Melbourne’s Jewish Care on the world stage

July 8, 2010 by Jonny Ucko
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In recognition of Jewish Care’s work in aged care, world leaders in the field have engaged with Melbourne’s Jewish Care to share expertise and to build collaborations to respond to changing community expectations and needs.

Israeli expert Dr Yitzhak Brick, Director of the Association for Planning and Development of Services for the Aged in Israel, recently visited Australia and met with Jewish Care’s CEO Bill Appleby to exchange perspectives on aged care provision.   An important outcome of the meeting was the commencement of embryonic discussions around the potential for future collaborations.

“The way we care for our elderly is changing,” says Jewish Care’s CEO Bill Appleby, “and this is one of the key issues facing communities across the globe.

Our linkages with leading academic institutions both here and overseas and our partnerships with local and international colleagues are part of an overall strategy to ensure that we respond proactively to the care needs of a rapidly ageing Jewish population, both now and into the future,” Mr Appleby said.

Other prominent leaders who have held discussions with Jewish Care over the past several months include Professor John Lemberger, Administrative Manager of the Geriatric Management of Maccabi, Israel, who led a special education session at Jewish Care for the community entitled, “The State of Care for the Elderly in Israel – Past, Present and Future.”

Jewish Care was also invited to participate in a number of conferences as well, including the International Federation on Ageing’s 10th Global Conference, held in Melbourne from 3-6 May and the Association of Jewish Ageing Services JAS Conference held in April 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia, where Ralph Hampson, Jewish Care’s Research and Innovation Officer, presented a paper on “Are Australian Jews Different?  What Residents, Families & Staff Think is Important.”

“In response to changing lifestyles and shifting consumer expectations, aged care services are adjusting from the traditional model of residential care to more home based activities and at-home support,” Mr Appleby explained. “Most of us want to live independently, fit and healthy in our own homes for as long as possible, to be included in the lives of our families and our community, and to exercise our right to choose how we are supported as we grow older and our needs change,” he said.

“This changing attitude to aged care is particularly relevant to the Jewish community,” Mr Appleby explained, where 19% of the community is over the age of 65, as compared to 13% in the Victorian community, and where, according to Monash University’s Gen 08 survey, of which Jewish Care was a key sponsor, the impending ageing population boom will be even more dramatic.

Following from the success of the Gen 08 survey, Jewish Care is engaged in another initiative with Monash University under the banner Jewry 2030, whose findings are expected to be released to the community later this year.

“As the primary community care organisation, our community relies on Jewish Care to lead the way in formulating an innovative response to the way we provide aged care,” Mr Appleby said, “We have been engaged for a long time in serious research, debate and planning in order to determine the needs of our community and how best to respond. ”

“Jewish Care fills an essential role in providing culturally sensitive services for the Jewish community of Victoria,” Mr Appleby said.  “Going forward, we are committed to establishing Jewish Care’s role as a provider of choice. We want our community to choose us not just because we are the primary Jewish care provider, but because of our service excellence, because of our innovation, and because we are a leader, driving a new era of care for our community.”

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