Many of us have an elderly Jewish family member, friend or neighbor who could benefit from greater care. The number of San Diegans ages 60 and older is projected to more than double in the next 17 years, by then 25% of Jewish Americans will be 65 and older, and 90% of elders prefer to age in their own homes and neighborhoods.
Recognizing these facts, that challenges faced by thousands of San Diego’s estimated 25,000 elderly Jews are increasing as public funding for needed services declines, while the prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s increases, the Jewish Senior Services Council (JSSC) identified “aging in place” as the top priority to deepen our community’s caring for seniors. With the leadership of Steven D. Solomon, Ph.D., who served as JSSC Chair, and Lisa Haney, Director, Community Planning & Innovation Center, an Aging Task Force worked for nearly 20 months, examining local and national research, listening to community members and speaking with informed professionals to develop a local blueprint for action.
An innovative SeniorLink Gateways to Care emerged as the #1 recommendation for helping elders live in their own homes safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of income, age or ability level, through a collaboration of agencies providing outstanding services to Jewish seniors. Hubs located in diverse geographic regions of San Diego County would facilitate far easier access to the full range of greatest identified needs including medical and dental care, religious practices, home repairs and maintenance, wills and financial assistance, hospice and burial care, friendly visitors, civic engagement, volunteer opportunities and others services to alleviate isolation.
For more information about the plan of action and the respective community representatives who participated in an Aging Symposium and the development of the “Aging in Place, Deepening OurCommunity’s Caring for Elders” blueprint for progress, please see click here. As Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children…but the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.”