Employment Programs for the Elderly – Survey Findings

JDC-ESHEL – the association for the planning and development of services for the elderly and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services are examining directions for the development of employment programs for the elderly. To this end, they commissioned the Institute to conduct a national survey of employment programs currently available for the elderly in Israel.

The survey examined programs whose main purpose was to provide paid employment (even if only at minimal wage rates) for the elderly. Several near-employment programs of particular interest were also included, even though the participants did not actually receive remuneration.

Some 40 programs currently provide employment specifically for the elderly to almost 1000 participants. The main goal is to provide the participants with an additional source of income, but they also address the needs for social contact and the participants’ life satisfaction and self-image.

The report describes the different models, the types of employment offered, and the wages paid to the participants. A second focus is on the participants: their characteristics, their reasons for participation, and the benefits to the participants, in the eyes of the program. It also examines the nature of the program staffing, the funding of the programs, their geographical distribution and the main challenges that arise in implementing such programs.  Finally, the report discusses possible directions for the development of employment opportunities in the future.

The study findings have been presented to the board of JDC-ESHEL and representatives of government ministries. Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute is currently conducting a more comprehensive study of the subject. The study was funded by JDC-ESHEL.