In May of 2017, Evelyn Seltzer was living in Boca Raton, Florida, and her daughter, Amy Perlman, was living in Cincinnati. Perlman was Seltzer’s only living child, and with a thousand miles separating them, she had become familiar with the strain of being a long-distance caregiver. The arrangement worked for a time, but then came May of 2017, and the day Perlman learned her mother was in a Boca Raton hospital with severe lung inflammation.
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.