Self-Help for the Elderly -- Helping Seniors Help Themselves Since 1966


| 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s |


  • Self-Help for the Elderly (SHE) opens its doors at 3 Old Chinatown Lane in San Francisco and begins a “war on poverty” program.

1971 - 1973

  • Self-Help for the Elderly participates in the first White House Conference on the Aging. SHE is used as a model aging program serving an ethnic community.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly is incorporated as an independent non-profit organization. With initial start-up funding from the Economic Opportunity Council, SHE began by providing employment counseling and placement, hot meals, social services, escort services, outreach and housing assistance to seniors residing in the Chinatown community of San Francisco.
  • First meal site for seniors opens at Cumberland Church.
  • Housekeeper Training Program begins. And two years later, a program to train home health aides was launched. These programs provided job training and placement to older, mostly monolingual Chinese women who had few opportunities to obtain employment which paid even a minimum wage or provided benefits.
  • Nutrition Program begins under contract with the State Department On Aging.

1974 - 1976

  • Nutrition Program adds new sites in Aquatic Park, Downtown Senior Center, Telegraph Hill and Jean Parker School.
  • Home Health Aide Training begins as a demonstration program with a grant from Older Americans Act.
  • Senior Employment and Training Unit begins, with assistance from a Comprehensive and Training Act contract.>
  • Four years after initial application, Self-Help for the Elderly becomes a member agency of the United Way.


  • Self-Help for the Elderly moves from Old Chinatown Lane to 640 Pine Street and becomes a one-stop multi-purpose senior program.
  • The San Francisco Commission on Aging grants a contract to set up the Housing Unit providing direct assistance, tenant education and counseling.

1981 - 1983

  • Self-Help for the Elderly holds its first Annual Fundraising Dinner to benefit senior programs, honoring the late Cyril Magnin.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly holds its first Lion Dance Fundraising event.
  • Richmond District Nutrition Program providing meals and support services.
  • Chinatown Nutrition Program finds permanent home at Geen Mun Center.
  • Self-Help HomeCare is established. It is licensed by the State of California to provide skilled nursing and home health services. Today, SHE is a major provider of bilingual and bicultural skilled nursing, home health and in-home supportive services to frail seniors.

1984 - 1985

  • Self-Help for the Elderly receives a $3.6 million grant from U.S. Housing and Urban Development for a 70-unit housing project for low-income seniors.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly holds its first annual Golden Gait Walkathon.

1986 - 1988

  • The Self-Help for the Elderly Foundation is incorporated.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly moves to 445 Grant Avenue, San Francisco.
  • Amber Glow Residential Care Home opens in San Francisco.


  • Construction for Lady Shaw Senior Center and housing complex begins above the Broadway Tunnel.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly opens the Palo Alto Center, its first program in Santa Clara County.



  • Self-Help for the Elderly moves to its permanent home at 407 Sansome Street in San Francisco.
  • With funding from the Aging and Adult Services in San Mateo, Self-Help for the Elderly opens its first center in San Mateo.
  • The San Mateo Center adds the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP).
  • The South Sunset Center opens in the Sunset District.

1993 - 1994

  • Sunrise Center (now, Zung Sieu Longevity Garden) begins serving the South Bay community.
  • The Daly City Senior Center, targeting Filipino American seniors, opens its doors at St. Andrew’s Parish Hall.



  • The Adult Day Health Care Program opens in San Francisco's Richmond District.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly begins a limited Chinese program at St. James Center in San Jose.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly opens the Northeast Senior Central, our first Senior Central.


  • Social Services Department is created. Programs include Northeast Senior Central, Housing, Naturalization, Elder Abuse and Social Services at Geen Mun.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly becomes the designated lead agency of one of four Citizenship Hubs in San Francisco assisting thousands of Asian immigrants through the naturalization process.


