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Celebrating Four Decades of Compassion with COHME

COHME's 40th Anniversary

In 1983, in the heart of New York City, a single mother's ambition to provide dignified care for the elderly sparked the creation of Concerned Home Managers for the Elderly (COHME). 

This year marks the 40th anniversary of an organization that not only revolutionized home care for older adults but also advocated for women in a historically overlooked field.


A Visionary's Journey: Lucy Rosengarten's Legacy

Lucy Rosengarten, the founder of COHME, navigated the complexities of single motherhood and societal expectations to build an organization rooted in care and equality.


Inspired by personal challenges and professional gaps she observed, her vision was clear: to enhance the quality of life for the elderly while supporting those who care for them, predominantly women.

Rosengarten recognized the need for a holistic approach to elder care that included not only physical health support but also emotional and social care.


Lucy Rosengarten founded COHME with a mission deeply rooted in compassion and the desire to provide comprehensive, respectful care to the elderly.


Her vision was to create a home health care service that did more than just meet the basic medical needs of older adults—it was about nurturing their overall well-being and ensuring they lived their later years with dignity.

A core part of Lucy’s mission was to empower the elderly to maintain their independence for as long as possible. She believed that with the right support, older adults could continue to live fulfilling lives in their own homes, surrounded by memories and familiar comforts, rather than moving to institutional care settings. 

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Empowering Women Through Comprehensive Support


A striking aspect of COHME is its dedication to supporting women, who constitute 95% of its aides and a significant portion of its leadership and administrative staff. This focus aligns with broader societal shifts towards recognizing and rectifying gender disparities in unpaid and paid care work.

At COHME, women's leadership has been a defining characteristic since its inception. The organization not only supports the elderly through home health care but also empowers women to lead at every level of its operations.  

Following in the footsteps of COHME's founder, Lucy Rosengarten, and other pivotal leaders like Denise Kellen, Carol Kamine Brown and Laura Radensky have played a critical role in both day-to-day operations and broader strategic initiatives.

Dedicated Support for Home Health Aides: A Pillar of COHME's Success

Over its forty-year history, Concerned Home Managers for the Elderly (COHME) has not only provided exemplary care for the elderly but has also established a remarkable support system for its home health aides. This backbone of COHME's service delivery is essential to its mission, focusing equally on client care and the well-being of the aides themselves.

From its inception in an apartment to becoming a beacon of elder care, COHME was founded with a vision of comprehensive support. Lucy Rosengarten, COHME's founder, believed in nurturing her staff as much as her clients, blending professional development with personal care which was a revolutionary approach at the time.


Lucy’s vision encompassed not just hiring aides but nurturing their careers. This philosophy ensured that even as COHME grew, it remained a place where aides could find long-term, rewarding careers.Many aides have been with the organization for decades, a testament to the supportive work environment and the career advancement opportunities including quarterly training sessions which were innovative at the time.

Innovative Care: The Role of Social Workers at COHME

At the heart of COHME's exceptional service delivery is its unique integration of social work into home health care, which significantly sets it apart from typical agencies. This commitment ensures that every client receives comprehensive care that addresses both their medical and social needs, all at no additional cost.

A social worker functions alongside the family and loved ones as a part of the older adult's support system, which is one of the most important aspects of senior care.

COHME's approach to integrating social work into the home health care system was both innovative and ahead of its time. Starting with city funding, grants, and donations, COHME developed a role specifically designed to support home health aides and provide additional social work services to families. This not only stabilized aide incomes but also elevated the level of care provided to clients.

COHME was among the first to emphasize the importance of mental health awareness, particularly relating to conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's, long before these became standard considerations in elder care.

This approach not only ensures holistic care that is attuned to the nuanced needs of the elderly and their families but also sets COHME apart as a leader in compassionate and comprehensive home health care. 

As COHME celebrates its 40th anniversary, it continues to set a benchmark in the field with its model of integrating social workers at no additional cost for every client.

As COHME looks towards the future, the commitment to its founding principles remains steadfast. The next generation of leadership is expected to uphold the organization's legacy of care and compassion, navigating new challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing world.

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