2017-07-19 / Columns

Federation and its agencies help to honor our fathers and mothers

FEDERATION 411
JENNIFER DUBROW WEISS
Jewish Federation CEO

We often think of life as a progression from one stage to the next, but the reality is that it goes full circle for many of us. Our parents take care of us when we are children and as they age, a role reversal occurs where we find ourselves then taking care of our parents. Children need to be fed, dressed, bathed, held, nurtured, protected, and stimulated— and many older adults need the same. As our population is living longer, we are finding more and more people who need assistance with the activities of daily living. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, approximately 43.5 million people have provided care to an aging parent or family member, and family caregivers spend an average of over 24 hours each week providing care. That’s an incredible commitment as we juggle the demands of career and raising the next generation.

As people age and experience declining health, they become more uncertain about the future and their anxiety is heightened when they think about what tomorrow will bring. It is their children who can give them peace of mind and reassure them. Unconditional love between parent and child does not end when the child grows up; rather, it continues when the roles reverse and the “child” has to start taking care of the parent. In the Jewish religion, one of the commandments is to “honor thy father and mother.” In caring for an aging parent, we can continue to “honor thy father and mother” by overseeing their care, and being their advocate and support system just as they did for us when we were young.

The Jewish Federation’s family of agencies offers many programs and services to help support the older adults in our community— and support their caregivers. Aleph Home Care enables older adults to age with grace in their own home with a personalized plan of care for each client. When the phone rings at Aleph, our staff takes that call very seriously. We know that these are hard phone calls to make—both for the caregiver and for the person ultimately receiving the care. From the moment you call, you become a part of the Aleph family.

Aleph offers companion care, personal care, private hospital and rehab care, transportation, concierge nursing services, and 1- hour to 24/7 live-in care. Aleph is there to help make the process of caring for an elderly parent or relative easier. Every day, our Director of Aleph, Robyn Kaplan, speaks with families who are struggling with making decisions about care for their loved one. She reassures them that although it can be exhausting, Aleph is there for their every need. Robyn often quotes Tia Walker, author of “The Inspired Caregiver,” saying, “To care for those that once cared for us, is one of the highest honors,”— and these are words she lives by!

In addition to Aleph Home Care, our Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Katz Jewish Community Center, and Jewish Senior Housing and Healthcare Service agencies offer a wealth of programming and services for older adults. Through our family of agencies, you can find in-home care, counseling and emotional support, social and recreational activities, life long learning classes, meal programs, transportation, assisted living, skilled nursing, continuing care, retirement living—and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Learn more about our Federation continuum of programs and services at jewishsouthjersey.org.

 jweiss@jfedsnj.org

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