Shep Englander — Federation Journal
Cincinnati 2020 in 2017: Beth Guttman
Each installment in this series features a different perspective on Cincinnati 2020, the Jewish community’s collaboration to build an engaged and empowered Jewish community by the year 2020. This week, we hear from Beth Guttman, President of The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati. The Foundation is a funder of AgeWell Cincinnati, a new central solution that links older adults, their family members, friends, and caregivers to community resources for aging well in Jewish Cincinnati.
Federation: What is your current role, both in regards to AgeWell Cincinnati and in terms of Cincinnati 2020?
Beth Guttman: Until November, I am the President of The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati. For several years, I have participated in the Cincinnati Jewish Senior Service Coalition—a group made up of local providers of senior services (Cedar Village, Jewish Family Service, JVS Career Services, and the Mayerson JCC) and community funders and planners (The Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati).
The goal of the group has been to assess the landscape of available services and learn what current and future seniors might require, recognizing that the needs of baby boomers as they approach their golden years is vastly different than the needs of previous generations. AgeWell Cincinnati was created and launched this month as a way to address those needs and connect older adults to the wealth of services offered by our coalition’s providers.
Why are Cincinnati 2020 and AgeWell Cincinnati important to the community?
Caring for our elders is fundamental to our Jewish values. Honoring our parents is one of the Ten Commandments. Older adults in our community are living longer, they’re more spread out across the Cincinnati area, and increasingly don’t have family in town. However, they are choosing to stay longer in their homes, and some are outliving their financial means. So the Cincinnati Jewish Senior Service Coalition had to answer the following question: How can our community meet the array of needs of the 68-year-old boomer, who still needs employment, and the elderly senior who might not be safe living alone? We, as a community, need to continue to evolve senior services for both those who do and do not require a financial safety net.
How can we help others understand the importance of Cincinnati 2020?
AgeWell Cincinnati is the first community-wide service to give community members (seniors, their family members, and caregivers) one place to go for information and referrals. It connects people to the services and programs they need through a single phone call or electronic message. AgeWell Cincinnati aims to lower any barriers to connecting to all the services available to older adults in our community.
Cincinnati 2020 set a real goal under its Caring pillar to make sure those who choose to age at home can access the services our community offers. That set the bar for one of the guiding principles in the design of AgeWell Cincinnati—the personal touch and follow up to every inquiry.
What does the future of AgeWell Cincinnati and senior care look like?
The needs of older adults—social services, transportation, and even healthcare—seem to be evolving at a dizzying pace. Most in our community choose to age in their homes. Many elect to live in independent living facilities that aren’t operated by the Jewish community. As in all sectors of our lives, there are newer forces that have disrupted the status quo. Increased consumerism and more choices in the marketplace, intense pressure on Medicare payments, and some seniors living longer than they planned for, have all contributed to a new reality for Cincinnati senior care.
In addition, we are just beginning to see the baby boomers joining those needing newer and different services. We are delighted that AgeWell Cincinnati will be available for these important members of our community and for us, as a community, to better support the people who, until now, didn’t always know how to find the many services available to them. We can with confidence hope that in five years, seniors, their family members, and caregivers, have an ongoing connection to community that improves their quality of life.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Whether we have aging parents, here in Cincinnati or elsewhere, or not, we all recognize that Cincinnati 2020 was right on when it prioritized seniors under its Caring pillar. Since its inception in 2010, the community set goals and measured outcomes on a regular basis. Because of that transparency and accountability, it has kept the evolving needs of our community top of mind.
Find out more about Cincinnati 2020 and its impact to date on the community here, and meet the other people interviewed in this C2020 series. Find out more about AgeWell Cincinnati here.
AgeWell Cincinnati and Cincinnati 2020 are just two of over fifty programs and agencies funded by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.
The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati: We look at the whole picture, taking into account the diverse needs of the entire community. Together we can do almost anything.