Welcome to JAMP -Jewish Aging Mastery Program

There’s a critical problem facing those aged 55+. Our life expectancy is increasing, yet for many of us, our health, finances, relationships, and quality of life are expected to decrease.

Thankfully, there is a solution to this problem: It’s an upcoming evidence-based 12-part series by the National Council on Aging, called the Aging Mastery Program. Jewish Family Service is presenting this through a Jewish lens and we are thrilled to invite you to it. 

In the Jewish Aging Mastery Program, you’ll gain:

  • The Basics of Aging Mastery and How to Navigate Longer Quality Lives.
  • How to eat, exercise, and sleep to give you a better quality of life as you age.
  • Increase your Financial Fitness so you’re better prepared for the sudden medical bills and unexpected expenses that are a part of aging.
  • How to heal difficult or broken relationships with family and loved ones.
  • And much, much more!!!

Spaces are very limited, so SIGN UP NOW!
The Jewish Aging Mastery Program is a 10-12 week program. Normally, such a program would cost thousands of dollars. However, thanks to a generous Community Impact Grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, this program is being offered FREE to you.

Learn the core competencies of aging well and empower yourself and your friends to be the champions, advocates and masters of your own aging. These are the 10 Best Ways to a Healthier, more Satisfying Life as You Age without the Fears (and magical thinking) of Growing Old!

Tuesdays, August 22nd through November 7th, 2023 at 11:15am in the Terrace Room at the JCC Of Greater New Haven. (15-minutes after the Silver Sneakers Exercise program at the JCC ends)

If this program isn’t for you, it’s for someone you know!

Click here to sign up.

Jewish Family Service talks about keeping our resources within the community

“Haven’t We All Needed Help”

Reprinted from Shalom New Haven Summer Edition 2023

Historically, Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven was an organization that people reached out to in time of need. The NEW JFS says, “haven’t we all needed help? Can the neediness of an incident be prevented by community resources and involvement?”

What do we mean? Let’s use the newly minted Care Navigators program as an example for how community members can make use of JFS services, keeping our resources in the community while avoiding a spend-down to outside corporations without being in need. Simultaneously, these users of the Care Navigators system will be engaged in creating their own vibrant quality of life to their own standards and definition. 

The Census Bureau reports that within a decade, 1 in 5 people will be older adults, notes Elanit Linder, LMSW and Director of Adult Aging Services at JFS. “If we ignore the fact that in a short 10 years we will have more older adults than any other age group including children, then our entire social service network will be in crisis,” she warns.

AARP reports that an initial assessment by an Aging Life Care Professional can vary widely and generally runs between $800 to $2,000 (Julie Wagner, CEO of the Aging Life Care Association). Hourly rates for ongoing services range from $90 to $250. JFS’s research showed that the only non-profit Aging Life Care Program in the state is through the Agency on Aging. The Agency on Aging catches those folks in in poverty on Medicaid and cannot serve the middle income poor struggling on their Social Security and pension payments. After months of research, JFS settled on an out of state non-profit model to build a program that serves a diverse cohort of people regardless of background or socioeconomic status. 

Care Navigators is made affordable by billing in 10 minute increments or a Care Navigator Unit at $36. This way clients only pay for what they need. As a non-profit, any fees that come in help the community of older adults who may not have resources. All revenue from Care Navigators is returned to the “pot” and helps to fill in gaps in service. JFS reviews all cases regardless of ability to pay. The number of double chai or $18 x 2 was chosen specifically to communicate that by using the Care Navigators services a client is not only educating themselves for preventative measures but also giving charity or tzadakah by keeping their resources in aging and in the Jewish Community. Why wouldn’t someone choose to get their information at a lower cost and a benefit to the community?

With an upcoming Aging Mastery program the goal of Care Navigators and JFS as a whole is to re-empower the community. In aging, this is incredibly important. The upcoming Boomers will not live like their parents. This is an intentional, self-sufficient generation that advocated not only for themselves but also for social justice and equity. They will not “receive care” but will empower themselves to make decisions. Care Navigators wants to take the fear out of aging and tackle the hard questions.

Says Elanit, “I cant stand it when people put death, dying and disability on the aging. People live or die at every age and stage of life. One of my favorite linguistic changes that I’ve implemented is to change the language of death to ‘life completion.’ I didn’t find this in an existential book on aging and life like Guande’s Being Mortal, which should be read by everyone, I stole it from a Trevor Noah joke. When people asked what the Queen of England died from, he pauses, stares into the camera and shouts “she died from completing her life!” 

That makes so much sense to me. We are all on a spiritual journey. A woman I grew up with passed away in her 30s, another friend lost a child, and I work with sharp healthy centenarian folks! Life is about living and life completion is a part of that process. I also follow a lot of the disability arts and am passionate about the work of Gaelynn Lea. There are many paths to live a meaningful life at every stage of health and wellbeing. Please check her out!” 

Care Navigators helps untangle messy family relationships and historical trauma so that everyone can age well in the best communication possible. They educate to truths about how we age in this for-profit healthcare system and in the state of Connecticut. They share resources such as palliative and hospice care information, helping folks to choose what end of life decisions they make. 

Please reach out to Elanit at elinder@jfsnh.org to find out how you can get more invested and excited about your aging, as well as more involved in this important community program. She is available to share in a scheduled appointment or at your local book club, synagogue or community center.

JFSGNH Welcomes New Mental Health Director and Aging Adult Coordinator

Alissa Wurtzel, LCSW, joins Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven as the new Clinical Mental Health Director for both the Child and Adult Outpatient clinics.  She brings with her an eclectic skill set of evidence-based treatment modalities and experience with diverse populations.  Serving the mental health and behavioral needs of Connecticut residents for the past 20 years, Alissa is most looking forward to weaving together the past, current, and future needs of the JFS community.

Experienced with individual, family, and group therapy, Alissa has worked with clients as young as 4 and as old as 107.  Alissa feels her strength is in teaching people about the impact that stressors and stimuli have on us as human beings, and she encourages individuals and groups to use their intuition and uniqueness to identify solutions.

Before joining JFS, Alissa’s specialty areas were in trauma informed care, EMDR, medical social work, Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT), and co-occurring disorders.  Alissa is grateful for previous experiences with community health clinics, children and families using animal assisted therapy, the Connecticut Army National Guard, and hospice patients and their families.  She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Connecticut.  Alissa can be reached at 203-389-5599, ext. 117 or awurtzel@jfsnh.org

Elanit Kayne Linder, LMSW, recently joined JFS as the Aging Adult and Community Outreach Coordinator. “I’m invigorated to be joining JFS at a time when the geriatric program is expanding as are the geriatric needs of our community. I look forward to rolling out the JFS Care Navigators Care Management Program,” Linder expressed.   In her new position, Elanit will lead this comprehensive program, which provides needs and psychosocial assessments, care planning, advocacy, linkage to community resources, weekly check –in calls and collaboration with family members. 

Elanit earned her Bachelor’s degree at TISCH School of the Arts at New York University and her Master’s Degree at Columbia University School of Social Work. Elanit’s prior older adult career experience includes assisted living memory care director, director of recreation, and clinical community liaison in various facilities.

Elainit is committed to program development that empowers individuals and communities to their best quality of life in their own vision. She is dedicated to intergenerational programming, cultivating and developing long-term partnerships while supporting clients and families.  Elanit can be reached at 203-389-5599, ext. 114 or elinder@jfsnh.org.