Living comfortably and independently as we age is something we all aspire to for ourselves and our loved ones. Jewish Family Service (JFS) works tirelessly serving the aging population in our community while assisting their family members and friends. However, more help is needed. With a focus on empowering the individual, the Agency is developing a more comprehensive aging adult program to further meet the needs of this growing population in our community regardless of background or religious affiliation. But JFS cannot do it alone!
Kicking off this initiative is the JFS Spring Celebration to be held on Sunday, June 2nd. The event will honor all 18 JFS past Board presidents who have had a great impact on our local community and who fully support the expansion of these vital services. Those being honored are: Darcy McGraw Altman, Charlotte Brenner, Rabbi Gerald Brieger*, Richard Epstein, Jack Fast, Betsy Fiske, Cindy Papish Gerber, Steve Jacobs, Ivan M. Katz, Beverly Levy*, Herbert S. Newman, David Ottenstein, Linda Randell, Carol Robbins, Rosalyn Sperling, Marvin Teplitzky*, Mary Lou Winnick, Peter Zackin (*Of Blessed Memory).
As an individual’s physical strength and mental acuity decline, this complex part of life requires constant attention to wellbeing. “As an adult with an aging parent, I am acutely aware of the demands of caring for a parent and other aging family members. Grief from loss, managing chronic health issues, social isolation, depression and anxiety are very real issues that can be difficult to navigate alone,” notes Peter Zackin, Past President. Often, family members must provide assistance to their loved ones. However, this level of care is not always feasible or affordable. Many times, families are unaware of and overwhelmed by the myriad of services available to help their loved ones. This increased need for comprehensive case management is the impetus behind the agency’s expanded initiative and is critical in assisting families in managing these transitions.
Aside from case management services, individuals may need emotional support. “When I lost my husband of 52 years, I didn’t know where to turn. Thanks to the professionals at JFS, I’ve learned to cope with my grief and I am starting to enjoy the things I used to do again,” recalls a woman who continues to utilize the Agency’s services. JFS believes everyone should receive this type of care and emotional support so that individuals can live happily and comfortably. JFS licensed clinicians and case managers work diligently to develop individualized care plans and coordinate the essential services.
The need in the community is high, and in order to provide services to all who require them, JFS must grow its aging adult services. JFS social worker Liz Davenport, LMSW states “We do try to help everyone that seeks our services; however, sometimes we are forced to prioritize those individuals with the greatest needs. The demand from the community for elderly services is growing, and we want to ensure that everyone receives quality care in a timely manner.”
In order to achieve the agency’s objective of developing its Aging Adult Program, it requires expanding the current social work program. Chief Executive Officer, Amy G. Rashba, LCSW, articulates that the agency’s goal is to hire a fulltime licensed clinical social worker who is solely focused on the aging adult population. “As the baby boomers age, the need for case management will only continue to increase, and we want to make sure JFS is fully prepared to meet and exceed the community’s needs.”
For more information about the event, you can visit www.jfsnh.org. We hope you can join us for the Spring Celebration to support our efforts to provide care for our aging adult community. For tickets or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Rachel Scolnic-Dobin at (203) 389-5599 ext. 109. In addition, if you or a loved one needs support or assistance, please call Aging Adult Case Manager Liz Davenport, LMSW, at (203) 389-5599 ext. 117.