What's in a card? The Jewish Pavilion's response to the corona virus


March 27, 2020

A senior resident reading a simple card from someone who cares.

By Ashley Fisak

I always opened my birthday card from my grandparents with gusto because I knew it would have a $5 bill inside. I can remember that excitement and now I see it in my own children when they open cards from their grandparents. An unexpected card just out of the blue to say "I'm thinking about you" can put a smile on just about anyone's face.

At a time when most of the world is in crisis, there is a side effect to this isolation that all is too common under normal circumstances, let alone a pandemic. The side effect is loneliness. It affects seniors who have had to make major life changes and move from their home to a whole new environment where they feel alone or forgotten. Being able to receive visits, attend programs and meet new people helps to ease that burden.

Their lives start to take on a new routines as they adjust to their new life and surroundings. They start to make friends, go on weekly outings, and enjoy visits from family and friends. Visits from the weekly hair dresser, religious leaders, volunteers, family and friends, and the wonderful entertainment that comes and makes everyone smile, helps to achieve the goal of normalcy. Life starts getting easier and with that comes a new sense of security.

Today we have a pandemic on our hands and the entire world has been affected. Our lives are changing whether we want it to or not. The world our seniors have either just gotten used to or have been accustomed to is completely taken away. There are no outside visitors or programs in these facilities now and in some cases eating in the dining room not allowed. Loved ones, friends and volunteers no longer come to see them because no one wants them getting sick.

The reasons for the quarantine are not hard to understand but that is our intellectual side. The emotional side of us is a completely different story. We are social beings and for the most part we need social interaction. The corona virus has taken all of that away without any true idea of when our lives will be back to normal. There has to be a way to let our seniors know that we are still here and thinking about them. They are not forgotten.

Our program directors started writing to their residents once the restrictions went into place. Susan Bernstein wrote 85 cards this week! Why? So that the seniors know this is temporary and we will be back. A nice letter to say hello and we are thinking about them will brighten their day.

Who doesn't like a hand written card? It's not just our program directors, Nancy Ludin, the Jewish Pavilion CEO, has been writing and reaching out to her seniors instead of her weekly visits.

Nancy Ludin's note to a resident.

Writing to our seniors and wishing them a happy Passover will help them feel less alone. Seniors love when children visit and since they can't visit, why not have them make cards? Their drawings and personal messages will be a welcomed surprise!

Letter writing is a great way to introduce the younger generation to helping others. Often we think that we need to make a grand jester or something has to be expensive for it to be worthwhile but it's the little things that are making a great impact. Who do you know that has children or grandchildren that aren't in school right now and need something to do other than play video games or be on their phones all day? Get together and have a card writing party for our seniors. If you aren't sure where to take them call the Jewish Pavilion at 407-678-9363 and we can tell you.


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