Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Just a phone call away; How the Jewish Pavilion is continuing to stay in contact with our seniors

 

Barbara Bonaparte makes a call to a lonely senior.

The Jewish Pavilion's main goal is to help our seniors stay connected to their culture. No one wants to be left behind and we have always helped our seniors by going to them. We are approaching almost two months in some facilities where we have not been able to go and visit our seniors. And just like everyone else we have had to adjust, get creative, and find new ways to stay in contact with our seniors. From the beginning we started writing to our seniors and reached out to the community to get our young ones involved by making and sending cards for them. We had a great response and now our volunteers have been calling our seniors and sending them emails to stay in touch.

Over the last week I have made contact with those who have been reaching out to our seniors with a phone call so that they have someone to talk to outside of their room. They're missing their family and friends, regular routine, and even little things like being able to just walk down the hallway and say hello to their neighbors and friends. There is always something going on when you go inside for a visit.

After talking to the volunteers, I realized that our seniors are all handling the quarantine like the rest of us. Some are taking it day by day and have the attitude that this is temporary while others find the lack of socializing to be the hardest part. Those who have a tendency to naturally keep to themselves are finding it easy to keep themselves occupied while those who are more social and outgoing are bored. They miss eating with each other. The good news is that a lot of the seniors have phones and are able to stay in touch with their family and friends on the outside. Email has been used by some of our volunteers when they didn't have a phone number to be able to reach out via phone.

A lot of our seniors are a part of what we call "The Greatest Generation" and lived through World War II. This generation dealt with the rationing of food, gas, and other products such as rubber to help with the war effort. We still have Holocaust survivors with us and the response from some of them has been "I survived it and I will get through this." The human spirit is really amazing.

Our volunteers are representatives of the Jewish Pavilion and they enjoy being with our seniors. They enjoy being out in the community and their phone calls were appreciated by our seniors. So I wanted to know what they were doing to help get them through this quarantine. I found three things that rang true in all of my conversations: They are staying positive, exercising daily-whether walking, running, playing tennis or swimming-and keeping in touch with friends in new ways like Zoom meetings and FaceTime.

The times are changing and we have had to adjust here at the Jewish Pavilion so that our seniors know that they are not forgotten. Our volunteers help make this happen everyday and this time their phone calls have helped them through another part of this quarantine. And until we can see our seniors again and give them the hugs they deserve, we here at the Jewish Pavilion will continue to write letters, send emails and call our seniors to let them know we are still here for them.

 

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