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Masters of age

Six JCCs selected for aging pilot program

Six JCCs have been selected to participate in the National Council on Aging’s Aging Mastery Program, which provides education, goal setting and daily practice for baby boomers, enabling them to make life changes to facilitate better aging.

The Mayerson JCC in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley and the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh, both in Pennsylvania, Barbara and Ray Alpert JCC in Long Beach, California, the JCC of Greater Vancouver, Canada, and the Robert E. Loup JCC in Denver, Colorado will all be pioneer sites, implementing a 12-week Jewish Aging Mastery Program (AMP).

The pilot is the result of the NCOA recently becoming one of JCC Association’s program partners. Earlier this year, JCC Association hosted a webinar for NCOA on the topic, and JCCs interested in the program were able then to sign up and submit RFPs.

The course includes the National Council on Aging (NCOA) standard 10-week AMP core curriculum, bookended by two classes that connect Jewish spirituality and wisdom with actions proven to improve the health and well being of baby boomers and older adults. These two classes are designed so that a rabbi, cantor or Jewish educator can lead them.

AMP classes include expert speakers, group discussion and various levels of mastery aimed at improving the aging process. The program has grown rapidly over the past three years and is now offered in more than 150 communities in the United States.

“NCOA is delighted to be partnering with these leading JCC’s to pilot test and improve the Jewish Aging Mastery Program,” says Jim Firman, NCOA’s president and CEO. “We are very impressed with their passion and commitment to creative program development. We are very excited about the potential of this program to improve the lives of Jewish baby boomers and older adults throughout the United States and Canada. “The Jewish part of the curriculum was developed with Rabbi Richard Address, the founder and director of Jewish Sacred Aging, and Rabbi Dayle Friedman, founder, Hiddur: The Center for Aging and Judaism of Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; founding director of chaplaincy services, Philadelphia Geriatric Center.

The NCOA estimates that there are more than 2.4 million Jews older than 55 in the United States, which is approximately 44 percent of the entire adult Jewish population in the country. Older adults have greater life expectancy, but also have more years of projected good health ahead of them, according projections from the U.S. Social Security Administration and the Centers for Disease Control.

“Many of our JCCs cater to an aging population, but it is one that is aging well and has expectations of staying active longer,” says Steve Becker, vice president, health and wellness services. “Participating in this pilot will enable them to develop a program that really supports this population, and one that can be replicated in other JCCs as it is developed for the field.”

The JCCs will be trained in June and July, with the program beginning at the JCC after Labor Day. The program will focus on Jewish perspective on aging, navigating longer lives, exercise, sleep, healthy eating and hydration, medication management, financial fitness, advanced planning, healthy relationships, falls prevention, community engagement, and living fully for the remaining years.

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