  • Outer Sunset Senior Central opens. Agency begins to serve Russian-speaking seniors.
  • The San Francisco Technology and Information Empowerment Center opens its doors at its Grant Avenue location. The center was designed to increase older adult computer literacy and technology access.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly adds the Woolf House Center and Canon Kip Nutrition Program.


  • Self-Help for the Elderly begins a senior nutrition program at St. James Center in San Jose.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly's Nutrition Program adds two centers -- Casa Del Pueblo in San Jose and Mendelshon House in San Francisco.
  • Social Services Worker positions are created for the Northeast, Outer Sunset, Visitacion Valley neighborhoods.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly acquires the building at Geary & 22nd Avenue to expand the Jackie Chan Center and relocate the Richmond Senior Center to a larger space.


  • Self-Help for the Elderly opens the third Senior Central in the Inner Sunset / Haight Ashbury neighborhood.
  • Case Management Services for limited-English speaking seniors added to San Mateo programs.
  • Nutrition program begins service at the Iola Williams Center and Berryessa Community Center in San Jose.
  • Emergency In-Home Supportive Service program renamed Elder Care at Home and expands in December 2000. Escort Program begins providing service.
  • Secured funding to begin a non-medical in-home care program for individuals recently discharged from the hospital.


  • Inner Sunset Social Services Worker position created.
  • Self-Help receives a major gift from the Tom family to convert the Nam Yuen Building at 740 Washington Street in Chinatown into an Adult Day Health Center and senior center to be named the Do Hing Tom Senior Center.
  • Autumn Glow, a 15-bed Housing and Urban Development 811 Residential Care Facilities for Elderly opens to provide 24-hour care and supervision to seniors with Alzheimer’s disease in San Francisco’s Western Addition.
  • Adult Day Service and Social Services collaborate to begin a new Caregiver Training Program and in-home Respite Program for families of frail seniors.
  • San Mateo begins serving Home Delivered Meals in Daly City and begins a Brown Bag Food Program in San Mateo Center.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly begins a partnership with Daly City and other Community Based Organizations to create the Adult Community Connecting Education, Service and Support program (ACCESS). ACCESS is a multicultural, advocacy outreach program connecting older adults with community resources.
  • UPS Foundation awards Self-Help for the Elderly $50,000 to expand the Jackie Chan Center and the Richmond Senior Center.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly kicks off a $1 million Capital Campaign for a permanent site in San Jose. Board begins seeking an ideal location for the future home of SHE's South Bay multipurpose senior complex.
  • Congregate nutrition lunch program expanded from 4 days per week to 5 days for San Mateo Center.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly opens the Clementina Center.


  • Senior Centrals are re-named to Resource Centers for Seniors and Disabled Adults. Self-Help for the Elderly opens the fourth Resource Center in Central City and operates sites in Northeast, Inner Sunset, Haight Ashbury and Outer Sunset neighborhoods.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly begins a 5-day Senior Nutrition and Senior Center in Cupertino. A Wellness Project is added for all regions.


  • Self-Help for the Elderly adopts a new logo for the Agency with the peach symbolizing longevity.
  • DCL, a long-time Agency supporter, celebrates its 20th Anniversary by sponsoring an exclusive event at the new Asian Art Museum for Friends of Self-Help for the Elderly.

2004 - 2005

  • Celebrity Jackie Chan attends a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the expansion of the Jackie Chan Nutrition and Senior Center and sponsors a special screening for his documentary film.
  • Self-Help purchases Amber Glow, the future South Bay headquarters of Self-Help for the Elderly, located in San Jose.
  • Self-Help for the Elderly opens a Technology & Information Empowerment Center in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.


  • Manilatown Senior Nutrition program relocates to I-Hotel.


  • SHE's Naturalization Program received an Award for Excellence in Multicultural Aging from the American Society on Aging (ASA) at their National Conference in Chicago. These awards are given to organizations that demonstrate high quality, innovating program that enhances the lives of a multicultural aging population.
  • Self-Help opens its first location in Alameda County -- Lincoln Court affordable senior housing in Oakland’s Dimond District.