A Focus on Fighting Isolation

Isolation can kill.

This is widely known in senior services, but addressing it often takes a backseat to meeting more pressing needs of the frail and indigent, as well as the need for adequate living arrangements.

Since San Antonio Jewish Senior Services (formerly Golden Manor) sold its nursing home in 2008, the organization has sought to enrich the lives of San Antonio Jewish seniors by creating and fostering connections between the individual and the broader Jewish community – that is, by fighting isolation. This focus on fighting isolation is possible because of the existence of other community resources that address Jewish seniors’ basic needs.

Isolation is fought two ways: through programs provided directly by San Antonio Jewish Senior Services (SAJSS) and through partnership grants to synagogues and other organizations that offer programs that benefit Jewish seniors.

For example, SAJSS’ direct programs include:

  • A very popular transportation program that takes seniors from wherever they live to their synagogues or the JCC for religious services and social events
  • “The Wandering Jews”, a program of domestic and international travel, always with a Jewish historical, cultural or religious component
  • “Community Connections”, semi-monthly visits to retirement and nursing homes with Jewish residents to show Jewish films, hold discussions, etc.
  • COMPASS, an information and referral service for Jewish seniors and their families and caregivers

SAJSS’ partnership program includes grants to:

  • All 4 major local synagogues in support of a total of 11 different synagogue programs specifically for seniors (before this grant program, there was just one synagogue program for seniors)
  • Jewish Family Services for case management work with Jewish seniors
  • Barshop Jewish Community Center for senior meals and services at the “J”
  • Ohr Lanu, a medical transportation and advocacy agency

Partnership grants are capped at half of the cost of a program to ensure that each grant recipient is at least as invested in a program’s success as SAJSS.

SAJSS is conducting a search for its next Executive Director, following the retirement of Daniel Laser after 7 years in that position. The ideal candidate is someone with a passion for working with people over age 60, who has run an organization, is comfortable working in a small office, has financial management experience, fresh ideas, and an engaging personality. Interested parties should check out the website, www.goldenmanor.net and send resumes to mkelne18@gmail.com.

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