Jewish Family Service: Supporting Aging with Dignity

November 7, 2016

Our nation’s older adults are a population at disproportionate risk of going hungry. On any given day, there are as many as 9.5 million Americans over the age of 60 who struggle to pay for food. Here in San Diego County, where one in five seniors have incomes less than $18,000 a year, the region’s high cost of living means that too many older adults are regularly forced to choose between paying for food and other necessities like medicine, transportation, and utilities.

While food banks and food pantries reach some of these vulnerable older adults, limited resources and poor public transportation – combined with the fact that many seniors live in isolation and can no longer drive or get around like they used to – mean that others are barely scraping by. For an increasing number of adults over the age of sixty, maintaining physical and mental health, eating well, and remaining connected to friends and community are all a major challenges.

At Jewish Family Service, we approach the challenges of aging with energy, imagination, and resolve. We know that every older adult has a story, skill, and perspective to share – and a desire to lead a safe, independent, and healthy life. Our team of staff and volunteers work one-on-one with older adult clients and their families to assess their needs and provide services that encourage dignity and peace of mind. Our Aging & Wellness services include:

  • Rides to doctor’s appointments, social outings, and religious services
  • Home-delivered meals to support the wellness of older adults who have trouble leaving home
  • Connection to other older adults through health-promoting programs at four Social & Wellness Centers
  • Home-safety repairs and modifications so older adults can maintain their independence and live at home
  • Companionship and assistance with light housekeeping and errands
  • Individualized geriatric care management to address complex challenges that emerge through the aging process

A Place to Do Good

JFS relies on the support and passion of more than 800 volunteers to deliver the proven, community-oriented solutions San Diego’s older adults have come to depend on. In the last year alone, JFS volunteers contributed close to 60,000 service hours. Currently, volunteer positions with the highest need include driving older adults to medical appointments and errands with On the Go: Transportation solutions for older adults and providing home-delivered meals to seniors with Foodmobile. For many of the older clients who rely on these programs, a visit from their volunteer On the Go or Foodmobile driver affords the only social interaction they will have that day.

Our agency offers more than 30 meaningful service opportunities for individuals and groups to direct their deepest passions and unique talents in support of JFS clients – people right here in San Diego who working hard to overcome obstacles and change their lives. We invite you to join the dedicated team of volunteers making a direct, meaningful difference in the lives of older adults, younger adults, children and families across community. Start your volunteer story at www.jfssd.org/volunteer.

About Jewish Family Service

Since 1918, Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) has been a home for people in search of a better life and for those seeking to make better lives possible. The agency’s integrated services are focused around three goals: Empowering Individuals & Families to Move Toward Self-Sufficiency, Supporting Aging With Dignity, and Fostering Community Connection & Engagement. Many people first turn to JFS with a specific need, such as food or transportation. In collaboration with a broad network of volunteers and community partners, we work alongside clients to set goals, navigate obstacles, and move toward physical, emotional, social, and financial health. Along the way, clients gain access to a wide range of resources – including counseling, education, nutritious meals, social connection, and more – we all need to live a full, healthy life.

JFS was named a 2016 California Nonprofit of the Year and has earned a ninth consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator that highlights the work of efficient, ethical and open charities. To get help, volunteer, or to learn how JFS empowers change in our community, visit www.jfssd.org.