Our Precious Elderly Cannot Be Left On Their Own

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Activities at the Geriatric Services Division during the Coronavirus Period

Numbers:

3,200 seniors

4,000 attendants

150 professional staff members

13 branches across the country

Thousands of dedicated volunteers

With the onset of the crisis, the entire Geriatric Services Division shifted to a mode of alternating home/office work. Authorization to work remote was given to 60 staff members who were provided technical support and computers, as needed.

During this period, the tremendous responsibility of the Geriatric Services division towards the highest-risk group in the world has doubled. This responsibility is reflected by work around the clock, with no breaks, in the division’s 2 primary areas of activity:

Core Services

  • Mentoring and guidance of new seniors, their caregivers and family members in obtaining a geriatric services stipend from Bituach Leumi (the National Insurance Institute)
  • Placement of certified attendants in seniors’ homes
  • Guidance in the process of obtaining a foreign worker
  • Initiated phone calls every week to all the attendants, care recipients, caregiving family members (about 7500 calls a week)
  • Frontal and phone visits to 3000 seniors
  • Intensive work geared at giving the full number of hours of entitlement and care to the senior, in spite of attendants’ fear and concern of giving caregiving hours in the homes of seniors.

Auxiliary Services

Operation of an active “Corona hotline” Sunday to Thursday from 8 AM to 10 PM and on Fridays and Erev Chag from 8 AM to 12 PM; Motzaei Shabbat and Motzaei Chag from 8 PM to 11 PM

The hotline provides a response to seniors, family members, and attendants in the following areas:

  • Calls for emotional support
  • Therapy calls with experienced professionals (social workers)
  • Calls to obtain information about entitlements and assistance in making them happen
  • Facilitating community and municipal services, especially hot meals!
  • Facilitating Ezer Mizion services: loan of medical equipment,
  • Arranging purchase of groceries, produce, home supplies and medicines and delivery via Ezer Mizion “Linked to Life” volunteers
  • Tapping in to connections for the purpose of obtaining service from different entities, in collaboration with the Home Front Command, kupat cholim, etc.

Activating volunteers to relieve loneliness via:

  • “Listening Ear” project — phone calls from volunteer emotional therapists
  • “Adopt a Bubby and Zeidy” — in collaboration with Discount Bank employee volunteers who are set up with seniors to allay their loneliness by phone.

Physical Exercise

  • Online physical exercise through a number of channels: website, online handbooks, etc.
  • Distribution of physical exercise kits to the homes of seniors by volunteers
  • Telephone guidance for active participants at the Senior Health Promotion Center by Center staff

Installation of Security Cameras

Tzipporah Fried Alzheimer Patient Support Center

  • Outgoing support calls initiated by the Center’s professional staff to caregiving families who were in touch with the center in the past
  • Online support groups via ZOOM

Holocaust Survivors

  • Phone calls initiated by staff to all Holocaust survivors who participate regularly in the Ezer Mizion activities
  • Provision of a full response to needs that arise in the conversations: cooked food, purchase of groceries and medicines, emotional support via therapeutic phone calls
  • Home visits, in keeping with all Health Department directives (remote, porch visits)
  • Establishment of a mobile library operated by means of a personal delivery from the municipal library to the Holocaust Survivor’s home – operated by the British Café staff
  • Online/telephone physical exercise guidance
  • Distribution of potted plants to 1100 Holocaust survivors across the country on Yom Hasho’ah

 

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Give Up? Not When It Means Saving A Life!

airplane-corona- challenge acceptedHow is Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry managing? Corona created formidable obstacles. 60% of stem cells are normally transported by courier for life-saving transplants to countries outside of Israel. At first, foreign couriers who do not have an Israeli passport were denied entry into Israel. Israeli couriers were forced to wait a two week isolation period following their return into Israel. Continue reading Give Up? Not When It Means Saving A Life!

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Thank You — in My Name, Her Name, and His Name

coronavirusTo Our Volunteers who Have Put in Tremendous Effort to Provide what is Needed within the Restrictions of Coronavirus

 

 

In the name of the patient you serviced all around

And the one you revitalized, alone and homebound

In the name of the preemie, in his mother’s embrace

And the father, back with his children, through your good grace.

