Submitted by Jewish Home of Cincinnati

Jewish Home of Cincinnati is proud to have granted the first annual Wilbur M. Cohen Family Award for Health and Wellness to the Mayerson JCC 60 & Better Center to strengthen and expand its offerings. 

Wilbur was a former board member of JHC and this award celebrates his legacy and dedication to supporting services for seniors.

“The JCC already provided 1,200 programs a year for older adults, but this grant has allowed us to expand offerings that target active adults in the 55-74 age range,” explained Susan Bradley-Meyer, Director of the JCC’s 60 & Better Center. Studies in the field of aging have proven that if an individual is able to engage in a full day of activities, then they are able to perceive a personal level of productivity, which in turn, allows them to physically progress through the aging process with better physical and emotional health. 

With funds from the Cohen award, the JCC is able to offer over 218 classes, including fitness and core strengthening, tap and belly dancing, stretch and meditation, balance training, and lectures on topics such as hearing health, mental health, and physiognomy (face reading). Upcoming sessions will include such varied topics as Laughter Yoga, Intro to Acupuncture, the creation of a men’s social group, and an upcoming aging services Provider Forum, being created in partnership with Jewish Family Service. 

JHC Executive Director Nina Perlove explains why it is important for Jewish institutions like The Mayerson JCC and congregations to provide intentional active aging programs. “Jewish Federations of North American (JFNA) recently undertook a major study called Jewish Active Older Adults 55+ Engagement Research. The findings were enlightening. In particular, it found that 55- to 74-year-olds are seeking to meet new people, try new things and remain connected to friends and family. In fact, maintaining human connections was the single most important factor that older adults identified as a priority for this stage of life.” The JFNA study also found that of those surveyed who were not currently engaged with their Jewish community, 71% want to be more Jewishly engaged or are open to increasing their Jewish communal engagement. For this reason, JHC believes that providing active aging programs in Jewish settings multiplies the benefits for participants. The study also found a high level of interest in immersive experiences such as travel and multi-day retreats, exercise, and learning new hobbies. Another key takeaway from the study is that 43% of older adults surveyed said they would like to meet other local Jews at a similar stage of life. 

Perlove believes that supporting the JCC’s programming for active adults is a perfect example of how Cincinnati’s Jewish agencies are working toward a shared success framework.

“Jewish Home of Cincinnati has been proud to promote the active aging mindset and support concrete applications through grant funds,” Perlove added. 

Members of a JCC tap dancing class

Members of a JCC tap dancing class