingham, MA.
The first seminar featured Framingham Detective Sergeant Sean Riley, who gave a presentation to residents and their families on what residents should look for to detect scams. His tips included noting that the IRS will never call you without first mailing you a letter, and stressing the importance of never second-guessing yourself when you realize you’re being scammed.
During the second seminar, Shillman’s computer instructor showed residents what a phishing email looks like, and taught them how to differentiate between a real website and a fake website.
Several weeks later, JCHE’s Golda Meir House in Newton, MA invited the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office to give a presentation on the most common scams and the major warning signs. He even played recordings of real scams.
Residents were stunned to learn that many scams originate from criminals identifying their children and grandchildren on social media.
As residents shared their stories, our most heartbreaking takeaway was how ashamed they felt for having been taken advantage of.
But as the seminar progressed, residents felt more and more comfortable opening up about their experiences, and soon the feeling of embarrassment evaporated. This comfort, derived from knowing you’re not alone and that there’s someone to support you, epitomizes JCHE’s Aging in Community philosophy.
Every JCHE site has a computer center that offers individualized instruction
Middlesex Sheriff’s officer stops by JCHE to educate seniors on scam prevention