The Jewish Community Association of Greater Phoenix is in the process of conducting a study to help identify the needs of the Valley’s Jewish senior citizens. The next step is a community survey, which launches June 1.

For the past year, Janice Friebaum, a senior services consultant hired by the Association, has gathered information about senior care, including demographics and existing services for seniors, to help determine what needs are not currently being met. About 80 percent of the research, including interviews with a large number of service providers, clergy, agency personnel and community members; focus groups; and the development of the community survey, has been completed, according to Friebaum. 

In addition to detailing the current services available to seniors, the study will identify gaps in services and include research on the best practices for serving senior citizens used in Jewish communities throughout the United States. 

Funding for the senior study came from the Association’s 2012 allocation process, said Lisa Kaplan, Association director of planning and organization relations.

Once completed, Friebaum will submit the study results and her recommendations to the Association’s Senior Services Taskforce, chaired by Richard Gottlieb, and the task force will evaluate them and then present recommendations to the Association board, likely in early 2015, on how to move forward. Ideally, the Association would like to work with its community partners to implement the plans, based on what services are needed, said Don Schon, chairman of the Association’s Community Planning Commission.

According to the Pew Research Center, 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, and will continue to do so for the next 19 years. In Greater Phoenix, this means that by 2030, one in four residents will be over 65 years of age, according to the Association.

“Realizing the enormity of this challenge is only the beginning,” said Gottlieb in a release. “We see this issue as a moral imperative and we must be prepared to meet the needs of our senior population.” 

The study is not being done just to gather information, Schon said. “This study, from the beginning, is viewed as a tool toward implementation. ... We’re interested in creating a document [that can be used] as a tool to decide [our future].”

TAKE THE SURVEY

The Jewish Community Association invites all members of the community to participate in the senior service survey, which will be available June 1-30 at jewishphoenix.org/seniorstudy. To have the survey mailed or emailed,  contact Jennifer Peterson, jpeterson@jewishphoenix.org or 480-634-4900, ext. 1126.

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