100 Years and Counting

There’s no getting around it, 100 is a big number. It’s a big number especially when we think of it in terms of years. Whether we are talking about an individual or an organization, achieving the century mark is a significant achievement.

For an individual, living well to 100 and beyond is based on a lot of factors. Genetics matter, as do lifestyle and the way you’ve taken care of yourself. Some of it may be attributed to the “luck of the draw,” managing to avoid accidents or major injuries. Some of it, too, may be personality and choices, including both attitude and a sense of purpose. Today we have more and more people who hit the 100 year mark and do so in remarkably good health in all respects. And there is a lot of research that points to a future of more people living longer and doing so successfully.

When we talk about organizations hitting 100, we also recognize that’s not an easy feat either. Businesses have a defined life cycle, from development and growth through maturity and then decline. For a business to survive and live to 100 and beyond, requires careful thought, foresight and the willingness and ability to change.

The Jewish Home Family is concluding a year of centennial celebrations. We’ve spent time celebrating the achievements of the past and talking about the future. What we haven’t talked about as much, but that underlies it all, has been the organization’s ability to change and adapt, to anticipate needs and reposition to meet them.

As were many similar organizations that were founded in the early 1900s, the organization began as a home for orphans. This was a clear and present community need and a group of like-minded and altruistic citizens came forward and organized to meet that need. As the years went on, the need for orphanages became less but the issue of older adults needing care began to surface. The organization’s focus became care of the elderly and the course was clearly set for the future.

Today, caring for older adults is still vital, still at the core of all that we do. But our world continues to change and we are changing with it. In the very early days, care was largely nursing and custodial. Now we focus on sophisticated services, rehabilitation to enhance skills and function and the recognition that we must care for not just the body but also the mind and the spirit. We know, too, that more people want to, and can, age at home and we can help them to do that well.

At 100, we are embracing change, preparing for the next 100 years with enthusiasm and commitment. More importantly, we continue our dedication to understanding and meeting the needs of older adults with the help and support of so many — volunteers, board members, staff, residents, family members and our entire community.

About the Author
Carol Silver Elliott is President and CEO of The Jewish Home Family, which runs NJ's Jewish Home at Rockleigh, Jewish Home Assisted Living, Jewish Home Foundation and Jewish Home at Home. She joined The Jewish Home Family in 2014. Previously, she served as President and CEO of Cedar Village Retirement Community in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is past chair of LeadingAge and the Association of Jewish Aging Services.
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