Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Federation Focuses on Seniors

Dr. Steve Solomon, JSSC Chair
On Friday morning the Federation’s Jewish Senior Services Council (JSSC) held its first “Aging Symposium” to discuss matters critical to seniors in our community. The symposium included an all-star list of experts in the realms of senior care, medicine, technology and health, which lead to an energetic discussion about the needs and concerns of our senior community. The symposium covered:
  • Conversations that need to happen to prepare for aging with dignity
  • Basics about hospice and navigating health care 
  • Civic engagement and options for seniors staying involved
  • The latest technology to help seniors age in place
  • The changing demography of family caregiving, and the new landscape of intergenerational care relationships.
The program opened with Rabbi David Kornberg delivering a d’var Torah, followed by opening remarks by Dr. Steve Solomon, JSSC Chair, who welcomed the distinguished panelists and over 50 attendees. He stated the important mission of the JSSC, which was created in 2004 as one of the first collaborative planning councils in the San Diego Jewish community, with a focus on strengthening services offered to older Jewish population countywide through coordination, collaboration and advocacy.

Dr. Solomon also shared some alarming statistics:
  • The number of Americans age 65 and older is expected to more than double by 2030 from 40 million today.
  •  In the American Jewish community, it is estimated that 25% of us will be 65 and older by 2030.
  • Today, in this population, 33% of older adults live alone, a percentage that increases to nearly 40% for the “oldest old” (those who are more than 75 years old). 
  • 95% of seniors prefer to live at home as long as they can.
Discussing critical issues regarding seniors
He went on to say "In San Diego County, housing, social security and nutrition are among the major issues facing our seniors. In the county’s Senior Health Report, 62.1% of seniors were reported as being overweight or obese. Mental illness, depression, diabetes and other health indicators are increasing in incidence. Lack of affordable housing, and health insurance coverage, as well as reductions in public programs and services for seniors, are also major issues. 

As Chair of the Jewish Senior Services Council, I believe that we are obligated to do a better job of caring for our Jewish elders and meeting our mandate of Tikkun olam, repairing the world. Many of you are doing outstanding work in your respective areas of expertise and/or in caring for a loved one. By working collaboratively I am certain that we can make a greater, lasting difference”

Paul Downey, President/CEO of Senior Community Centers
Dr. Solomon then introduced keynote speaker Paul Downey, President/CEO of Senior Community Centers who presented Aging Baby Boomers – What Does it Mean For San Diego? which addressed the oncoming "tsunami" of an aging population.  Downey delved into key issues of infrastructure, medicine, population and finances projected with the coming wave of aging baby boomers, and highlighted the importance of advocacy and discussion nessisary to mitigate pressures on our society.

A lively panel discussion ensued which lead to conversation between attendees and speakers on concerns, feelings and hopes for the future.  The speaker list and program can be found below.

As the JSSC wrapped up their first symposium, Dr. Solomon asked attendees and speakers to think about what we should do as a community to support our seniors, working together to plan, launch, evaluate and sustain an initiative for this cherished, vulnerable population. The JSSC will follow up with attendees and speakers to develop concrete actionable steps to make a world of difference for our seniors.

Panel Speakers and Presenters

About the Jewish Senior Services Council

The Jewish Senior Services Council (JSSC) was established to improve the quality of life for senior Jewish adults in San Diego County through community planning, collaboration, coordinated service provision and advocacy. JSSC was first convened in 2004 following the community strategic planning process, which identified caring for the Jewish elderly as a top priority.

Comprised of both volunteer and professional leaders, the JSSC is dedicated to helping the San Diego Jewish community determine, and work towards fulfilling, the priority needs of seniors. JSSC strives to help maximize the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of current senior services. The Council also seeks to assist our community to stay current with best practices, to engage the best minds in the field in order to develop a vision for a thriving senior Jewish community, and support innovative efforts to achieve this long-term vision.

JSSC is an integral part of Federation’s Community Planning & Innovation Center, and seeks to serve as a community voice for supporting senior services in San Diego County. Partner organizations on the Council include, Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego, Jewish Family Service of San Diego, Jewish Federation of San Diego County, Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, Lightbridge Ohr Ami Hospice, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, San Diego Rabbinical Association, Seacrest Village Retirement Homes, Senior Community Centers, St. Paul’s Senior Homes & Services and others.


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