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November 02, 1979 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-11-02

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Friday, November 2, 1919 13

Boris Smolar's


`Between You
. . . and Me'

Emeritus, JTA
I, (Copyright 1679, JTA, Inc.)

JEWISH AGING: A new look at the problems of
Jewish aged in this country and Canada is now being taken
by the Council of Jewish Federations. The continuing in-
crease in the Jewish aging population — particularly of
those over 75 years old — is creating new challenges for the
organized Jewish communities. They will be discussed at
the CJF General Assembly Nov. 14-18 in Montreal.
. The great majority of those older than 75 seek admis-
sion into homes for the aged administered by Jewish com-
munal agencies. However, only a very small percentage are
accepted. The number ofJewish community nursing homes
throughout the country is comparatively very small —
about 100 — and their bed complement is very limited. A
candidate applying for admission must quality under
Medicaid regulations and must wait many months until a
bed becomes available — usually after the death of a resi-
dent. The death rate is comparatively low because of the
special care.
A vastly expanded network of homecare services will
be required in the 1980s in finding life-serving alternatives
for the growing multitude of oldstersfor whom no place can
be provided in nursing institutions. Increased supportive
social and health services will also be needed for the 65-75
category living outside of institutions. Small Jewish com-
munities which have no community institutions for the
aged will face the problem of maintaining nursing home
care for _the growing number of needy elderly in other
THE CHALLENGES: The rapidly aging Jewish
population in the U.S. is older than any other religious,
racial or ethnic group in the country. More than 13 percent
of the Jewish population is over 65 years old, compared
with the general community norm of 10 percent. In
Canada, the Jewish community of Montreal is now plan-
ning care and service for 15 percent of its 125,000 Jews.
In New York, the average age of elderly Jews assisted
by JASA, an affiliate of the Federation of Jewish Philan-
thropies, is 79. Two-thirds are women and single.
With the American Jewish community having reached
a plateau in its birthrate, it is anticipated that in the 1980s
one of every six Jews will, by the end of the decade, be over
65. The jump will be about 40 percent over today's propor-
tion of Jews over 65. This calls for new planning perspec-
tives to meet the changing needs.
In 1974, the median age of Jewish residents in homes
for the aged in the U.S. was 83, with 66 percent being over
80 years of age. In housing projects for elderly Jews, the
median age was 75. The proportion of aged over 75 is much
higher today. The burden on the organized Jewish com-
munities is, of course, also much heavier because of the
mounting inflation.
MEDICAID AID "BOSS": The most difficult prob-
lem is the placing of aged in nursing homes. This is because
the actual decision of accepting an applicant into a nursing
home — including Jewish communal homes — lies practi-
cally in the hands of Medicaid, and not with the communal
agencies supervising the institutions.
Medicaid regulations provide that an elderly person
seeking admission into a nursing institution financed by
Medicaid must turn over all income, savings, pension and
other property to Medicaid, and also that the spouse must
carry this responsibility. The justification for this policy is
that Medicaid covers the full cost of maintenance of the
applicant when admitted, so that the aged resident is no
longer in need of funds of his own for the rest of his life.
Benefitting from this Medicaid system are the poorest
of the poor whose income comes mostly from Social Security
and who may have insignificant savings. Such elderly Jews
are willingly exchanging their small assets for permanent
care in a nursing home. Not so the elderly who may have
larger savings accumulated from better years. Any elderly
person who does not want to yield his financial possessions
to Medicaid, including joint accounts and part of the pos-
sessions of the spouse, can only be accepted as an individual
paying his own maintenance, which now exceeds $20,000 a
The Medicaid arrangement — which is a joint program
of the federal government and the individual states —
therefore enables only the very poor, or the very rich who
can afford to pay for themselves, to enter an institution for
elderly people.
INHUMAN SITUATIONS: The Medicaid system has
resulted in brutal situations in many middle-class Jewish
families. Anxious to avoid the handing over of their estates
to Medicaid, some elderly JeWish couples are undergoing
divorces after many years of happy married life. This in-
human procedure complies with the Medicaid regulations
which provide that after two years of divorced life, an aged
person can be accepted into a nursing home without the
spouse sharing responsibility to Medicaid. The spouse thus
retains the savings and other assets.




To be held at

1 9000 Hubbard Drive, Dearborn (across from the Fairlane Town Center)


Guest Speaker




I. William Sherr

Cocktails at 6:00 p.m.
Dinner at 7:00 p.m.

David B. Holtzman

The Honorable Chaim Herzog
(Former Ambassador of Israel to
the United Nations)

For Reservations, Please Call: 551-6150


Marvin Berlin
Harold Be7 -os
Max Biber
A. Howard Bloch
Ivan Bloch
Stuart Bloch
Borman's, Inc.
Jack J. Carmen
Ernest L. Citron
Irwin I. Cohn
Dr. Arnold Eisenman
Dr. Elmer Ellias
Louis H. Golden
Nathan I. Goldin
Dr. Joseph Goodstein

Samuel Hechtman
George Hill
David B. Holtzman
Arnold Joseff
Mrs. Morris Karbal
The Laven Family
Lopatin, Miller & Bindes
(in memory of
Esther Hecker)
Abe Malzberg
Sol & Anna Nusbaum
Family Foundation
Irving I. Palman
Jack Peltz
Alvin Reifman

Martin L. Abel
Norman Adelsberg
Norman Cottler
Henry Dorfman
Reubin Dubrinsky
Alan Feldman
Kenneth Fischer
Sidney Fischer
Dr. Phillip Friedman
Martin Goldman
Louis Haas
Peter Heiman
David Hermelin


Honigman Foundation
(in memory of
Sarah Honigman)
Dr. Joseph M. Jacobson
Alex Joseph
Frank W. Kerr Company
Eugene Kraus
Sol Lessman
Mrs. Marlene Mandell
Midwest Clayman Co., Inc.
Paul Newman
Dr. Lloyd J. Paul
David Pollack
Julius Roteoberg

Mrs. Gertrude Reifman
Alex Saltsman
Mrs. Emma Schaver
Robert A. Schwartz
I. William Sherr
The Stewart Family
(in memory of
Dorothy Stewart)
Max Stollman
Philip Stollman
Mr. & Mrs. Marvin M. Tamaroff
Mrs. Morris Yassky
Samuel Zack
Dr. Arnold Zuroff

Joseph Roth
(in memory or
William Roth)
Solomon Rothenberg
Jack Shenkman
Alvin Spector
Joseph Stewart
Lawrence J. Traison
Mel Wallace
Harold Warren
Irving Weiss
Paul Zuckerman

Guardians . . . Mr. and Mrs. Norman Allan

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