December 25, 2008
MetroWest CARES, the Committee Addressing Resources for Eldercare Services, is coordinated by United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ and brings together professionals and lay leaders from MetroWest agencies that provide services to older adults. Each month, a MetroWest CARES agency presents an educational column on an eldercare issue. This month’s column is presented by UJC, the organization that answers Jewish needs and builds Jewish community in MetroWest, Israel, and around the world. Locally, UJC works in partnership with 20 community agencies to help meet the educational, vocational, recreational, and social needs of people in the Jewish and general community.
When MetroWest CARES, the Committee Addressing Resources for Eldercare Services, began a monthly eldercare column in January, we planned to address classic issues affecting families caring for aging members and the challenges of older age. We developed articles of local interest using both national data and knowledge of the MetroWest population.
For example, on a national level, demographic data from the U.S. Administration on Aging tells us:
- We are long lived: In 2004, Americans who were 65 years old had an average life expectancy of an additional 18.7 years, with 20 years for women and 17.1 years for men.
- Older men are much more likely to be married than older women — 72 percent of men versus 42 percent of women in 2006.
- Isolation and loneliness are likely for older women: Half of women age 75 and older live alone.
We estimate there are currently 21,000 members of the Metro
West community who are over age 65, and 1,800 over 85. While many adults age 65 and older are in good health and self sufficient, an estimated 1,600 require personal assistance to remain in their own homes. And, while 12.9 percent of New Jersey residents were over 65 in 2006, approximately 16.9 percent were 65 and older within the MetroWest community.
We are aging faster, living longer, and more likely to live alone, and many of our community members, especially those ages 85-plus, require direct help to maintain themselves in their own homes. MetroWest CARES agencies offer assistance with transportation, home maintenance, coordinating in-home medical services, case management, care planning, appropriate housing, residential long-term care, employment for older adults, and much more. Services span the needs from the newly retired to frail elders, from older adults living in their own homes or senior apartments to people needing long-term care.
Our monthly eldercare column has been one way of introducing families and older adults throughout the community to these crucial and life-enhancing services. Each article was written by an agency executive, collaborating professionals, or a guest expert. Through these columns, our agencies and their leaders have shared their knowledge, offered insights on aging in a Jewish context, and shown us how MetroWest is a strong and compassionate community as demonstrated by the high-quality programs we deliver to older adults and family caregivers. NJ Jewish News readers were introduced to a network of aging services and learned about how MetroWest agencies work together to meet the growing needs of an aging community. Caring for our older adults is a community responsibility, and these articles illustrate how MetroWest cares for its elders.
The columns offer a launch point for accessing key eldercare services in our community and show the breadth, depth, and expertise of our local agencies. For both caregivers and older adults, many topics will be relevant, either now or at some point in the future. Thus, links to the eldercare columns can be found on the UJC website (www.ujcnj.org) within the “eldercare pages.” Copies are also available upon request by calling UJC at 973-929-3193.
Look for new columns in early 2009 that address the challenges MetroWest families and older adults are facing right now, like making new friends and expanding your social network as an older adult, job seeking as an older worker, and relocating your aging parent or family member to the MetroWest community. MetroWest CARES agencies work to meet the evolving needs of our community as we grow older, together.
As the needs of our community increase, the demand on our agencies that serve older adults and their families are growing, due in no small part to the current economic situation. The MetroWest CARES agencies are working diligently to meet these challenges without diminishing the quality of service they provide to older adults in our community. Financial support is one of the most crucial ways in which you can demonstrate your belief in the work of the MetroWest CARES agencies. It takes less than you think to make a difference, and there are ways to structure a gift that can have financial benefits for you and your family. For more information, contact Erica Levin at 973-929-3003 or email@example.com.
Families and caregivers needing answers to broader eldercare questions and help with community resources can contact Elderlink — a portal to all MetroWest services for older adults and their families. Elderlink can be reached at 973-765-9050, ext. 511, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen Alexander is director of Eldercare Services for UJC MetroWest.
Articles are available on the UJC website
Articles are available on the UJC website (www.ujcnj.org) within the “eldercare pages” or by calling 973-929-3193.
- Holidays and Your Aging Parent — Jewish Family Service
- The Sandwich Generation — Jewish Vocational Service
- Do Not Forsake Me — Joint Chaplaincy Committee of MetroWest
- For Adult Disabled Age is Just a Number — JESPY
- Safer Transportation for the Older Driver — Daughters of Israel and JFS
- It’s Never Too Late to Plan for Future of Special Needs Adults — JSDD
- Four Steps to the Fountain of Youth — JCC
- Depression: The Reality of Aging? — JFS
- Finding the Right Place for Mom or Dad —– Jewish Community Housing Corporation
- Home, Safe Home —– Jewish Vocational Service
- Who Will Care for the Caregivers of Frail Elders? —– Joint Chaplaincy Committee of MetroWest