“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.
StarPoint Home Care Helps Turn Corner on Social Isolation:
For more than a year now, the coronavirus has functionally served as the world’s cruel overlord: it has restricted our movements; repressed our social lives; isolated our older adults; controlled our economies; and shuttered our schools, entertainment venues, and sports arenas. In response, we’ve had little recourse but to obey the disease. To improve our chances of survival, we’ve had to toe the line and accept that COVID-19 was boss.
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.
“It was one of my worst times,” says Gloria (identities changed for privacy). The interview takes place in the dining room of her small, freestanding home. There are signs of love all around—lots of green plants in the windows—but dust piles on the flat surfaces, and the curtains are faded. We are talking about when she finally fought free from addiction to pain medicine. (This interview occurred pre-COVID-19; at the end we share how Gloria is faring during the pandemic.)
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.
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.
On Mother’s Day, StarPoint Home Care—a subsidiary of Jewish Family Service—wanted to ensure that the mothers they care for (and those they employ) felt honored. Fresh flowers, homemade cookies, and personalized Mother’s Day cards were affectionately delivered to clients and caregivers, alike, and extra PPE (personal protective equipment) was given to the caregiver moms. “The gesture was definitely appreciated,” said StartPoint Director Debbie Balk.
Just over a year ago, StarPoint Home Care was born from a unique and visionary community partnership. Early on, however, when personal tragedy struck the organization, that partnership—along with the viability of StarPoint itself—was severely challenged. Today, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, those early challenges have left StarPoint well prepared to deal with a serious crisis.
When The Jewish Home of Cincinnati sold Cedar Village in the summer of 2018, it initiated...
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and unsettling for many people, but it has been particularly challenging for those already suffering from food insecurity. Recently, dozens of determined Jewish Family Service (JFS) volunteers and staff spent time preparing for and participating in the in the 22nd annual Dr. Samuel S. Rockwern Passover Delivery Project of Jewish Family Service. Perhaps inspired by a desire to fulfill a mitzvah (commandment), the dedicated individuals helping with this