Caring for Seniors in Westchester
By Judy Fink, Director of Senior Services
at Westchester Jewish Community Services
Providing services to seniors is part of our mission at Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS), which, launched in 1943 and is one of the county’s largest human service agencies. Our wide array of senior programs is aimed at helping older adults remain engaged in their community and age safely in place, whenever possible. Here are some of the services we offer for seniors, the fastest growing age group in Westchester County:
• The WJCS Geriatric Care and Case Management team assesses and assists clients, families, and caregivers by providing them with information and assistance about programs, services, benefits, and entitlements available to seniors in Westchester County. We also offer mental health counseling, when needed. To help keep isolated seniors from feeling lonely, WJCS Health and Healing Services provides support groups, telephone reassurance calls, and social activities.
• Recognizing that attending to the medical, emotional, cognitive, social, and practical needs of seniors can feel overwhelming, WJCS also offers many programs and services to support caregivers. The WJCS Addressing Alzheimer’s program addresses the needs of individuals and families who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. It provides counseling, support groups, and resource referrals.
• For those concerned about senior family members who may wander or get lost, the WJCS Project Lifesaver program offers locator bracelets that use state-of-the-art radio frequency technology that can locate wandering or lost seniors.
• When caring for a senior 24/7 it can feel impossible to find time for yourself. The WJCS Project Time-Out program offers much-needed respite services, allowing caregivers the opportunity to attend to medical, social, recreational, or business matters, while the Project Time Out consultant provides companionship as well as supervision to the client.
• WJCS staff and volunteers deliver kosher meals to homebound Jewish clients, including Holocaust survivors and other vulnerable and isolated seniors who are unable to shop or order groceries online. WJCS partners with Hope Community Services to provide grocery package deliveries to homebound seniors.
• WJCS launched the first NNORC (Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) in Westchester County. The NNORC, created in partnership with the City of Yonkers Office for the Aging, provides a wide range of activities (including fitness, gardening, and art classes), services (including transportation to medical appointments), and resources to seniors aged 60 and over in Northeast Yonkers to help them maintain their quality of life and independence, and remain connected to their neighborhoods. It is funded by a grant from the New York State Office for the Aging.
• WJCS’ Livable Communities Program provides health, wellness, educational, and cultural programs as well as support services to enhance the quality of life for seniors and caregivers in Westchester County.