Alan Weiner has lived on East Galbraith Road in Amberley Village for more than 25 years—just around the corner from the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, the Mayerson JCC, Jewish Family Service (JFS), StarPoint Home Care, and AgeWell Cincinnati—a coalition of partners overseen by JFS that includes the JCC, JVS Career Services, and Cedar Village. When Alan was the ritual director at Adath Israel, one of his students was Liz Vogel—the current CEO of JFS. But in December of last year...
Isolation is as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Lonely people are 50 percent more likely to die earlier than those with healthy social relationships. Data from the Health Resources & Services Administration shows more than 3.4 million people struggle with social isolation, loneliness, and living alone—and that was before the onset of COVID-19. More recent numbers show loneliness and social isolation have increased 20 to 30 percent, and emotional distress has tripled during COVID.
No part of our body talks to us in quite the same way as our heart does. While we may not always be listening, our hearts communicate with us regularly, methodically, and (one should dearly hope) constantly. It only makes sense, therefore, that we’d want to keep the conversation going.
February is American Heart Month and perennially that time of year when we are urged to be more disciplined, change our habits, and start treating our hearts with respect.
“If you don’t take care of yourself, then you can’t take care of anyone else,” explained Leslie Brody, LISW-S, LICDC-CS, the Director of Care Management, Counseling & Crisis Intervention at Jewish Family Service. “A lot of people who are good at being helpers are not always comfortable being helped.” That’s why AgeWell Cincinnati is teaming up with Jewish Family Service to create two new virtual support programs: one for caregivers and another for people who are struggling with grief.
The human body has been called an incredible machine and with 206 bones, over 600 muscles, and more than 4,000 tendons, it surely is that. But to function effectively, these attributes of the body must operate against a strong central core. And the relative importance of a strong core only increases with age; core strength promotes balance, prevents falls, prolongs lives, and even helps with incontinence.
While the COVID-19 lockdowns have undoubtedly saved lives, they have also increased social isolation for older adults in our community. In addition, the tightening economy has caused unprecedented hardships for people who have never needed help before. In response, new COVID-19-related services are being offered through local, state, and federal agencies. Yet connecting these services with older adults who aren’t aware of them remains a challenge.
In 1985, Miriam Yenkin was nominated president of the Jewish Federation of Columbus (now JewishColumbus) and, upon her acceptance, became the first woman to serve in that role. Before, during, and after her time as president—for 60 years, in fact—Yenkin has been passionate about her community, and over the decades has developed strong and enduring connections with it. So it was an unusual and discomforting feeling for her when, earlier this year, she didn’t know where to turn for help.
Sherry was naturally devasted when her father died. But almost immediately, she was comforted knowing that her mother was surrounded by supportive and loving friends—friends who had known and appreciated her dad because he and Sherry’s mom had moved into a continuous care retirement community two years earlier.
Elizabeth Mefford, Director of Marketing and Admissions at Cedar Village, says she hears stories like Sherry’s (a pseudonym) all the time.
When the global pandemic became a local concern, the physical health of our elderly was paramount in the minds of the community. However, the remedy of isolation created problems of its own. Older adults rely heavily on area programming to boost camaraderie and enhance their emotional well-being. So, the lockdowns that were intended to protect the health of our aging population simultaneously threatened their connections to friends, family, and the community.
What can older adults and those who love them do, when isolation from COVID-19 and the need for socialization come into conflict? Though we know that socialization plays a role in everyone’s health, no matter the age, it is particularly essential for older adults, whose wellbeing is so dependent on the stimulus they receive through social interactions.