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The Compass: “Way finder” for Jewish Senior & Caregiver Services

We are seeking financial and professional assistance for the development and promotion of a unique and innovative web site that will provide information on resources available to care for Jewish seniors and their caregivers in Toronto and abroad.
The website will include: 1) information on programs and services for Jewish caregivers and seniors in Toronto and in other major cities where Jewish family members reside – ranging from Kosher Meals on Wheels and Jewish retirement housing options, to services for Russian and Hebrew speaking seniors and Holocaust survivors ; and 2) Jewishly-focused holistic system navigation that can literally guide the user through a series of questions, to the right information sources and service providers.
This initiative will focus on a wide range of issues around the needs and interests of seniors: Health Care, Health Promotion, Services and Agencies, Homecare, Community Support Services, Recreation, Learning, Religious Observance, Volunteer and Job Opportunities. Direct referral information will focus on the not-for-profit agencies and services in the Toronto Jewish community.
The site will also include creative value-added features, all of which are scalable and include:
-Caregiving Advice Column (questions to health care professionals such as a social worker or nurse experienced in geriatrics)
-Frequently Asked Questions
-Connections to national and international resources in other cities
-Multi-lingual component (information will be available in different languages)
-Forums allowing seniors and their caregivers to share information and concerns and offer aregiver support
-Benefits Wizard – with this tool, site users can enter key information (such as place of residence and age) and they can find out a list of benefits that may be available.


The target audience for the site is family or other informal caregivers and/or seniors who wish to locate services for themselves or a loved one and do not know where to go to obtain the information.
Sometimes people do not even know what they need in instances where, for example, one parent has passed away and the other is left on their own. This site will have a navigation tool that will help them begin to put the pieces together.
1. Aging Population: The Canadian population is entering an era where the number of seniors increasing at an unprecedented rate. In 1996, people over the age of 65 made up less than 13% of the total population, but by 2031, this figure is expected to nearly double to 25% (Public Health Agency of Canada, 1996). Toronto’s Jewish senior population is increasing at an even faster past. In 2011, there were 30,000 Jewish Seniors in the Greater Toronto Area. According to a study prepared in 2009 for UIA Canada’s National Task Force On Jewish Demographics, the percentage of Jewish seniors in Toronto aged 64-75 will increase from 8.1 to 13.2% between 2011 and 2021. That is a dramatic 63% increase. We must ensure
that our growing senior’s population has access to the many community services
and resources that are currently available, yet difficult to find.

2. Information is Not Accessible:
While many services and resources are available to support seniors as they age in Toronto, it is very difficult to navigate the system and find the services that are needed. Even professionals will tell you they find it challenging since the Ontario system is so complex. The situation is compounded when one has a parent or other loved one living in other cities. How can they provide support from afar? Added to all these challenges are meeting the unique needs of Jewish seniors.
A 2010 needs assessment for seniors conducted by UJA Federation identified that the need to simplify finding and accessing seniors services information as a critical gap. In addition, members of our community cited the need for the “J-factor” that gives culturally sensitive insights they want to include when making important decisions.
While there is much information about seniors in paper directories and on the Internet, they tend to be agency, issue and clientele- specific. For example, different agencies have their own web sites, and government and association websites in the general community have a strong web presence. The UJA Federation website includes information about Jewish agencies, services and programs for seniors under ‘Doing Jewish in Toronto.
However, what is missing is a central access point to coordinated information coordination – much of the information is fragmented and most is not specific to the needs of Jewish seniors. In addition, people are now looking for opportunities for interaction on websites.
Here is an example of a common situation that illustrates the challenges in accessing information. A family looking for a long-term facility for their Holocaust survivor parent can visit Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and the Ministry of Health & Long Term website and access a list of factors to consider when choosing a long-term care facility. However, that is not adequate. Many people do not even know the role of the CCAC, and in fact most have not heard of CCAC’s – and they are the agency that links seniors to government funded home care services and long term care.
Our website would identify where to go for long term care placement (CCAC) and would provide a series of factors to consider, i.e. does the facility have experience working with survivors, is the food kosher etc.; there would be a link to the Jewish Information Service of Greater Toronto (JIST), a list of long-term care facilities including which are kosher, receive chaplaincy services etc, and a link with Circle of Care who could provide home care funded by the German government for Holocaust survivors, while they are waiting for their placement.
3. Internet use: Most caregivers of seniors are now “Boomers” – those between the ages of 46 and 65. Boomers are the fastest growing group on Facebook and Twitter (D. Cravit, “The New Old: How Boomers are Changing Everything….Again,” 2009). It is a myth to assume that today’s senior, or their family caregiver (who is likely between 40 and 65) do not use the internet. The internet is the primary “go to” place for information seekers. In 2006, there were 2.7 billion searches each month on Google. In 2008, there were 31 billion monthly searches (Did You Know 2008 – You Tube).
The potential impact of the website is that informal caregivers will have much easier access to the right services for their loved ones, at the right place(s) and at the right time(s).

