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November 09, 2006 - Image 15

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

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

and aging Jewish seniors who
have multiple problems that
require professional attention:'
he said.
"The data corroborate that
this will continue and will tax
JFS' service delivery system,
forcing the community to make
tough decisions about how to
care for its elderly"
The numbers also suggest
there are and will be fewer
family caregivers in the Detroit
Jewish community to partner
with agencies like JFS to care
for their aging parents. JFS and
its sister agencies will have to
play an increasingly larger role.

n the 1950s, the core Jewish
population in Philadelphia
nestled in row houses, small
apartment buildings and coopera-
tives in the, northeastern section of
the city.
As time wore on, the Jews
migrated to the suburbs, but many
of the elderly remained where they
were.
The Jewish Federation of Greater
Philadelphia has been seeking
ways to care for these seniors long
before the first NORC grant of
$950,000 came through in 2001,
said Sheva Cohen, Federation's
senior planning associate for
Elderly & Poverty Initiatives.
The funding ended July 1, and
Federation is picking up,"a great
amount of what had been funded:'
she said.
In 1994, Jewish Family and
Children Services began to work
on what they called STAR services
to apartments and coops with a
large concentration of elderly.
The elderly had enough money
to buy the coops, Cohen said, but
with dwindling savings, they were
beginning to become a needy
group of people.
"In addition, they were
becoming frail': Cohen
said. "The idea was to
bring social workers,
nurses and educational
sessions services to them
in the apartments.
"We are adding addi-
tional home care-repair
services and transporta-
tion': she said. `And home
assessments through:

occupational therapists, which
could lead to home modifications!'
A home repair program set up
for elderly residents maintaining
their row houses is a good way to
introduce other services, said Sam
Rosen, Federation's NORC project
manager.
"Our ability to help people
with simple things, like changing
light bulbs they can't reach in the
hallways, or tacking down a rug
or installing a motion detector
— things that make people feel
immediately more safe and secure
— is the draw to get them involved
in other things we know will help
them stay healthier;' Rosen said.
Aging in place doesn't mean sit-
ting alone in your home, he added.
Using the Jewish Community
Center is a key component in keep-
ing seniors active.
The northeast JCC branch
contains a senior center funded
by federal dollars, through the

Philadelphia Corporation for
Aging, which helps to support the
JCC infrastructure for services to
the elderly, Rosen explained.
Some 200 seniors a day eat
lunch at the JCC or at satellite areas.
Any senior who comes to the
JCC is enrolled in the senior cen-
ter and can participate in a wide
range of free and dues-paying
events. "They can come in once a
month and have lunch and a dis-
cussion of health issues and have
their blood pressure checked by
a nurse;' Rosen said. "Whether
it's a travel club, a discussion
group or a book club, we know
that folks who reduce social iso-

lation stay healthy longer."
"Professionals can understand
A membership program called
what else is being done for the cli-
SeniorCHAI has just been initi-
ent, and their history': Cohen said.
ated for the 850 seniors who have
"A transportation person is going
participated in the lunch program,
to know the frailties before they
she said. For $36 a person, you're
pick them up. The home repair
assigned a member service repre-
person will know the occupational
sentative."You can call this person
therapist limitations. This is just in
any time you want for any one of
the beginning stage!"
these programs you want to be
Rosen said seniors still slip
through the cracks.
connected to',' Cohen said: So far,
about 100 people have signed up.
"We know there's a population
Philadelphia has
extensive public
PHILADELPHIA
transportation, and
Population Study:1997
Pennsylvania has a state-
Rank: Eighth-largest Jewish population. -
wide senior shared-ride
Jewish population: 206,100
program, Rosen said.
Adults older than 65:20 percent
"Our folks who go to
the senior center can
get a ride just about
every day or to appoint-
ments, but the system
is over burdened': he
said. "We established a
small program within
our SeniorCHAI that
will bring any of our
seniors to the social-
ization programs and
provide individual
Sam Rosen and Sheva Cohen
transportation for any
number of purposes, ranging from of seniors out there who are frail
and who are unlikely to reach out
various medical appointments to
to us, and we're still struggling to
hairdressers to visiting a spouse
find them," he said. "Sometimes
in a nursing home. And we will do
those same folks won't accept ser-
group trips, like to our cemetery.
vice — they're too proud — but
For. our frail elderly, it's a system
we know there are people out there
that makes sense.'
who will age in place badly, and
Coordination is another key. A
they won't allow those connections
computer system linking relevant
to happen. That's the struggle for
Federation agencies allows easy
every program like ours all over the
access to the needs of each senior
country!' LI
client.

The Federation received two
NORC appropriations, $441,000
in 2003, and $489,000 in 2005,
that "provide aging-in-place
services to enable seniors to
stay in their homes longer and
to have an improved quality of
Ohren said. The "aging-in-
place" hub is the area immedi-
ately surrounding the Jewish
Community Center hub in Oak
Park, with nearby Highland
Towers and Lincoln Towers
apartments as the two residen-
tial hubs.
"The broad services are
culturally appropriate Ohren
said. "Geriatric care manage-

ment; health; Tai Chi; field
trips; information, referral and
assistance; transportation; and
interpretation."
Health, social and cultural
activities also are offered at the
JCC in West Bloomfield, Ohren
added.
"We are working on develop-
ing concierge services to help
seniors to age in place he said.
"These services wouldn't neces-
sitate living in a NORC [-hub
area], and could help seniors
with any personal and/or home
need or want. There will be
market-rate fees for this ser-
vice!"

After the NORC grants expire
in 2007, JFS has been trying
to "sell" the NORC concept to
housing communities, Ohren
said.
"We hope that likely purchas-
ers of the program might be
buildings where current pro-
gramming exists:' he said.
The federal government
might be helpful, he said.
"Language was just written
into the Older Americans Act
Reauthorization bill that does
not promise funding but sets
the stage for a stable and ongo-
ing national NORC program.
In coming months, the

iN

United Jewish Communities
[the umbrella Federation orga-
nization], will reach out to the
Administration on Aging on the
development of the new pro-
gram and work with Congress
on securing appropriations
to fund it in the coming year,
Ohren said.

Follow-up coverage of the task force

will include spotlighting Detroit

Jewish elderly services.

Golden Years on page 16

November 9 • 2006

15

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