Residents at Pennsauken Senior Residence Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

Pennsauken senior receives COVID-19 vaccine.

BURLINGTON, NJ – More than 40 seniors at Lutheran Senior Residence at Pennsauken, an affordable senior housing property, received their first COVID-19 vaccination this week. The Pennsauken site is one of seven affordable senior housing properties owned by Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey (LSMNJ) to offer the vaccine to its residents by partnering with Walgreens and CVS.

As a program of LSMNJ, a faith-based non-profit organization based in Burlington County which cares for more than 1,000 seniors across the state, Pennsauken Senior Residence was immediately included in the organization’s statewide plan for vaccination distribution. “LSMNJ owns and/or manages seven affordable senior housing properties and four affordable family housing communities,” explains Christine Lacy, executive director of housing for the non-profit. “Since the pandemic erupted in March of last year, our Pandemic Preparedness and Response Team, comprised of various LSMNJ health professionals and staff members, have prepared for the opportunity to vaccinate our residents.”

The Pennsauken senior apartment building, located at 5610 Route 130, provides 70, one-bedroom apartments developed exclusively for senior citizens. Residents must be at least 62 years of age and meet income eligibility requirements. Within the building they have access to social services provided by LSMNJ.

Craig Roscoe, MSW, a property manager and social services coordinator for LSMNJ, visits the seniors at Pennsauken weekly. “I coordinate various services in the community to help them maintain their overall wellbeing,” explains Roscoe. “I knew offering the vaccine to our residents, right in their building, would be well received,” he continues. “The residents are anxious to resume their normal daily activities, and getting the first dose of the vaccine puts them one step closer to this.”

Two residents of Pennsauken were quick to share their excitement about getting the vaccine. Therese Savarese, age 67 and a resident for nearly 3 years, was not nervous at all. “I’ve been watching the news and I consulted with my doctors,” she shared. Savarese, who’s scheduled to have surgery this spring, hasn’t let the pandemic stop her. “I take the Access Link to go to my doctor appointments and Walmart, and I also do virtual bible study at home.”

Therese Savarese and Betty Banks, residents of Pennsauken Senior Residence
Therese Savarese and Betty Banks, residents of Pennsauken Senior Residence, receive first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Savarese’s fellow resident and good friend, Betty Banks, age 87, also received the vaccine. Banks has been a resident at the senior housing community for 13 years. “My son-in-law is a veteran and he got his vaccine, so I was fine with getting mine.” When asked how she has been managing during the pandemic, Banks expressed that she was upset she couldn’t go to the gym because she has a lifetime membership. “I do most of my cooking at home and have dinner at my daughter’s house every Sunday,” she explained. Therese and Betty check in on each other often at the apartment building.

Betty Banks and Krystal Acevedo
Betty Banks (right) consults with Krystal Acevedo (left) before receiving her COVID-19 vaccine.

At this week’s COVID clinic, the resident’s received the Pfizer vaccine, administered by Walgreens. And even though nearly half of the residents participated, there are other residents who were unsure about receiving the vaccine. For those, another opportunity will come on February 24th, when Walgreens returns with the second dose. “At the next clinic, any remaining residents will have another chance to get the vaccine,” included Roscoe.

To find out more about becoming a resident of Pennsauken Senior Residence, or any of LSMNJ’s affordable housing properties, visit the Housing page.