Traditions: Evolution of Elder Care

For our Traditions column each month, Oregon Jewish Life typically asks a group of rabbis, cantors or educators a question relevant to the season or a theme in that issue.

This month, for our special section on seniors, we decided to ask professionals in the field of elder care to consider how traditional care for seniors is changing.

We asked several professionals the following question:

“Baby boomers’ expectations about aging differ from those of previous generations, which may have helped create the many
new trends in senior care. Please briefly discuss one trend in senior care or describe a way your organization is dealing with new expectations.”

David Fuks | CEO | Cedar Sinai Park

Independent, assisted and nursing home care; day care; affordable housing; and in-home care for seniors

The challenges of responding to the needs of the baby boom cohort as it ages will have a profound impact on senior care. We know that boomers are highly individualistic and want to do things their own way; perceive themselves as youthful and expect systems to accommodate their lifestyle choices; and have very high expectations for quality. Additionally, many do not have adequate savings for their senior years as a result of losses during the economic downturn or because their careers did not allow them to save.

Cedar Sinai Park is responding to all these factors. We continue to diversify our service mix to provide a range of choices. We are developing lifelong learning and social programs to accommodate boomers’ lifestyle choices. We are committing more to home- and community-based services to allow people who need assistance to live wherever they call home. Finally, we are investing in affordable housing and middle-income housing to provide access to downtown and community living.

Whether the staff person helping an elder in a community is called a case manager or a concierge will be a matter of nuance. What will remain consistent for the elders CSP serves is our commitment to provide a meaningful and Jewishly informed life to help them live with comfort, independence and dignity.

Parker Campbell | Director of In-Home Services | Terwilliger Plaza

A private, nonprofit, self-governed, diverse community for people 62+ in downtown Portland

For over 50 years, Terwilliger Plaza has been living out its mission of helping older adults lead vital and engaged lives within the Portland community. The city of Portland has grown and evolved over that time, but Terwilliger Plaza has continuously sought to meet the needs of its members in creative and substantive ways.

A recent development within Terwilliger Plaza has been the formation and implementation of the Plaza’s own licensed in-home care agency. For the past three years, these services have been promoted only to existing Terwilliger Plaza members and staff. However, we currently offer these services to a select group of individuals who have previously established contact with Terwilliger Plaza.

Our in-home care agency is set up in a slightly different way than the multitude of other agencies in the general community. We focus exclusively on individuals who have been in communication with Terwilliger Plaza. Like our members, we value education and the lifelong learning process. Our goal is to further the mission and vision of Terwilliger Plaza to all individuals that we are in contact with. We truly want seniors to be able to become a part of our community without leaving home.

Gary Warren | Executive Director | Pacifica Senior Living – Calaroga Terrace
One of Portland’s landmark senior communities providing both independent and assisted living

As recently reported in The Oregonian, Calaroga Terrace has developed a broad and far-ranging activity program. One component of this is our “Embrace the World” program. Every month this program visits a different geographical area of the world. In January, Calaroga residents learned how to play African drums, experienced an Ethiopian coffee ceremony and were visited by rain forest animals from the Oregon Zoo. In other months they learned how to play the Australian aboriginal didgeridoo, visited a mosque during evening prayer call, participated in a scotch whiskey tasting, and have enjoyed musical and dance performances from differing geographical areas. The foods of the areas are also explored with monthly “taste of’s” at happy hours, and a featured dinner offering a full menu of the foods of the region.

Calaroga Terrace also has a wide variety of cultural activities that include theater, symphony and art gallery outings as part of the regular calendar of events. All of these activities are intended to offer a wide variety of activities of interest to the residents and attractive to their families to participate in.

Michele Blackwell, MPA | Lifeline Program Director | Jewish Family & Child Service

Supports individuals and families through life transitions and personal crisis within context of Jewish values

The term “Sandwich Generation” is not necessarily a new concept – unless, of course, you are like me and find yourself unexpectedly confronted with the realities of a demanding and rewarding career, parenting a youngster and caring for aging parents – all at the same time. More and more, families find themselves in a similar situation. While caring for family is rewarding, new roles and differences of opinion about how to help parents as they age can cause stress for everyone involved. Jewish Family & Child Service assists families to navigate these often complicated and sometimes challenging life changes.

Our trained and compassionate staff help families identify needs, facilitate communication between family members, locate resources and support the family along their journey. Direct services include a consultation with a senior specialist, family meetings and support, VIP*Homemaker Services to assist seniors in remaining independent in their own homes, and case management. We connect families to Sinai Family Home Services when there is a need for personal care, or to our partner agency Cedar Sinai Park when assisted living or nursing home care is needed. The service network offered to seniors in the Portland community is a model for other communities around the country.

Merry Larsen | Marketing Director | Courtyard Village at Raleigh Hills
An active independent retirement community

Baby boomers don’t want to know they are getting older. My peers may not have said these exact words, but the consensus is we want to continue to be active. We want to “go out and try new things,” see the area with friends, experience variety in dining and stay physically fit, while finally having the time to “play” with both current and new friends.

Courtyard Village at Raleigh Hills has a few boomers in our mix, but many of our seniors are paving the way for this trend. Being a very social, active group of people, we provide many activities available for them to participate in the day and evening time (i.e., music, theater, dining, etc.). Courtyard Village is responding to the boomers’ concept of aging gracefully by expanding plans for a wellness center. Our culture has always been, “Give them what they want, and make them happy.” Baby boomers will fit in here just fine, when their time comes.

Ginni Kennedy | Executive Director | NorthWest Place
Luxury active retirement community offering independent living for seniors in Portland

When you live a full life, as so many of today’s seniors do, you don’t want to move into a senior community that’s prescriptive and decides how you’re going to live your day. Nestled within a vibrant, urban environment, NorthWest Place offers residents the opportunity to script their days as they see fit, and enjoy a new trend called “rightsizing.”

Rightsizing means more than just changing the size of their homes; it also includes rightsizing their lives to allow time for the things they now find important and putting aside those that are holding them back. With weekly housekeeping and dining choices provided by the community, as well as all the interior and exterior maintenance, residents now have the time to do as they please.

Whether it is participating in the wide variety of social, recreational or educational activities within the community, enjoying NorthWest Place’s close proximity to Portland’s museums, theaters, boutiques and fine dining, or taking advantage of opportunity to “lock and leave” to travel abroad – NorthWest Place affords residents the choice and freedom they desire and the ability to “rightsize” their lives.

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