Menorah Park of CNY Opens Dementia Friendly CNY and Emergency Elder Shelter

The Jewish Home of CNY at Menorah Park and one of its affiliates, Syracuse Jewish Family Service, received funding to create a Dementia Friendly Community in Central New York. The partnership included opening an emergency elder shelter for victims of abuse, many of whom are affected by memory and other dementia-related concerns.

The vision of the “dementia friendly” community supports and safeguards the self – determination, wellbeing and safety of all older adults.  We know that people with dementia are particularly vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and neglect, and can face particular challenges in both prevention and recovery.

Together with our partners, we opened a shelter and midterm respite housing in a vacated space of our building.  This dedicated space was designed and renovated to accommodate a common area for socialization, community kitchen, group activities room, a private consultation and case management office.

Four comfortably furnished studio apartments complete with refreshment nooks provide a homelike setting.  The framework allows for short term, intensive shelter residency, with the possibility of a several month transitional apartments stay for elders who need less intensive care while awaiting a return to the community. For individuals who require skilled nursing, the shelter infrastructure also permits admission to the Jewish home with intensive care management and therapeutic collaboration from shelter staff.

The team has used the grant funds to amplify and increase access to core Jewish Home of CNY and SJFS services such as housing; nursing and psychological services; intensive care management; legal services’ liaison and safety planning; social, creative and therapeutic activities; and community follow up services.  These services are intended for individuals and families to both avert circumstances leading to abuse and to offer reparative support to transition out of abuse dynamics.

The Dementia Friendly Elder Shelter was made possible through grants from Mother Cabrini Foundation, Gifford Foundation of CNY and other local private and public foundation and support. We have received a great deal of support from the SPRiNG Alliance as we move forward in this very important initiative for seniors in our region.

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