“I think without this program, a lot of people would be a lot lonelier,” said Stanley Slomovits over a recent Zoom call. Slomovits was talking about the Uniper Cares program, which connects seniors through live virtual programming.
Seniors from around the country can connect through their TVs and mobile devices to a number of virtual peer-led groups. “I run a current events group where we talk about what’s going on in the news, and I lead an art appreciation group,” he explained.
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.
“Jewish Family Service is committed to keeping these family histories alive,” said Amanda Huecker. Huecker is a Post-Adoption Social Worker at Jewish Family Service and works with families who are part of what she calls the adoption triad.
“The adoption triad is made up of adoptive parents, birth parents, and the adoptees,” she explained. “The services we offer are varied, depending upon the level of privacy that triad has set up."
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.
“I have a great appreciation for what I consider an immutable fact: people who can feed themselves have a greater sense of independence,” stated Ben Kaufman.
Ben is the master gardener of the community garden of the Barbash Family Vital Support Center, located on the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion campus. The garden helps provide hundreds of people in our community access to fresh vegetables through the Jewish Family Service Heldman Family Food Pantry.
COVID-19 has changed nearly every aspect of our lives, and for some of the people in our community, those changes could be deadly. That’s why Jewish Family Service (JFS) quickly transitioned most programming online to continue its mission.
JFS is committed to strengthening people’s lives in times of need, as well as supporting senior community members.
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.
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.
Jewish Family Service is proud to announce Meredith Davis as the new Center for Holocaust Survivors Director. In this role, she will supervise care management staff, administer all grant funding for the center, and direct social and educational group programming.
Davis replaces Gail Gepsman Ziegler in the role, who retired in February after 17 years with Jewish Family Service.
According to the US Labor Department, before the coronavirus shutdowns began back in February, the US unemployment rate was 3.5 percent. Now it is almost six times that high, hovering at 20 percent. To date, 41 million people in the US have filed for unemployment benefits, and that number may still rise with time.
With statistics like these, it’s safe to say that if you don’t yet know of someone who has been impacted by the global pandemic, you will. When that happens, the numbers won’t matter