New Jewish Elder Access project launched

Jewish seniors who are new to Tucson, need transportation or other resources, or want to improve their job skills, can now call Irene Lloyd, coordinator of JEA (Jewish Elder Access) for assistance at 404-4596. JEA, which started on Aug. 2, was created under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Task Force on Jewish Seniors and Persons with Disabilities, and is a

Irene Lloyd

collaborative effort of JFSA with Jewish Family & Children’s Services, Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging, the Tucson Jewish Community Center and local synagogues.

Three years ago, when the Federation sold Council House, its HUD senior housing project, it established an endowment that has begun to produce income, says Stuart Mellan, JFSA CEO and president, explaining how JEA is funded. The Federation created the Task Force on Jewish Seniors and Persons with Disabilities, chaired by Terry Perl, to assess senior needs and institute new programs.

Anyone who has ever tried to navigate the social services system, making numerous phone calls trying to find the right agencies to deal with, knows how difficult that is, says Mellan, adding that it can be especially frustrating for older or disabled people. After the Federation conducted its population study in 2002, part of the community’s strategic planning process, “numerous initiatives [for seniors] emerged,” he says, “despite the important work done by Handmaker, JFCS and other Jewish agencies.”

JEA serves as a central clearing house for anyone in the Jewish community over 60. In her new role as JEA coordinator, Lloyd — who has more than 20 years’ experience in critical care nursing — has helped an 80-year-old woman obtain rides to attend the Silver Sneakers exercise program at the JCC. She has assisted a caller in his late 70s whose wife needed a new hearing aid, which they couldn’t afford. Lloyd, whose office is at JFCS, connected the couple with an organization for the deaf.

Lloyd aided another senior with referrals for vocational rehabilitation, including ways to improve her resume writing and interviewing skills. In another instance, says Lloyd, “a friend called to report a 63-year-old woman who believed she was coming into many millions of dollars.” Lloyd initiated an appointment with a psychiatrist who treated the woman’s delusional symptoms with the appropriate medication.

Lloyd may be reached at her direct number, 404-4596, or via e-mail at jea. irene. lloyd@gmail.com.