Rose Kleiner

1925 – 2001

Pioneer in serving the aging population and their families

Rose Kleiner was an immigrant, coming to this country in 1939 from her native Poland. After raising her two children, they gave her a briefcase for her 49th birthday. She took it as a hint that she should have a career and she enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Social Work where she received her Master’s degree in 1979. She went on to earn accreditation from the Academy of Certified Social workers and became a licensed clinical social worker.

Upon graduating, Kleiner discovered that older citizens needed physical and administrative help and various home-care services. Using her own capital, she founded Older Adults Care Management (OACM) in Palo Alto, California, one of the first private geriatric care management agencies of its kind. She also helped create the Western Chapter of the National Association of Private Geriatric Care Managers.

She had a vision of social workers as partners with family members, working together to assure that the needs of older adults would be met. Motivated by her own experiences of long distance caregiving for her mother and terminally ill brother, she helped to link her agency with a national network of private geriatric care managers.

To improve social work’s ability to attract and train skilled professionals to work with older adults, the Kleiner Family Foundation endowed a chair in aging at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Social Welfare, held by Professor Andrew Scharlach, the first endowed chair of its kind. She also helped to create the Center for Advanced Study of Aging Services, dedicated to preserving and promoting that vision through research and training activities.

Rose Kleiner was a visionary. She understood that the future of aging lies in the hands of young social workers, nurses, and para-professionals, and that this requires creating a new, more positive image of aging and older adults that begins early in life. To that end she encouraged the development of companion/aid human services curricula in community colleges and fought for the establishment of increased salaries for caseworkers.

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