Program aims to keep seniors independent

FROM JEWISH FAMILY & CHILDREN'S SERVICE

The older adult services offered by Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF &CS) can help older adults stay independent, in their own homes, and active participants in the community for longer than used to be possible. Many families do not have the time or resources necessary to provide sufficient care for elderly loved ones. While some older adults may struggle with minor challenges, others are forced to make major life changes such as moving into a nursing home, which can result in a withdrawal from the community. Recognizing this, JF &CS offers several programs that make it possible for older adults to live more comfortably at home for a longer time.

The In-Home Services Program, part of older adult services offered by JF &CS, works with area home health providers to supply professionals who help older adults with their personal living needs. While some clients simply need assistance with groceries or transportation, others rely on the service for home healthcare following release from the hospital. The service can also help families whose own lives are stressed from the time and energy spent caring for an elderly loved one, such as providing respite for primary caregivers of hospice patients. Regardless, nobody is turned away due to a lack of funds. Clients pay based on a sliding fee scale with the remainder subsidized by JF &CS, through funding from the United Way and the Jewish Federation.

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Some clients of the In-Home Services Program live in what is called a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC), which refers to an area or building that has organically developed into a population of older adults. The three-square-mile NORC in St. Louis is home to approximately 3,000 residents age 65 and older. NORC is a government-funded program which, like the In-Home Services Program, aims to help people “age in place.” While the program offers social activities, exercise classes and group outings, it also funds counseling, homemaker and transition services through JF &CS. A partner in the NORC program, JF &CS has designated Toby Cremer as its representative for the NORC professional team. Cremer provides counseling for older adults in a variety of areas, including mental health, illness, grief, lifestyle transitions, family relationships or finances. She also provides care management for families and works with clients’ adult children to help keep the client independent, safe and healthy in their own home.

As with all of JF &CS’ programs, the In-Home Services Program and NORC are available to anyone who qualifies, regardless of religious affiliation. For more information, please call JF &CS at 314-993-1000 or visit www.jfcs-stl.org.