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September 2016

Growing Old Gracefully

September is Healthy Aging® Month, an annual observance that encourages people to become their own best advocate when it comes to ensuring healthy aging.

Although Americans are living longer, increasing numbers are developing diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions that can escalate medical costs and ultimately shorten their lives. 

Moreover, chronic health problems can lead to social isolation and depression. Here at JFCS, our Counseling staff specializes in services that promote healthy aging in place and help seniors and their families feel safe, empowered, and better equipped to deal with challenges.

For example, our clinical counselors work with Multnomah County's Aging and Disability Services Division on the Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives for Seniors (PEARLS) program. Through this initiative, our counselors offer responsive, in-home counseling services to isolated seniors who are at high risk for depression and other mental health issues.

That said, growing old doesn't have to signal disability or social isolation. If you need proof, consider this sage advice from 100 centenarians who were polled on their top 10 tips for staying strong and positive. The percentages indicate how many said that the tip is "very important." (Participants could select more than one as "very important.")
  • Remain close to your family and friends: 90%
  • Keep your mind active: 89%
  • Laugh and have a sense of humor: 88%
  • Stay in touch with your spirituality: 84%
  • Look forward to each new day: 83%
  • Remain active, moving and exercising: 82%
  • Maintain a sense of independence: 81%
  • Eat healthy foods: 80%
  • Stay abreast of current events: 63%
  • Keep making new friends: 63%
Healthy Aging® Month provides inspiration and practical ideas for adults, ages 45-plus, to improve their physical, mental, social, and financial well-being. To learn more, click here

For more information about JFCS counseling services, contact our Counseling Intake staff at 503-226-7079, ext. 124.

Adapted from WebMD®

 Do Something Grand
Held on the first Sunday after Labor Day, National Grandparents Day reminds us to reflect on the outsize role that grandparents can play in the lives of the next generations.

Thanks in part to strides in aging and health, there are more grandparents alive than ever before. By 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be older than 65. And, for the first time in history---and likely for the rest of human history---people age 65 and older will outnumber children under the age of 5.

Grandparents and their adult grandchildren often play important roles in each other's lives, particularly when it comes to the positive mental health effects of a close, positive relationship.

Researchers at Boston College recently published the results of a two-decade study that found that both grandparents and grown-up grandchildren who felt emotionally close to the other generation had fewer symptoms of depression.

Among the study's other findings: It's important to maintain a two-way, supportive relationship. In particular, adult grandchildren can help their grandparents remain independent and resilient.

For more information about JFCS counseling options for seniors, contact Douglass Ruth, JFCS Clinic Director, at 503-226-7079, ext. 124, or at douglassruth@jfcs-portland.org
Dignity and Diversity
On Sunday, September 11, JFCS will join with Islamic Social Services of Oregon and other local partners to hold Day of Dignity, an annual event dedicated to helping homeless and low-income community members.
Day of Dignity is an annual nationwide campaign----now in its 10th year---that is coordinated by Islamic Relief USA, a humanitarian group.
In addition to JFCS, the many local partners include Blanchet House, the Oregon Food Bank, Outside In, the Oregon Islamic Chaplains Organization, and the Japanese American Citizen League.
Held at the Pearl District Park, this year's event will offer free hot food, medical screenings, haircuts, warm clothing, school supplies, and more, including information about available community resources.
Event organizers also hope to inspire interfaith volunteerism and year-round community service to benefit needy people in Portland.
For more information, contact Brian Fallon, Lifeline Program Director, at 503-226-7079, ext. 121, or at brianfallon@jfcs-portland.org

Ushering in the Jewish New Year
Rosh Hashanah commemorates the beginning of the Jewish New Year---in this case, 5777. Unlike most New Year's celebrations, however, there are no raucous parties or resolutions to shed 15 pounds.

Instead, Rosh Hashanah is a holiday that calls for both rejoicing and serious introspection. During this and the other High Holy Days that culminate in Yom Kippur, the intent is to encourage reflection on good deeds, as well as shortcomings, over the past year.

It's a contemplative time during which we try to honestly evaluate ourselves so that we can avoid repeating past mistakes and set our ethical and spiritual path for the coming year.

It's not enough, however, to focus on mending one's own ways. As we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, we gather together as a group, as a community. 

There are many collective aspects of Rosh Hashanah, including prayers during the worship services that are said for the benefit of the entire community. Much of the holiday is spent in synagogue, as communities come together for spiritual renewal and to exchange blessings. And, most important, it's a time to rekindle and strengthen our relationships, reuniting with family or seeing a loved one after years of separation.

And although Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish holiday, it's also a time when Americans of all faiths and backgrounds can take the opportunity to be thoughtful and tolerant, and to reach out to people who are less fortunate. Charity doesn't necessarily mean giving money---it can also mean empathy and reaching out to others.

Together, let's welcome a sweet new year, filled with joy, peace, and prosperity for our families, friends, and neighbors.


Jewish Family & Child Service provides social services that improve the lives of adults, families and children in the Jewish and general communities. 

                                                                   JFCS is a subsidiary of Cedar Sinai Park



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