 

In the name of the boy who an ironed shirt wore,

And the envelope you gave to the sick and the poor,

In the name of the mental health client, whose pain you allayed

And the medicine delivered, though your strength was frayed.

 

In the name of a senior who ate a meal, good and hot

And the assignment you took before knowing what,

In the name of the boy at risk, saved from decline,

And the special needs child for whom you made the sun shine.

 

In the name of the families, who enjoy your good dishes,

Cakes, sides, and salads, plus the warmest of wishes,

In the name of all that you prepared and had planned

But when delayed by an assignment, you understand.

 

In the name of all of the Linked to Life stars

The general groups and the specialty cars

In the name of the pastry bakers and cooks of gourmet

That cannot be matched in the world any day

 

Thank you, you’re great!

Our blessing for success!

In my name and Ezer Mizion’s —

You’re simply the best!

 

On behalf of the group leaders and those with social service jobs,

And social workers who doubled shifts saying “No prob!”

The staff at the office and at equipment loan,

And those who offer encouragement from at home.

 

Because we’re here when you need us!

With you we’ll remain

We’ll do what we can

To lower your pain,

However we can,

To help and to guide

As long as it takes,

We’re here at your side.

 

Rivi, in the name of the Ezer Mizion Jerusalem Branch family

 

 

 

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Coronavirus Crisis — Updates from the Field

 

coronavirusDear Ezer Mizion Family,

In the midst of one of the most turbulent times that the world has ever known, the need for Ezer Mizion services has significantly increased. We thought it important to stop the rush of activity for a moment and update you on what’s being done in your neighboring departments and divisions. Amazing work with real dedication!

We are each busy with the challenging work going on within our own departments and staffs — and now, at a time of national and international emergency, it is heartening and comforting to discover that we’re all part of the enormous efforts to bring emotional and physical sustenance and recovery to the Jewish people.

How fortunate we are to be on the giving end!

Bone Marrow Registry

While meticulously following the directives of the Health Department and international regulations, the Collection Center is continuing to collect stem cells from matching donors. The saving of lives goes on, without compromise!

This month, we even had a record number of collections done by our collection center with a total of 41 lifesaving transplants!

In a complex logistic effort, stem cell units were recently sent from Ben Gurion Airport via Germany to a cancer patient in Italy. Additional lifesaving units were flown on cargo planes, in the absence of regular passenger flights. Each case was its own complex assignment, which had our team tapping in to massive networking and creativity to achieve our mission.

Cancer Patient Support Services

In order to protect the health of cancer patients, who are Corona virus high risk — Ezer Mizion’s dedicated staff was compelled to break off all face-to-face contact with the patients. The connection continues “long distance” with packages of sweets, phone calls, and surprises and online connections.

In a joint project with Schneider Childrens Medical Center and other partners, Ezer Mizion has organized a day camp for children of the hospital’s doctors and nursing staff, enabling the medical teams to continue their vital work even when schools are closed.

Geriatric Services Division

The senior population is considered highly vulnerable due to the Coronavirus.

An impressive service cushion was set up by Ezer Mizion Geriatric Services team to bolster and support the aging population in Israel.

  • A hotline for emotional support and provision of medicines, food supplies and vital needs for seniors. Many of them do not have computer access or family members who can help them. The many calls that come in are chilling! Elderly people break into tears as they tell of their loneliness, incidents of illness and neglect that require urgent intervention, and above all, a large number who call looking for a listening ear and human warmth. The response of the dedicated staff is really amazing and we are so proud of them for their efficient
  • In addition, the Division has introduced the “Bonding with Motion” program — a home-based age-adapted fitness program to maintain the seniors’ health. The program is available on video and as a handbook that can be downloaded at the Ezer Mizion Hebrew website.
  • Hotline support, tips, and guidance — unique for the Corona period, serving the families of Alzheimer’s patients at the Tzipporah Fried Alzheimer Family Support Center.

