When I walk through Albertson’s and see members of our community, they frequently say two things to me after they’ve said hello. First, they put up a hand and say, “I don’t need you yet,” to which I reply, “We still need you…. as a friend and a volunteer.” The second thing is a question, “How are things at the Home?” While I’m very happy to talk about the Robison Jewish Health Center, which is commonly referred to as, “The Home,” I’m pleased also to share with friends the many other things that Cedar Sinai Park does to benefit the elders and people with special needs in our community.
In fact, we’ve come a long way from being, “The Home.” Cedar Sinai Park has developed into an active continuum of services to meet the needs of elders and adults with special needs in a way that helps people to live and be well in whatever setting they wish to call home. As you think of our organization, you can think of a number of things. First of course, a strong campus in SW Portland where the highest quality of assisted living, adult day services, residential care and, yes, nursing home services are available in a context that is deeply rooted in Jewish culture, religion and practice.
Off our campus, you will see our sister agency, Sinai Family Home Services, providing home care to allow people to remain in their own houses and apartments for as long as they can. While the clients served by this partnership between Cedar Sinai Park and Jewish Family & Child Service represent a broader constituency that goes beyond the Jewish community, we are proud that the staff of this organization are trained to understand Jewish values and can operate in Jewish homes with cultural sensitivity.
In addition, the Rose Schnitzer Tower, our Section 8 affordable housing apartment building in downtown Portland, provides over 230 apartments to a wide variety of elders and adults with special needs, some of whom are Jewish and many who are not. While we expect the number of Jewish residents to grow as the need occurs, we are pleased also that this facility and the others that we may purchase in the future add value to the greater Portland community as we act on the Jewish value of Tikkum Olam, “Healing the world.” As we take on the responsibility for affordable housing, we will soon be moving forward with efforts to enhance services to the low-income residents of these buildings in order to help them successfully age in place and to reduce their need for high cost and less desirable institutional services.
At the heart of developing our continuum of care, we will continue to find two values that are consistently expressed. The first is that people have a right to be as independent as possible and to make choices whenever they can about how and where they will live. The second is that we, as a Jewish community organization, can conduct ourselves with values that adhere to our long history and Jewish tradition while responding to people with a person-centered approach. As we grow both on and off of our campus, we will continue to see greater diversity among those we serve in terms of their needs and backgrounds and a greater creativity in how we provide our services.
Someday, when I walk through Albertson’s, I suppose I’ll be hearing people ask me, “How are things going for the elders in our community?” rather than, “How are things going at the Home?” I look forward to running into you there.
- by David Fuks,
CSP Chief Executive Officer