Founded in 1817, Ralston Center was Philadelphia’s first home for aging women and single women who had fallen on hard times and later evolved to serve the health and wellness needs of seniors in West and Northwest Philadelphia. In the latter decades of the 20th century, Ralston leased its historic building to the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute on Aging, Penn’s Geriatric Medicine practice, and other related geriatric research programs, focusing on public wellness programs and supportive services for older adults in West and Northwest Philadelphia.
Its public programs went virtual during the 2020 pandemic. In 2023, in response to changing demographics, healthcare inequities, and an aging population, Ralston Center sold the Ralston House property, and relaunched as The Sarah Ralston Foundation funding organizations providing services and programs that include:
Access to affordable, equitable and high-quality care
Behavioral and mental health issues
Caregiver support (family and significant others)
Housing (including older adult homelessness)
Loneliness and social isolation issues
A timeline of our journey caring for older adults since 1817 (PART 1 of 2)