Mental Health Division

Some rehab services are continuing, in accordance with Health Department directives, in the understanding that maintenance of a sane routine is critical for mental health clients.

In addition, we are witness to a dramatic rise in the number of callers seeking a listening ear, support and someone to share their anxiety and tension with. The Division foresaw this need in advance and the “Yedidei Nefesh” hotline has stepped up its activity. Population-adapted staff is responding with utmost sensitivity to many hundreds of calls from clients.

The Division has also created handbooks for families of clients on how to deal appropriately with the situation and keep up a normal daily schedule, as well as instructions for physical activity. The handbooks can be downloaded online at the Division website.

AAC (Alternative Augmentative Communication) Center

In a project specifically targeting hospitalized Corona patients who are on respiratory support in hospitals, Ezer Mizion’s AAC Center has compiled a special handbook of communication boards, tailored to individual needs. The handbooks were sent on request to 15 hospitals around Israel and are also available online in several languages for downloading on Ezer Mizion’s site.

Special Children’s Division

Ezer Mizion’s Judith Pfeuffer Daycare Center Network and Ezer Mizion’s kindergartens, serving babies, toddlers and young children with complex special needs, are continuing to provide online guidance to parents.

The Respite Program has been stepped up and is working around the clock to alleviate the difficulties parents are experiencing ever since all special education schools and recreation frameworks were shut down by the Ministry of Helath.

Since the educational system, including services for children with special needs, has been suspended, children with complex difficulties are at home and the parents are experiencing severe hardships! In response, a hotline for parents has been set up in addition to an information center on the local municipal information line.

Currently, the focus is primarily on the daily function and didactic fronts. Information on entitlements through other entities with additional support options are provided aong with personalized learning materials for each child that were created by EzerMizion professional staff.

Ambulance Transport

Mobility impaired patients are frequently classified as Corona high risk and must be more careful today than ever not to use public transportation! Our devoted ambulance staff continues driving the mobility impaired, using full protection and personal responsibility, as required.

The Linked to Life department is working together with the branches at this time, with close cooperation and full energy!

Linked to Life – in a big way!!!

The Linked to Life volunteer network is working these days at full steam, together with Ezer Mizion branches throughout Israel, providing solutions for thousands of people every day. Requests for assistance stream in, and are provided thanks to exceptional cooperation with local authorities through municipal hotlines, ensuring provision of responses for the needs of the most complex and needy residents.

Haifa and Northern Region Branch, under the leadership of Moshe Beeri, joined the authorities in his region in answering the ongoing calls prompted by residents fragile medical and financial situation. The branch identifies needs all the time and works unflaggingly to develop appropriate solutions.

Jerusalem Branch is buzzing with activity — distributing food, delivering medications to seniors, and countless other small and big kindnesses, in response to needs that arise.

In Netivot and Southern Region Branch, the staff works tirelessly helping families of special children by arranging babysitters and distributing cheerful craft kits, food distribution to the needy,  and solutions to many requests, stories, and personal needs. It is so thrilling to hear about these and about the response that was given!

Last week, the Rechovot Branch worked to distribute 1500 (!) meals to seniors, patients, and people in quarantine, in collaboration with the Municipality, and responded to the a range of needs of city residents.

There is the “Kimcha D’pischa” project in Kefar Saba and other branches, providing produce and Pesach products for families who were struggling with serious health challenges before Corona came along.

At the Matan Center in Nechalim for young adults who are cognitively perfect but have severe physical impairments, the staff is active online to maintain contact with center members who have stopped attending due to Corona. Special gift kits for Pesach were prepared for every Center member along with a moving poem.

Craft kits were sent out in Modi’in Ilit and other cities to orphans and cancer patient families. Devoted mentors do their work from afar in Elad. And more and more!

The activity goes on around the clock and we are totally awed by the energetic staffs deployed across the country!

Linked to Life teams have recently added hundreds of new volunteers to its rosters, strengthening the existing support network across the country, working from morning to night.

