Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Quality life requires humor and heart

Creating the best quality of life for seniors' needs requires both humor and heart. Building the optimum life experience includes waking up each day with the ability to invest in your physical and emotional well-being, making sure there is purpose in life. It also includes taking care of your physical body, creating social contacts and friends and keeping your intellect and curiosity alert and stimulated.

Satisfying spiritual needs can be one of the most important aspects of a senior's life, especially if they are resides in an assisted-living community. Often, it is even more difficult for Jewish seniors surrounded by people who do not understand why they do not celebrate Christmas or Easter.

The Jewish Pavilion's Pam Ruben and Nancy Ludin created "A Guide for Caregivers of the Jewish Elderly" as an educational tool to help elder care administrators care for their Jewish residents. Mark Pulaski, executive director from Brookdale Lake Orienta, keeps his copy in his desk drawer so it is always available for reference. He knows the next party will be Purim and his staff is preparing. He has promised the Jewish residents will have what they need and he says he is a man that never breaks his promises.

Pulaski is also the humor of the community. He loves every party and looks forward to the fun next month and to the hamantaschen.

When Pulaski came to Brookdale Lake Orienta five years ago, he says he inherited a goldmine in its staff. One of those people is Mary Vendett, the heart of the building, who coordinates every activity for independent living to memory care. Vendett recognizes moving in is the next chapter in each resident's life and works to find the best way each person can flourish and be their best possible self. New Jewish residents are invited and escorted to the Sabbath lunch service, introduced to other Jewish residents, told about mahjong games and personally invited to every holiday party with the Jewish Pavilion. Everyone in the area is invited to the monthly Sabbath services, Sunday musical entertainment and holiday parties.

Brookdale Lake Orienta also hosts Jewish Pavilion Executive Board meetings and Friends of the Jewish Pavilion Board meetings. Their longterm relationship and generosity to the Jewish Pavilion is appreciated. Their model as a welcoming community for Jewish residents is applauded.


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