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November 09, 2006 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-11-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Golden Years,
Bright Ideas

Here's how other cities are coping
with an aging Jewish population.

and Washington, D.C., as cities match-
ing Detroit's demographic makeup with
regard to an aging population.
They have a head start on Detroit because
t should come as no surprise that the Detroit Jewish community is home to
their
population studies were completed before
the largest percentage of Jewish elderly in the country outside of the retir-
ours,
but Detroit is not that far behind.
ees' havens in the Sunbelt.
From professionals in each
We're an aging family and, once the wave of Baby
community,
we learned the com-
Boomers has reached retirement age, the needs for elder
mon
thread
is a grant program called
care among all economic levels will explode.
k*.
NORC
(Naturally
Occurring Retirement
Dr. Ira Sheskin highlighted this point when he presented
Communities).
the finalized 2005 Jewish Population Study on Oct. 23
Launched in 2001 by.the New York City-based United
at a public meeting. Sheskin, director of the University of
Jewish
Communities, North American Federations'
Miami-based Jewish Demography Project, had released
umbrella
organization, NORC is a collaborative proj-
preliminary findings to community leaders in June.
ect
of
41
communities in 25 states that have received
With survey results in hand, the Jewish Federation of
grants
from
the federal government totaling $22.2
Metropolitan Detroit assembled a task force to explore
million
for
programs
to allow seniors to age in place in
ways to handle the burgeoning number of seniors among
neighborhoods
or
buildings
in which a large segment of
the 72,000 Jews living in our 30,000 households.
the
residents
are
older
adults.
Ira Sheskin (right) shares a laugh with Detroit
Just as we struggle with this issue, other Jewish com-
While our task force is gathering information, the
munities grapple with the same growing problem, amplified Jewish Population Steering Committee co-
programs
created or bolstered by NORC grants in these
by the fact that people often are living longer and main-
, chairs Dr. Lynda Giles of Bloomfield Hills and
other
communities
may help us plan a future strategy
taining health longer.
Michael Stein of Birmingham during the Oct.
for
Detroit.
Sheskin, who has conducted 37 similar studies across
23 presentation.

Stories by Harry Kirsbaum
Staff Writer

I

the nation, identified Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland

Oldies But Goodies
In Motown

F

or Detroit leaders, the
2005 Jewish Population
Study results about our
large aging population crystal-
lized the need to formulate
plans for the future.
"Obviously, we have some
wonderful agencies that have
been acting collaboratively on

14

November 9 a 2006

older adult issues:' said Robert
Aronson, Federation CEO. "We
have great housing in the com-
munity, but I don't know where
our shortcomings are yet. I
know we have them, but we
really have to look at the whole
range of services.
"We're going to have to focus
more on wellness, and more on
keeping people comfortable and
well cared for in a home setting,
and develop services not only
for those who can't afford them,
but for those who can."
Robert Naftaly, who co-chairs
the Federation task force on the
elderly with Allan Nachman,

Perry Ohren, director of com-
said the 12-member group is
munity support services at the
in the information-gathering
Jewish Family Service, looks at
stage.
"The need for services for the the population data and says,
aged is pretty apparent," he said. "The data confirm what JFS
"As to knowing what
those services are,
DETROIT
what gaps there are
Population study: 2005
and the costs involved, Jewish population: 72,000
we're not there yet.
Rank: 21st-largest Jewish community
"We've got a half-
Adults older than 65: 24 percent
dozen meetings
arranged between
lives every day — these past
now and the end of year, so we
several years we have to do
hope to get this done by the
spring. All agency directors are
more with less.
"We are busy helping a grow-
coming in to see us at our next
ing number of increasingly frail
meeting."

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