Craft kits for the orphans and patients of Modi’in Ilit

Medicines to the door for seniors and patients — Linked to Life

Close collaboration with the Home Front Command

Distribution of Kimcha D’pischa — Rechovot branch

Kits for children with special needs — Netivot

Food distribution — Tzefat

And that was just a small taste J

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Our Volunteers- May They Be Blessed

 

No pen, no time – We’re running a race

Can’t slow down, got to keep up the pace

One request follows another:

Driving a patient, helping an exhausted mother,

Buying and delivering a drug from the store…

Each job is grabbed in a second, no more

 

They give resources and strength of their own

And rush to bring food to a senior all alone

Respond to each call that appears on the screen,

Bring mother of preemie to the hospital scene

 

Kits and groceries you bring with speed

To homes with patients and people in need

To special kids, sensitivity is your code

You raise “giving” to a higher mode.

For cancer patients you bring your aid

And to dialysis patients, your kindness is displayed.

 

And more… and more… countless calls,

Requests, assignments, rides for all,

And we just stand here, in awe, it’s true,

Full of great esteem for you.

 

And we say a prayer, a plea:

 

Father in Heaven, look from Above

See our volunteers, their link, their love.

See their sheer determination,

Their helping hand, bringing calm with dedication,

 

The cars that for chessed zoom,

The amazing responsiveness, no matter for whom

 

The motorcycles that fly in every direction

The “Linkeds” can be found at every intersection.

 

Tally each one,

They’re beyond count,

And bless us all with health,

On their account…

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Corona and the Speed of Light

coronavirusHow fast is the speed of light? The scientists will quote numbers but those of us at Ezer Mizion will quote stories instead. Like the family from Italy. They were terrified to remain and fled to Israel. As per government restrictions, they knew they would be going into immediate isolation but where? They had no home. In one day, an apartment was found for them. An apartment to live in but it was empty. Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life was called into action. Electrical appliances arrived as if by magic. Funds for basics were raised. A grocery shopper materialized. Cooked meals were organized. It touches the heart. If there is something that gives us strength during these difficult days, it’s the spirit of volunteering that we see with Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life volunteers. Assignments are snatched up at the speed of light.

Ezer Mizion has been around since 1979. Says a staff member: Especially in these challenging days, I feel like I’m giving my debt back to society. I will start from the beginning.  I was eight and a half years old when my mother had breast cancer. Medicine was not developed enough in those days to deal with the disease. My father created a connection with the Ezer Mizion who made sure to schedule an immediate appointment for the doctor in Tel Hashomer. I remember that he told us how he waited there, confused and scared. He said that the volunteers came to him, who brought him food and drink and said that they are now accompanying him and all of us, that we are now family. Really– in these words. And so it was. Since then, Ezer Mizion was always there, in medical counseling that was critical in the great confusion and in sending volunteers who accompanied, supported and helped us throughout the period. After a year of treatments, my mother passed away. 20 years have passed since then. At the age of 10, I started volunteering there. Today, I run the entire north area (from Netanya to the Hermon). I am finally paying back.

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Giving is Healing Translated from Yisrael Hayom, by Dan Lavie

coronavirus

In spite of the serious effects of the Coronavirus in Italy, a cancer patient there received a bone marrow donation from Israel • Director of Ezer Mizion’s Registry: “A tremendous mission”

In the shadow of the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic in the world and its especially harsh effects in Italy, a lifesaving stem cell donation was sent last Wednesday from a donor in Israel to a cancer patient in Italy. For that patient, this delivery of stem cells was a ticket to recovery and life! This feat was accomplished thanks to Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Donor Registry, which continues functioning despite the unprecedented challenges of this trying period.

At Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport handover hub, an Ezer Mizion Registry representative personally delivered the small package of stem cells to a courier who came especially for this mission from Germany. The courier then transported the stem cells to the hospital in Italy.

More than one million potential stem cell donors who each gave a DNA sample are listed in the Registry. In practice, all the registries in the world are connected via an online network, enabling them to coordinate among themselves when necessary.