Goals, Objectives & Measurement: 

A website for Jewish information for seniors would incorporate the following goals:
1.Goal: Act as a link to existing websites and information. Objective: Build on available online sources from the government, agencies and professional associations to reduce duplication of efforts and to increase effective referrals. Measurement: Increase the number of links to the site by 20% each year during the first three years.
2.Goal: Help informal caregivers access services through a Jewish lens. Objective: Offer value-added information reflecting Jewish values/concerns. Measurement: 75% of site users surveyed feel that they have obtained value added information reflecting Jewish values/concerns.
3.Goal: Increase assess to services for Jewish Seniors in Toronto. Objective: Create enhanced opportunities to refer seniors/caregivers/family to the appropriate agencies/services in the local Jewish community. Measurement: Percentage of website visitors who indicate that the site provides them with enhanced opportunities to find services.
4.Goal: Increase assess to services for Jewish Seniors in other Jewish communities. Objective: Create enhanced opportunities to refer seniors/caregivers/family to the appropriate agencies/services in other Jewish communities. Measurement: Percentage of website visitors who indicate that the site provides them with enhanced opportunities to find services outside of Toronto.
5. Goal: Enhance levels of affiliation of seniors, caregivers and families to the Jewish community. Objective: Actively focus on the needs of these community members and offering value-added service. Measurement: Increased number of new referrals to Jewish agencies that come from this website
6. Goal: Ensure website sustainability. Objective: Create opportunities to generate income from website. Measurement: Percentage of the website’s operating cost to be covered by advertising revenue in Years 1-3 and beyond.
Jewish seniors were able to access to information about services and resources easier than they had before. Measurement: Conduct a survey of clients of the site and a survey of caregivers who did not use the site (before its existence) and compare their ease of assess to information.

Jewish seniors are able to access information on Jewish services easier than they had before. Measurement: same as above

Informal caregivers who live in Toronto and have family abroad are able to access information about services and resources in other cities where their loved ones live, easier than before. Measurement: same as above

The ultimate outcome is that the health and wellbeing of Jewish seniors is improved, however it is difficult to attribute this solely based on the web site. Perhaps one of the 6 points experts can help us determine how to measure this!
We will measure usefulness of the site by tracking traffic to the website and its various features. We will reach out directly to the users through an on-line survey function. There will be filters directing people to the appropriate survey according to which site visit this is – e.g., first time user vs. returning users for additional information. Focus groups with site users will help gauge its usefulness and also provide suggestions for improvement.
The plan for doing a cost benefit analysis is to annually gather the measures and outcome information, and compare it to the costs of the site. It is difficult to measure the social benefit or savings to the system of improving access to services, so the cost benefit analysis will have to be based on certain assumptions.

Opportunity for Involvement: 

There are 10 potential areas where support and input is desired from the SixPoints Fund members. This would make a significant contribution to the outcome of the project:
•Web site & technology services – the project is the design of a website and support from experts in this area will have a direct impact on the resources required
•Business development, analysis & marketing – marketing support to assist in creating awareness of the existence of the website will be critical to its success. Assistance in setting up the focus groups.
•Healthcare marketing – the site provides information about healthcare and other services within a Jewish context, therefore assistance in this area will be important.
•Teaching & education – the site is meant as information and education for the public – so expertise in this area would help to make the site more user friendly and effective.
•Navigating the government – assistance with government content will be a value-added service for the team
•Operations & project management – always a critical component in any large project.
•Graphic design – the site will involve design and cost savings in this area could be substantial if support were available
•Social media expertise – marketing through social media will help raise awareness of the site at a low cost.
•PR & media networking – this expertise could help promote the site.

Time Frame: 

January 2012 – January 2014 Exit Strategy:
The website’s long term sustainability would be supported as follows:
-resources from Circle of Care
-resources from Jewish Information Service of Greater Toronto
-advertising revenue of approx 12,000 per year

It is expected that significant advertising revenue could be generated for the site from sources such as: Retirement Homes; Pharmacies; Home Health Care suppliers etc.


Circle of Care and Jewish Information Service of Greater Toronto
Once the site has been developed, these agencies have the expertise and resources to maintain the site, therefore making this project sustainable beyond the two year investment.

