2018-08-01 / Voice at the Shore

Why I made a Life & Legacy gift to Seashore Gardens Living Center

MY JEWISH LEGACY
RICHARD COHEN
Board President Seashore Gardens Foundation

The Simon & Sylvia Zisman Seashore Gardens Living Center (SGLC) is an organization that is close to my heart. This home for the aged, which is based in Jewish values, has enriched elder lives for more than a century.

SGLC exists because more than 100 years ago, leaders of the Jewish community recognized the need to provide compassionate longterm residential care to our elderly. Over time, Jewish leaders—as well as leaders from the community at large— have continually raised the money required to meet this need.

For the past 35 years, I’ve served on the board of both the Living Center and, more recently, the Seashore Gardens Foundation, SGLC’s funding arm.

I thought I knew everything there was to know about SGLC. As a longtime board member, part of my role was to spread the word about SGLC’s many wonderful attributes—its immaculate facility, beautiful Boardwalk area, art and music programs, expert medical care, kosher kitchen, rehabilitation services, Assisted Living, and more.

But it wasn’t until my mother needed full-time residential care in 2016 that I truly understood how fortunate our community is to have this organization in our midst. Initially my mother needed physical therapy and rehabilitation. There was, of course, no question of where she would go: It would be to SGLC, the place where she had accompanied me on many occasions over my many years of involvement there. Ultimately, when she needed 24/7 care, we moved her into the facility. That is when I fully appreciated why our community is better for having a place like SGLC.

My mother had Parkinson’s disease, which led to significant cognitive impairment. This made her care difficult and at times frustrating. Through it all, the SGLC nurses and staff were caring and patient, always recognizing and respecting her as a unique individual, and providing a loving home for her. They were absolute saints, making the last six months of her life not only comfortable but meaningful.

The Ten Commandments tell us to “Honor thy father and mother.” This is something that the dedicated staff at SGLC does every day, and those of us whose loved ones have been cared for by Seashore Gardens have experienced just how important this is.

As a longtime SGLC board member and a financial planner, I am well aware of the cost involved in providing this kind of care and environment for the elderly in our community. At times, we have struggled to make sure that SGLC can afford to offer the kind of facility and care that we want for our family members, our community members, and ourselves when the time comes. Moreover, in the face of dwindling health care reimbursement, securing adequate funding for SGLC is becoming ever more difficult.

That is why we are now actively building an endowment for SGLC through the LIFE & LEGACY Program. This program— which is funded by both the local Jewish Federation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation—is empowering SGLC and nine other local Jewish organizations to create endowments that will help us remain financially viable for years to come.

These endowments are funded by community members— people like you and me—who choose to include these organizations in our will, trust, retirement account, or life insurance policy.

As a financial planner, I often advise my clients to set up funds and resources for the future, including well beyond their lifetimes.

But truthfully, I hadn’t thought much about my own legacy until SGLC became part of the LIFE & LEGACY Program. Yet after devoting 35 years of my life to supporting SGLC, and entrusting this facility to care for my own mother, the decision to leave a legacy gift to SGLC was an easy one— and one that my children wholeheartedly supported as well.

Donations made to LIFE & LEGACY endowments last in perpetuity. All donations are invested to generate income that can be used to support or supplement programs and operations. This means that through the LIFE & LEGACY Program, I’m able to make a sustaining commitment to a place that has made a huge difference for me and my family.

I invite you to join me in ensuring the future of our Jewish community by making a legacy gift to SGLC or another Jewish organization that has made a difference in your life— or perhaps to more than one. The future is in our hands. We have the power to ensure that our Jewish community will be there in a powerful, meaningful way for future generations. Each and every one of us has the power to create this kind of lasting legacy. This is truly the gift of a lifetime.

Richard Cohen, CFP, is Senior Vice President-Wealth Management of UBS Wealth Management USA in Northfield. For more information about LIFE & LEGACY or SGLC, contact Sharon D’Angio at dangios@seashoregardens.org. 

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