Jewish Home of CNY and Syracuse Jewish Family Service Awarded Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Grant of $130,000

Grant to support Dementia Friendly CNY and Pilot Emergency Elder Shelter

The Jewish Home of Central New York (JHCNY), at Menorah Park, and Syracuse Jewish Family Service (SJFS) have been awarded a grant of $130,000 to work towards creating a  Dementia Friendly CNY which includes  piloting an emergency elder shelter for victims of abuse, many of whom are affected by memory and other dementia-related concerns. On March 3, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation released its first round of grants, totaling nearly $150 million in funding, to support programs to improve health and human services across New York State.

“Our vision is to create a ‘dementia friendly’ CNY community that supports and safeguards the self-determination, well-being and safety of all older adults,” said Judith S. Huober, Director of SJFS. “We know that people with dementia are particularly vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and neglect, and can face particular challenges in both prevention and recovery.”

Mary Ellen Bloodgood, CEO of JHCNY and Menorah Park, added, “This project is an exciting opportunity to address a critical gap in our community’s essential safety net for abused or mistreated elders. Together with our partners, we’ll develop a model for and pilot the shelter, which we expect to open by early July.”

Almost 20 public and private organizations in CNY have volunteered to partner in the project, including the Onondaga County Elder Justice Committee and Vera House as well as various healthcare, senior housing, financial and legal services, and shelter providers.

“What is a ‘dementia friendly’ community?” Huober continued. “Creating room for people with dementia to function and participate as fully as they can by ensuring the ‘regular’ services, programs and processes available to older adults and their families are truly tailored to the abilities and needs of individuals with dementia or related concerns.”

Huober notes for a person struggling with dementia as well as possible abuse, the tasks of later life are made that much more difficult.

“Dementia can disrupt what might otherwise be a difficult but doable sequence of steps of  managing day-to-day life including  relationships with family and friends, legal and financial affairs, and even one’s own healthcare. The trauma of abuse combined with cognitive decline and memory loss makes for serious challenges when providing assistance to individuals who are already confused, frightened, and unable to participate fully in identifying and meeting their needs.”

JHCNY, SJFS and its partners currently offer housing options; nursing and psychological services; intensive care management; legal services’ liaison and safety planning; social, creative and therapeutic activities; and community follow-up services. “The Mother Cabrini grant will allow us to amplify what we’re doing now, and increase access across the community,” Huober concluded.

This is the first round of grants released by the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, one of the largest foundations in the U.S. and the largest foundation focused exclusively on New York State.

“We are honored to support such a wide range of organizations doing critically important work to improve the lives of New York’s most vulnerable communities,” said Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Visa and Chair of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Board.

In addition to the JHCNY- SJFS Dementia Friendly CNY grant, the Foundation’s first round of grants include supporting services for low-income individuals and families, youth and young adults, housing and services for persons with special needs, initiatives for immigrants and refugees, needs of young children, pregnant women, and new moms, opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals, programs at Federally Qualified Health Centers, and support services for veterans.

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission to improve the health and well-being of the vulnerable New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of targeted communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services. The Foundation – which is named in memory of a tireless advocate for immigrants, children, and the poor – provides flexible support for new and innovative approaches that enhance health and wellness across New York State. For more information, visit Cabrini Health.


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