New agency delivers for seniors on their own
Sinai Family Home Services
By Deborah Moon
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Sinai Family Home Services opened its doors Aug. 23 to fill a niche in care for seniors who want to remain in the place they call home.
Created and owned equally by Cedar Sinai Park and Jewish Family and Child Services, the new agency will provide home care services based on Jewish values. CSP and JFCS each invested $100,000 in capital and provided a $100,000 loan to meet the new agency’s total start up cost of $400,000. Though incorporated as a non-profit 501c(3) corporation, SFHS is expected to generate a surplus that will assist its parent agencies in providing services to indigent elderly.
“This is not intended to be an additional agency that the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland will have to support,” said JFCS Executive Director Marvin Kuperstein. “It is self-sustaining and the surplus will help both agencies serve our more at-risk clients.”
As a home care agency, SFHS will provide personal care, medication assistance,transportation, housekeeping, guidance and family support in addition to coordinating other necessary services. Services are available for as little as four hours per shift and up to 24 hours a day. Private pay and long-term care insurance are accepted.
“Our goal is to help our elders and infirm live as robustly and successfully as possible in the place they chose to call home,” said CSP CEO David Fuks.
Fuks said CSP and JFCS have spent seven years discussing how they could round out the continuum of care for Jewish seniors while also supporting each other “to do good on behalf of the Jewish community.”
The new agency’s services fall between the needs already met by JFCS and CSP. JFCS provides limited home care services for seniors seeking to remain in their own homes. CSP offers an array of living options for seniors ranging from the independent and assisted living apartments at Rose Schnitzer Manor to the residential and nursing home facilities at Robison Jewish Health Center, which also offers a senior day care program.
“We made sure when we went into this it will be a blending. We are filling gaps rather than creating competition,” said Kuperstein. “Lifeline (JFCS’s home care program) is targeting people who are at a lower level of care needs—they might need a caregiver once a week or every other week.”
“We receive many calls which we as Lifeline could not accommodate. Now we have an entity we can refer to,” said Kuperstein.
SFHS Executive Director Jodi Hanson worked in the health and wellness field for 12 years before spending the past 10 years as a state regulator, the last four as executive director of the Oregon Racing Commission.
“I have a passion for seniors and want to make sure they have a high quality of life and are valued for who they are and the years of experience they have,” she said. “I wanted to take the management skills I’ve gained and put them to good use so I could help people. That’s why I’m here.”
Hanson said SFHS will differ from other home care agencies because of its commitment to Jewish values and its emphasis on ongoing case management and personal attention to ensure the physical, mental and spiritual needs of each client are being met.
Cultural competence will be a long suit of the new organization, according to Fuks.
“We can assure services are provided in a culturally competent manner,” said Fuks. “If a family keeps kosher, the caregiver will be trained in kashrut. They’ll understand the rhythms of Jewish life.”
CSP has videos on the art of Jewish care-giving, which will be part of caregivers’ orientation when they join SFHS.
Hanson emphasized that SFHS is a home care, not a home health, agency. She said home health agencies offer a higher level of medical care and rehabilitative services. SFHS will refer people to JFCS or CSP for other services or to agencies outside the Jewish community when necessary.
“If Debbie (SFHS Case Manager Deborah Brandes) identifies a family who needs access to a clinical social worker, the fine staff at JFCS will be an excellent resource,” said Fuks. “If they need physical rehabilitation, we (CSP) can meet that need.”
Kuperstein emphasized that as a community with an aging population—20 percent of America’s Jewish population is elderly compared to only 12 percent of the general population—it is essential to meet the needs of seniors.
“It’s critical we as a community make sure we continue to welcome people into our Jewish community in varied entry points. We don’t want to fall into the trap of sending our Jewish people outside to seek services,” he said, adding the agency will serve non-Jewish seniors as well.
“We are admonished in the Torah to be good to strangers because we were strangers in Egypt,” added Fuks. “Therefore we have created the highest standards of care for all elderly.”
Located at 7412 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. Suite 106, Sinai Family Home Services can be reached at 503-542-0088. Hanson can be reached at that phone number or via email at email@example.com.