#FUVLove: A Nursing Home in Riverdale Proves It's...
Senior citizens at the Riverspring Hebrew Home in Riverdale, New York find love and intimacy, thanks to the nursing home's dating services.
(Photo: Pexels.com/Murilo Folgosi; Illustration: Hailey More for WFUV News; Graphic: Valeria Villarroel for WFUV News)
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At The Riverspring Hebrew Home, it’s never too late for love. The nursing home in Riverdale, New York has a progressive approach to helping its residents find love later in life. It's called "G-Date" or "Grandparent Date." The program matches residents with similar interests and sends them on dates. Residents can opt into the program, inspired by the app J-date, by filling out a short survey about themselves that social workers use to find them a date. The couples then go on a romantic date in the home’s coffee shop that overlooks the Hudson River.
Anne Weisbrod is the director of social services at the home and helps play cupid for some of the couples. “It gives them a wonderful sense of self,” she said. “It enhances their quality of life at the Hebrew Home, it gives them something to look forward to and it brings them back to a time in their lives that they may be missing.”
According to the staff, the residents at the Hebrew Home get excited about their dates. Weisbrod said they will get dressed up and the women will get their hair done at one of the home’s salons before they go out.
G-date is not the first romantic endeavor of the home. It also has a progressive "sexual expression" policy and was the first long-term care facility in the country to implement one.
Daniel Reingold is the president and CEO of Riverspring Health and the creator of the sexual expression policy. He said that he believes two consenting adults have the absolute right to engage in intimacy. “We felt then and we feel even more strongly today that sexual expression and sexual intimacy between consenting adults is not just a privilege, but a right,” he said.
Reingold said that when he created the policy there was a grey area where staff had to decide for themselves whether a couple could engage in intimacy. One day a nurse approached him in the hall and asked him what to do about a couple making love. Reingold said he told her to tiptoe out and close the door.
Reingold’s original advice to the nurse became the gist of the policy that tells staff when they should or should not stop couples from engaging in intimacy.
The policy, and training that goes with it, present scenarios to staff for when they should leave a couple alone or when they should intervene. It also protects the right of LGBTQ+ couples to engage in intimacy. Another important part of the training, according to Reingold, is recognizing consent.
“There are some beautiful relationships here and one of the things I’ve enjoyed seeing is when a couple finds each other here in the nursing home,” Reingold said. “One of the things that’s so remarkable about love and intimacy is to see a 90-year-old man and an 85-year-old woman and realize that love is ageless and that intimacy is ageless.”
The Riverspring Hebrew Home currently has about 12 couples who met there in residence.