Shared from the 12/16/2019 The Providence Journal eEdition

Saint Elizabeth Community head announces retirement


President and CEO Steven J. Horowitz is retiring from Saint Elizabeth Community in East Greenwich. [THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL / BOB BREIDENBACH]

EAST GREENWICH — The spirit of Saint Elizabeth Community, which serves some 3,000 Rhode Island elders in nine locations around the state, is embodied in photographs on a first-floor wall of the community’s Saint Elizabeth nursing home.

They depict many of the recipients of the organization’s Wish Project, which, as the name suggests, grants residents long-held but unfulfilled wishes.

“This is a woman, 102 years old, having her ears pierced,” said Community president and CEO Steven J. Horowitz during a tour on Sunday.

“This woman used to be a dance instructor and we got her private seating with the Rockettes before a show,” he said, pointing to another photo.

On Horowitz went, past photos of a man who attended a World War II reunion, residents who visited New York City, and other who wanted — and received — a vacation on Cape Cod. Plus, dozens more.

“We believe in meaningful lives,” Horowitz said. Lives that extend beyond the professional care provided in the typical nursing home and assisted-living facility. Socializing, adventure, and bright, comfortable surroundings are among the elements.

Horowitz, who came to the community in 1985 when the organization had two locations serving some 300 people, is retiring at the end of June. He announced his retirement Saturday to his staff, and in an interview told The Journal that staff and his board have been responsible for such significant growth — and a culture where meaningful lives are supported and celebrated.

“Our goal is to meet the needs of the individual, not meet the needs of a group, and I think that’s a big change” from the traditional elder-care model, Horowitz said.

From the Wish Project wall, Horowitz went to the second floor, where some residents were attending a religious service in the chapel. Down corridors festive with lights and other holiday decorations he went, greeting one of the home’s two cats and residents and staff, by first name. Many had just learned of his impending retirement and offered him praise and best wishes.

“We’ve all been together a long time,” Horowitz said. “We ‘grew up’ together.”

The outgoing president and CEO said he is “leaving this organization in good stead, but also leaving them a lot to do.” Which, he predicted, they would accomplish.

His future plans?

“I’m going to retire at the end of June and that’s when I will think about what I’m going to do next,” he said.

The Wish Project wall has a photo of an early trip and a proclamation:

“Wishes happen at any age for a wide array of things. Many wish for good health and happiness – wishes of a lifetime. Sometimes wishes are much simpler: The sand between my toes, to see the ocean, to visit with friends, a soft pillow, to enjoy a special meal. When you wish, the possibilities are endless.” gwmiller@

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