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
population studies were completed before
the largest percentage of Jewish elderly in the country outside of the retir-
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
we learned the com-
Boomers has reached retirement age, the needs for elder
is a grant program called
care among all economic levels will explode.
Dr. Ira Sheskin highlighted this point when he presented
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
Communities, North American Federations'
Miami-based Jewish Demography Project, had released
organization, NORC is a collaborative proj-
preliminary findings to community leaders in June.
communities in 25 states that have received
With survey results in hand, the Jewish Federation of
the federal government totaling $22.2
Metropolitan Detroit assembled a task force to explore
to allow seniors to age in place in
ways to handle the burgeoning number of seniors among
in which a large segment of
the 72,000 Jews living in our 30,000 households.
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-
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
may help us plan a future strategy
taining health longer.
Michael Stein of Birmingham during the Oct.
Sheskin, who has conducted 37 similar studies across
Stories by Harry Kirsbaum
the nation, identified Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland
Oldies But Goodies
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
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
"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,
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
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