In a conversation with Yisrael Hayom, Dr. Bracha Zisser, Director of the Registry, explained the process and discussed the continued activity of the Registry in the shadow of the Coronavirus pandemic. “First a search is done within the family for a matching stem cell donor. Medical teams of patients who do not find a match in the family, search in the international registry network, which pinpoints potential genetically matching donors in registries around the world. In this case, after they saw that we have a matching donor, an official request was submitted to Ezer Mizion’s Registry for workup and stem cell collection.”

Regarding Ezer Mizion’s important work during these complex times, Zisser said: “The situation is especially problematic due to the fact that these patients, who are receiving chemotherapy treatments, cannot wait for six months or until the Coronavirus problem will be resolved. Our primary challenge is how to send the bone marrow unit when so many of the flight routes have been shut down.

“In this area, both the Ministry of Health and the National Security Council cooperated with us successfully, and I am happy to say that the right solutions were found, with the help of airport authorities. In spite of the difficult course in this challenging time, the stem cell unit reached its destination. Here is another tremendous mission of saving a life,” she summed up with satisfaction.

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CoronaVirus: It’s All Hands on Deck

coronavirusCoronavirus – its tentacles have entered every area of our lives. Schools, shuls, work, stores…all closed.  Weddings planned in detail for months are held in primitive standards with few attendees. And then there are the sick. A young mother with leukemia has been waiting in hope and prayer for a genetic match to be found so that she may receive the stem cell transplant that will save her life. At long last, one was found! He has an appointment at the hospital to donate his stem cells. Her life will be saved. Will it happen?

Ezer Mizon operates one of the few stem cell collection centers in the world located outside of a hospital setting. Ezer Mizion has accepted this significant undertaking in order to ensure that patients in need of stem cell transplants that these hospitals provide can receive this lifesaving treatment. We are proud to be part of another Covid-19 collaborative, working together in these trying times with other entities to ensure the success of our shared lifesaving mission.

All of Ezer Mizion’s varied departments have rallied to the cause. Linked to Life, a network which organizes rides and transportation of vital needs worldwide, has been greatly involved.  Ezer Mizion’s Mental Health Division provides aid and support throughout the year to mental health patients and their families. This aid is vital to enable them to maintain a normal life routine, especially at this time of instability.

A request went out to a group in Bnai Brak on Wednesday at 10:06 PM:

We need your help to get out a small aid kit to the patients to ease these difficult days for them. We cannot provide them with a cure, but we can and must make life easier and more manageable for them. Task: To take envelopes with kits for distribution to families of mental health patients in Bnei Brak — 250 addresses.to be put down outside the door. The information and details of the family written on the envelope are confidential. Who can help with the distribution?

[Mar. 18, 10:08 p.m.] Response from dispatcher:

Listen to me and listen well. You never in your life saw such a thing…More than 200 addresses were taken by you angels of chessed.in two minutes.  May we merit a yeshuah very very soon!

I have tears in my eyes. I’m sure you do, too! May Hashem pay you your just reward!

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Corona: Message from Rabbi Chananya Chollak, Founder of Ezer Mizion

pr gen R' Chollak IMG_0349 unlimited useWe are now in the midst of a non-routine time, when the Coronavirus is attacking many people in Israel and around the world. On the one hand, at the forefront of our minds is the great mitzvah of “V’nishmartem me’od l’nafshoteichem,” to guard our health, requiring us to do whatever we can to avert spreading and catching the disease, which can lead to endangerment of human life. With every act we do towards this aim, we merit fulfilling the mitzvah of “V’nishmartem.” Continue reading Corona: Message from Rabbi Chananya Chollak, Founder of Ezer Mizion

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Corona: Speaking from the Field

coronavirus

 

It’s all hands on deck in the battle of the current world wide war on the coronavirus. Ezer Mizion, known for its International Jewish Bone Marrow Registry, is focusing the energies of all of its numerous departments into dealing with countless crises brought about by the virus. We spoke with Dassy in Israel who is at the epicenter of it all. Continue reading Corona: Speaking from the Field

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