Cedars, JCC merge Adult Day Services

BY JILL KASSANDER, SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH LIGHT

On March 1, the Cedars at the JCA discontinued its adult day services program and merged it with the Adult Day Services Program at the Jewish Community Center (JCC). The major decision had been in the works for months as the two agencies worked together to best serve the needs of the community.

“It is important to note this was an organic process started at the agency level,” JCC President and Chief Executive Officer Lynn Wittels said. “It is a perfect example of two agencies looking at what is in the best interest for the entire St. Louis Jewish community.”

The merger also shows the importance of collaboration, discussion and goodwill between agencies, said the Cedars Chief Operating Officer Cindy Forbis.

“We all have to make the best sense of our limited resources and how to put them to best use for the community,” Forbis said. “By uniting the two agencies, we take the best possible care of our seniors — for their benefit and for the whole community.”

The adult day services program at the Cedars was licensed to serve 24 participants while the JCC program is currently licensed for 40 participants. That number will increase to 56 participants when the program moves into their new space after renovations are completed at the Carlyn H. Wohl Building on the JCC Millstone Campus in Creve Coeur. The new state-of-the-art facility will make it possible to expand the adult day service’s intergenerational programming with the JCC early childhood center, provide more small group and individualized programs and have access to do more with JCC staff, services and programs.

“It makes sense for the program with the greatest capacity to continue,” JCC director of adult programs and services Susan Kaplansky said. “We make better use of our resources when we work together and try to eliminate duplication of services in the community.”

The two agencies have been working together over several months to create a smooth transition. The Cedars gave their participants and families notice of the closure and organized a field trip to the JCC Adult Day Services to acquaint them with the program and staff. Kaplansky said more than half of the Cedars participants have been integrated into the JCC program.

The JCC adult day services program has a great reputation in the community, said Kaplansky. Participants get two meals, a snack and a full day of recreational activities and socialization. There is a full time nurse on staff and before and after care is available to help accommodate working families. One unique feature of the JCC program is their door-to-door transportation.

“We have been working on a one-to-one basis with families to help make transportation accommodations as possible,” Kaplansky said. “We want to find the best way to transition participants and families and have everyone feel comfortable.”

The senior community has benefited from the example set by the cooperation of the two agencies.

“It is important to recognize which agencies are doing what programs and services the best, and let them do it, and do it well,” Wittels said. “It is more efficient and beneficial for the community than having everyone build their own silo and doing the same thing.”

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