Aging In Place the Jewish Way

We all want to grow older without getting old.

And most of us want to stay right where we are while that happens. There’s a term that’s been coined for that—aging in place. That means what are hopefully the golden years are lived out at home or in some form of independent living. In other words, any place but a nursing home.

Not only is such an approach preferable, it’s usually much cheaper. Sounds like an easy win-win. But there’s a catch. The concept is one thing, but executing it properly can be more complicated. This isn’t just a souped-up version of Meals on Wheels.

I was reminded of this while reading in the Detroit Jewish News about Village in the Woods, a program run by Jewish Senior Life that  provides services, programs, and companionship to seniors in Oakland County, Michigan, who opt to remain at home. Not only does the Village program focus on aiding seniors at home, it also offers access to a wide range of activities when they venture outside.

JSL’s Barbara Giles says: “It’s a matter of bringing together resources, with reliable, vetted vendors who can help you stay at home for the rest of your life. By joining a Village, you’re empowering yourself and taking control.”

This is also a topic we’re also interested in at JFN. In January we hosted a webinar about the Jewish philanthropic response to healthy aging, which focused on how to raise awareness about technology, housing, and other services that enable aging in place. It featured Michael Marcus, a program officer at The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and Audrey Weiner, President and CEO of Jewish Home Lifecare.

The discussion was well-received and if you missed it during the winter, it’s well worth catching up to. As the U.S. population gets older—the 85-and-over segment is the fastest-growing demographic—the philanthropic community can become vital partners in ensuring the needs of today’s seniors as well as our future selves are met.