Minister for Ageing meets with Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Home – and presents two Community Service Awards
The Federal Minister for Ageing, Mrs Justine Elliot today met in Canberra with Sydney Jewish residential aged care providers – the Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Home congratulating them for delivering 119 years of care to older Jewish-Australians.
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24 June 2008
The Federal Minister for Ageing, Mrs Justine Elliot today meet in Canberra with Sydney Jewish residential aged care providers – the Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Home congratulating them for delivering 119 years of care to older Jewish-Australians.
Mrs Elliot also presented two Australian Government Community Service Awards for aged care.
In recognition of their many years of support and care for the Australian Jewish community, the awards were presented to:
- Mr David Freeman; and
- Mr Max Kahn.
In addition, Mrs Elliot cited the Montefiore Home’s unique work for people with dementia and responding to the challenges of Shoah (Holocaust) survivors as they comprise 30 per cent of residents.
The original migrants who came from Europe immediately before and after the Second World War still dominate the elderly population, although their numbers are diminishing.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (Census 2006) data shows there is a higher proportion of Jewish people who are over 65 (18.9 per cent) compared to the general population (13.3 per cent).
And the proportion of Jewish people in the over 85 age group is much greater than the general population at 3.7 per cent compared with 1.6 per cent.
“On May 26, I mentioned the Montefiore Home in the Federal Parliament when I was discussing Australia’s ageing population and how the government was responding to the challenge. At the time, I said the Montefiore Home had an astounding 12 centenarians totalling more than 1,200 years of experience in their facilities,” Mrs Elliot said.
Mrs Elliot offered her in-principle support to moves by various Jewish aged care not-for-profit providers from the various capital cities to set up a national body to join other mission-based organisations to present their views to the Federal Government.
Mrs Elliot hosted a small reception in her Canberra ministerial office to mark the occasion.
Mrs Elliot said: “The Montefiore Home’s management, staff and volunteers are living proof of the Jewish saying that the prosperity of a country is in accordance with its treatment of the aged.”
“Aged care means more than just looking after the physical health of a person. It is also about meeting the spiritual and religious needs of our older citizens; the Montefiore Home does that,” Mrs Elliot said.
Montefiore Home has residential aged care homes in Hunters Hill, Woollahra, Randwick and Maroubra with a total of 739 in care in NSW.
This includes low and high-level nursing home care and specialist services for residents with dementia. More than 50 per cent of Montefiore’s current residents are diagnosed with dementia or other cognitive impairments.
There are currently 200,000 people in Australia with dementia. Montefiore estimates that at the current rate of diagnosis, each week there are five new Australian-Jewish cases of dementia diagnosed.
Mrs Elliot said the specialist care Montefiore provides is particularly important for survivors of the Holocaust.
“About 30 per cent of Montefiore’s residents are Holocaust survivors who at an advanced age experience late onset post-traumatic stress disorder, associated with the experience of war, the loss of family and loved ones.”
Community Service Awards
The Community Service Award is presented by the Minister for Ageing to individuals who provide outstanding service to older Australians, or to older Australians who provide outstanding community service. They may be community members, volunteers, carers, aged-care workers or administrators.
“I applaud David Freeman, the current President of the Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Home, and Max Kahn, Secretary of the board, for their dedication and inspirational support for the older Jewish community.
Mr Freeman joined the Board of the Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Home in 1985, and served as Vice President between 1996 and 2004.
“He was the driving force behind the design and construction of the new Randwick campus which features its own Synagogue, a hydro-therapy and aquatic centre, kosher dining and a boutique,” Mrs Elliot said.
“Max Kahn has helped raise more than $1 million to support the care delivered by Montefiore. The many years of fundraising that Mr Khan oversaw has contributed enormously to the success that Montefiore Home enjoys today.
“These men are doyens of Jewish aged care and deserve recognition,” Mrs Elliot said.
Mrs Elliot said she hoped to continue to work with the Jewish and other communities to respond to their unique needs.
On June 10, Mrs Elliot visited the Perth Jewish Aged Home Society at Dianella in Western Australia, which along with Montefiore, offers specialist dementia care services and mark the festival of Shavuot with the residents.
On May 19, Mrs Elliot’s ministerial staff also held talks with the Montefoire Home’s chief executive officer, Robert Orie on care for dementia residents, the Aged Care Funding Instrument and the Conditional Adjustment Payment.
Over the next four years, funding for aged and community care will reach record levels of more than $40 billion - with $28.6 billion of that on residential aged care alone.
Funding to aged and community care in Australia has experienced the largest single increase in a single year - 10.4 per cent for the 2008-09 budget year.
“Make no mistake, no government in Australian history has spent more on aged care and community care than this one. We are proud of our plans for aged and community care.
“This is about planning for Australia’s future and the challenges of the 21st century.
“We want to ensure that older Australians can live independent lives and age in their own homes, but also have the option to enter aged care homes if they need to.
“The Rudd Government wants to ensure that there is a long-term and viable aged care sector, but also a system that protects the frail and vulnerable,” Mrs Elliot said.
|Demography of the Sydney Jewish Community, Jewish Communal Appeal, Gary Eckstein, p27, 21 May 2008 |
It has been mentioned that older people form a larger segment of the Jewish community than in the general population. After adjustment for underenumeration, the census indicates that there were 9,875 people aged 60 years or over representing about 21 per cent of the Sydney Jewish community compared to 18 per cent in the population of Sydney as a whole. The most recent changes continue the pattern whereby the Jewish age distribution more closely resembles that of the general community although the divergence is still very clear. In 1996, older Jews constituted 25 per cent of the population compared to 15 per cent in Sydney as a whole. However, the population growth among older Jews of 10.6 per cent since 2001 is considerably higher than population growth as a whole.
The reason that the age pattern of the Jewish community is growing closer to the overall Sydney trend is that the very old, aged 85 and over, constitutes a disproportionately high number while the number of new retirees is more similar to the average proportion of population. There is a population bulge who will reach the age of 60 over the next ten years that will again push the proportion of older Jews above the general Sydney average.
The original migrants who came from Europe immediately before and after the Second World War still dominate the elderly population although their numbers are diminishing. While the overall percentage of the population born in Europe is only 16 per cent the percentage in the elderly is considerably higher. For those aged 60-64, it is estimated at 23 per cent and this rise continuously reaching 57 per cent in the population aged 85 and over. There are clear implications for language support among those providing aged care services that are even more important as recent migrants from the former Soviet Union move into older age groups. The peak age for these migrants is now 65-69 where they form 15 per cent of the Jewish population. South African migrants are younger with only 14 per cent currently aged 60 or more although the proportion has grown from 11 per cent in 2001.
For more information, contact Mrs Elliot's office on (02) 6277 7280
Photo of Robert Orie, Justine Elliot, Max Kahn, David Freeman (PDF 32 KB)
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