Organizational Structure and Expertise: 

The project will be led by the VP of Communications and Development at Circle of Care, in coordination with JIST’s Senior Coordinator. The VP Communications and Development will oversee the following consultants retained for the project:
1) Web Producer – Responsible for managing the development of the web site including: content development; and site map development.
2) Researcher: Year 1 only. Will develop content for the site including information on other jurisdictions and will also coordinate focus groups.
3) Web Designer – Responsible for developing the graphic design that effectively communicates the ideas being promoted by the web site.
4) Sales Representative - In Year 2. (and ongoing)
5) Translation – In Year 2 (and ongoing). To translate the site into Russian and Hebrew. This service will be contracted.
Circle of Care’s Senior Management team is comprised of the following individuals:
Michael F. Scheinert – President and Chief Executive Officer:
Michael has led Circle of Care since its initial inception in 1970 as a demonstration project under the Toronto Jewish Welfare Fund (now UJA Federation). He has a Masters of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Michael is a recognized leader in the field of home care and community support services, and has chaired numerous Task Forces and Committees at the municipal, regional and provincial levels, in addition to lecturing in universities and colleges.
Carolyn Acton – Chief Operating Officer. Carolyn has over 21 years of experience in the home health care sector, including 11 years at the Toronto Central and Central CCAC’s as well as experience in a private home care agency. Carolyn has also taught nursing including community nursing at the Community College Level. Carolyn has her B Sc in Nursing, Masters of Education, and just completed her Masters Certificate in Health Care Management. Carolyn is on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Home Care Association – the voice of home care in Ontario. She is also on the Steering Committee of the Central LHIN Community Support Services Network.
Josefina Cantos – Chief Financial Officer. Josefina is a Chartered Accountant, with over 18 years of experience in Canada, US and the Philippines. Her diversified experience in providing auditing, accounting and advisory services extends to retail, services, manufacturing, health care, high-tech, telecommunication and not-for-profit organizations.
Lisa Levin – Vice President of Communications and Development: Lisa has her BA in Urban Systems/Geography from McGill University and her M Sc. in Urban Planning from the University of Toronto. She joined Circle of Care as a professional since 2006. Before 2006, Lisa served in a variety of volunteer positions with Circle of Care and its related agencies, including sitting on the Board of Directors of Circle of Care for two years, and being the President of Habayit Shelanu Supportive Housing. Before joining Circle of Care, Lisa worked for 16 years in the Ontario government in the areas of health, housing, and child care. Lisa is the Acting Chair of the Ontario Caregiver Coalition, is a former UJA Leadership Development Graduate, and currently sits on the Board of Directors of Camp Gesher.
Debbie Taylor – Vice President Client Services : Debbie has her B Sc in Occupational Therpay and her Masters of Health Administration. She has over 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry. During this time she has held both clinical and management positions across all sectors in the health care system. Before joining Circle of Care, Debbie worked as a Client Services Manager at Toronto CCAC for 7 years, in both the community and hospital teams. Debbie has been an active member of a number of committees at the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists, including being a member of their Board of Directors
Vin Singh – Director, IT Operations and Development. Vin has been with Circle of Care for 15 years. He has his BSc Degree in Applied Physics from the University of Waterloo. Vin has 22 years experience in the Information technology and scientific industries. Specifically, he has worked with information systems in the healthcare industry for the past 15 years. Many of Vin’s proprietary software systems are still operational in various disciplines including Health Care, manufacturing and market research.

Circle of Care has four departments: Finance and Administration; Communications and Development; Client Services and Information Systems. The backbone of the Client Services Department is the Client Service Call Centre and an integrated service delivery model.
Jewish Information of Greater Toronto (JIST) – JIST is a department of UJA Federation and is responsible for the community engagement section of UJA’s website, Doing Jewish in Toronto. JIST’s Senior Coordinator Barbara Barak has over 30 years experience as a volunteer and professional in the Jewish Community. She was responsible for launching Doing Jewish in Toronto, with ½ million visits and 100,000+ page views annually. She is also responsible for overseeing updating the informaiton and content management of the site.
In Kind Services
JIST staff will provide the researcher and web producer with updated service and resource information for the web site . Circle of Care’s Intake Specialists (social workers) and Client Service Supervisors (nurses) will write the the Caregiving Advice column. JIST staff will moderate the caregiver forum section, and Circle of Care staff will prepare monthly site statistic information and send them to JIST.

After two year start up:
Sales Rep to obtain advertising revenue
JIST staff to maintain current listings/information on the site; and continue to moderate caregiver forum.
Circle of Care staff will continue to write the Caregiving Advice column
JIST and Circle of Care will collaborate to keep the site fresh with new articles and information. Student resources will also be used to do the ongoing research.

Criteria that Enhance Competitiveness: 

This proposal meets all of the five criteria that enhance our competativeness.
1. New and innovative – this website concept does not exist for Jewish seniors.
2. Sustainability – costs for design and development are one-time. Updating information and content management can be supported through existing staffing levels at Jewish Information Service, therefore support costs will be part of already existing budgets and will be supplemented by advertising revenue.
3. Scalability – there are several areas that could be included in the site but are not “must haves” such as the links for other cities, different languages and the benefits wizard.
4. Replicable – this site could definitely be replicated in other Canadian cities. Much of the static content could be used as a base for other cities.
5. Leverage – we will leverage existing resources such as expertise at Circle of Care and JIST regarding seniors services, as well as links to the other UJA Federation funded agencies serving seniors in Toronto and worldwide. We can also have the support of UJA staff already committed to senior’s services as well as the UJA Senior’s Task Force.