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Federal grant to boost aging-in-place services

Federal grant to boost aging-in-place services

Federation welcomes earmark for an array of senior programs

Women take part in a knitting program at the naturally occurring retirement community in the Elmora section of Elizabeth.
Women take part in a knitting program at the naturally occurring retirement community in the Elmora section of Elizabeth.

The Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey is one of six Jewish federations in the United States to receive federal grant money aimed at helping senior citizens age in their own homes.

As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010, which President Barack Obama signed into law on Dec. 17, the Central federation will receive $200,000 to finance a naturally occurring retirement community, or NORC, in Westfield.

Stanley Stone, federation executive vice president, said he was “very pleased” at the award.

His organization plans to use the money to replicate the NORCs it supervises in the Elmora section of Elizabeth and the Vauxhall section of Union.

The program’s actual site in Westfield has yet to be determined.

Tom Beck, executive director of the Jewish Family Service Agency of Central NJ, hopes the funds will be available in July or August of 2010.

They were procured in a bipartisan effort by Rep. Albio Sires (D-Dist. 13) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Dist. 7), along with United States Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, both Democrats.

“We were one of the few federations in the country that got a continuation of funding. It’s really a remarkable achievement,” Beck said.

The Central federation currently services some 1,000 seniors at the two NORC programs now in place.

“We will meet with community leaders in Westfield and see what their needs are,” Beck said.

Stone said the new NORC’s services will duplicate those at other sites, including a visiting nurse, a social worker, meals-on-wheels, and recreational workers.

“That’s the whole point — to bring these services as much as possible to where there is a cluster of senior adults living,” said Stone. “That way they can remain in their homes with some sort of supervision and oversight, as well as some cultural and social programming.”

Earmarks, totaling $1.4 million, were also received by other federation communities — including, in New Jersey, MetroWest, Somerset, and Northern NJ, as well as Atlanta, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Detroit.

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