Judy Freundlich, Guest Contributor
This article was originally published by the Courier-Journal on March 8, 2017 online and in the print edition on March 13, 2017.
It’s no surprise that with the baby boomer generation now reaching retirement age and older, the senior population in this country is quickly expanding, impacting the workforce, the senior services industry and more. It is believed that approximately 14.5 percent of the U.S. population is made up of those considered to be seniors – age 65 or older. To understand how rapidly this group is growing, projections indicate that by 2040, the senior population will grow to 21.7 percent.
With this population increase is another growth area: the “sandwich generation,” people typically in their forties and fifties responsible for raising their own children and for the care of their aging parents. This places enormous strain on individuals and communities, and support services are quickly emerging to meet those needs. This creates an economic impact when you consider the many services and products geared toward helping seniors as they age, such as medical care, in-home assisted care, assisted living resources and nursing home facilities. But it also creates both emotional and financial burdens on those struggling to care for loved ones.
This is where Jewish Family & Career Services can help. First, we are a nonprofit comprehensive human services organization providing a broad range of family and community services for every season of life. Our services are available to everyone – not just those in the Jewish community. We provide programs focusing on family, work, education, older adults, immigrants and refugees. We were founded in 1908 as the Federation of Jewish Charities, one of Louisville’s oldest human services organizations. Over the years, we have evolved from an organization that provided financial assistance, health care and childcare to immigrants from Eastern Europe to what we are today. We now provide care, counseling and guidance to people of any age, religion or ethnic origin. We are truly a community resource for everyone.
For the senior community in particular – a uniquely vulnerable group – we offer services that help them reclaim independence, provide access to many daily needs and requirements and allow them to live positive, productive lives. For example, our Passport Around Louisville Service (PALS) enables seniors who may not have access to transportation to run daily errands such as grocery shopping or doctor’s appointments. And our Senior Concierge HomeCare service provides personalized home care assistance, as well as companionship, escorts to appointments and events, or encourage simple socialization and conversation.
For seniors, we provide a range of other services, including counseling, assistance finding specific resources and assessment. We work frequently with the children of aging parents, helping to guide them toward helpful services and resources that will improve the quality of all lives and increase dignity as their loved one ages. Ultimately, we help the entire family.
We serve families through every season of life, including adoption, school tutoring, college test preparation, career planning and assessment, and of course programs for aging seniors. We take pride in our many programs – whether they are ACT preparation courses, adoption services or helping someone discover their true career path. We also guide individuals and families toward counseling services, offer multicultural and micro-business services, and even offer a food pantry to our members.
As noted earlier, JFCS was founded as an organization that provided assistance to immigrants. Today, we still remain very close to the immigrant and refugee community, by offering services and programs to engage them and enable them to achieve financial independence. We do this by providing financial education, refugee savings programs and direction to careers and employment, allowing them to serve as vital and productive members of our diverse community. On May 18, we will celebrate our proud and vibrant immigrant community and the values of diversity and inclusion with our MOSAIC Awards event.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about our organization and our services, please visit us at www.jfcslouisville.org. Additional information about us can be found on social media – on Facebook and Twitter.
We are here to serve the families in the entire community, through every season of life.
Judy Freundlich Tiell is the Executive Director of Jewish Family & Career Services.