Making health care decisions is something many people take for granted. But an unexpected hospital stay or illness may make it difficult for many older adults to fully communicate their health needs and care choices. The situation becomes even more complicated if English is not the first language.
To help Russian-speaking Holocaust survivors plan for their future health care needs, Jewish Family Service Resettlement brought in attorney Edward G. Marks on August 25, 2011.
“Ed graciously volunteered his time. First to explain to older adults from the former Soviet Union what documents are needed in this country. With the help of interpreters, Ed answered their questions to ensure they understood the importance of these papers. He returned to make sure they had the appropriate documents signed and notarized,” said Ann Sutton Burke, Director of Aging and Caregiver Services at Jewish Family Service.
Twenty older adults signed a Health Care Power of Attorney and a Living Will.
This case management service of Jewish Family Service Center for Holocaust Survivors arranged for three teams of three: an interpreter to ensure the older adult understood what they were signing, a notary public to legalize the papers, and a clerical person to make photocopies.
Marks recommended the older adult give a photocopy of each document to their doctor, “regular” hospital that they use, and the individual designated in the Health Care Power of Attorney. He also suggested giving a photocopy of their Living Will to their rabbi.
“This was also a civics lesson to learn about Ohio state law, another service we offer through our Resettlement Acculturation program. Ed gave many examples of what happens if the documents are not available,” said Burke.
Jewish Family Service strengthens lives in times of need and the community by providing professional social services to families and individuals. It offers Adoption, Aging and Caregiver Services, Care Management, Family Life Education and Vital Services Support.