Caring for the Aged

Guided Cognitive Activity Caregivers Training Program
Ezer Mizion’s Geriatric Division’s goal is to provide optimal service to aging care recipients while giving caregivers
additional tools which improve elder care provision and ensure optimal well-being of the seniors.
The challenges of aging and neurodegenerative diseases are well known and widely discussed as they become an
increasingly prevalent and significant social and economic issue.
Aging is usually related to decline and losses of various kinds. While there are several pharmacological agents
available which are known to play an important role in memory preservation, compliance with these protocols can
bear possible serious adverse effects. Thus, the most promising avenues of intervention now lie in prevention. In
this perspective, nutrition, physical activities, social interactions, and cognitive activities practiced by the elderly
are currently principal domains of interest and research and have proven to be highly successful in improving and
maintaining function levels and improving quality of life.
The goal of this specific project is the promotion of cognitive stimulation among the elderly, which will hopefully
play an active role in the preservation of memory and active cognitive function well in to old age.
The project is facilitated by hired caregivers who are employed by Ezer Mizion in the homes of the elderly. Many of the elderly are homebound and have minimal physical and cognitive stimulation. Caregivers of the elderly who are
interested in enriching their toolbox and broadening their ability for richer interaction with their aging clients, have
been chosen to participate in this exciting Ezer Mizion caregiver training course.
The course introduces approaches for cognitive stimulation through simple, fun activities that the caregiver does
with the elderly client at home, using art, crafts and game mediums that are readily available. Techniques for
encouraging involvement by the senior are taught and modeled by geriatric professionals from the Ezer Mizion
team.
Because cognitive decline is a natural part of the aging process, there’s a lot of benefit to cognitive stimulation
activities for elders such as like crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, word and card games, and other games, which
can help older people retain as much cognitive function as possible, assist in memory retention, attention, abstract
reasoning and problem solving. These functions, along with the social exposure that the training brings, enhances
self-esteem both for the caregiver as well as for the elderly client, making it a win-win project.
The training syllabus is delivered at three intense theoretic and hands-on sessions and is followed by professional
supervision in the home of the senior, with enrichment meetings for all the caregivers once every quarter annually,
to further enhance their skills.
The pilot version was done at Ezer Mizion’s Herzlia division and is currently being replicated at 14 different Ezer
Mizion service centers throughout Israel (Netanya, Kfar Sabba, Petach Tikvah, Bnei Brak, Tel Aviv, Holon, Bat Yam,
Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Ashdod, Rehovot, Lod, Modiin Ilit, Rishon Lezion).
This project has been made possible by a generous donation from Alex & Rosa Dembitzer, for whom support of the
elderly and the struggle with dementia, is a cause that is dear to their hearts. Ezer Mizion projects serving both
dementia patients and their caregivers have received the warm support of the extended Dembitzer-Fried family
through this project and other important initiatives.
Inter-generational Outings for the Elderly
An additional project that has merited the Dembitzer Family’s kind attention and support is Ezer
Mizion’s plan to promote inter-generational interaction, stimulating connection of grandchildren to their
grandparents by arranging for them to share a mutually exciting field day together.
The first of these outings is scheduled to take place in another three weeks and will bring together the
elderly grandparents, their adult children and their grandchildren. The outings will be arranged by Ezer
Mizion professional staff, after identifying families that would benefit the most from such an
opportunity. Ezer Mizion volunteers will also be part of the outing group and assist in facilitating
technical aspects of the outing.
The project is beginning as a pilot with several families going out separately to specific venues with preplanned shared activities. The outcomes will be assessed in order to evaluate the projects further phases
and ensure its strongest impact on the elderly through the strengthening of their bond with their children and grandchildren.

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Meron 2022

Preparations for Lag B’Omer are going full speed ahead.

Keeping everyone safe on Lag B’Omer at Meron

70(!!!!) Ezer Mizion male staff members are on site. The logistics are huge.  Ambulance drivers,  transport escorts, technical setup and management staff. Roles have been assigned and preparatory meetings were held. Included in the tasks are staff members in charge of collaboration with the police and local authorities, synchronization with others in the field at Meron,  protocol for varied situations: the expected and chas v’shalom the unexpected. Two huge tents are set up for use of the tireless Ezer Mizion team – one for sleeping and one for a kitchen and dining hall, plus toilet facilities – everything with lighting and A/C.

Ambulance transport for mobility impaired people up and down the mountain is a major undertaking synchronized via an Ezer Mizion Command Center trailer with a full IT setup and with computerized map displays of the entire Meron area. The trailer has its own AC and generator and its own land-line phone system for coordinating the trips  to and from the ziyon of Rabbi Shimon and the entire team.

Helping the elderly, the disabled, the weak up the mountain at Meron

Last year the cell phones all crashed, and Ezer Mizion was the only communication source, via our land lines. We gave one of our land-lines to Hazalah for their vital work. (The police were the only ones that had mobile phone communication when the cell phone systems were down last year, which they do via satellite).

By request from the police, we have one ambulance in Meron since Sunday when it did 42 runs in one day, taking elderly, seriously ill and mobility impaired people up and down the mountain (84 trips…) to daven at Rabi Shimon’s kever, a small hint of what is yet to come on the big day itself.

May all the tefillos be well received. May everyone who visited Meron return inspired, encouraged, empowered, uplifted, safe and sound.

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Giving Wherever There Is a Need

Giving on Wheels

Some people put their lives into neat little compartments. Nine to five on weekdays is work… Tuesdays from 7-9 is chessed (giving)…Mondays and Wednesdays…Avrohom is not one of those people.  Together with his family, he delivers hot meals to families dealing with serious illness. Yes he has set times to do it but it doesn’t stop there.  Chessed permeates his every hour. Avrohom drive a bus during his 9-5 work hours but he is not an ordinary driver and his bus is not an ordinary bus. With the permission of his boss,  Avrohom’s bus sports a large sign notifying families in need of help in transporting food packages, meds, personal items – anything to make the life of a sick person easier – from one bus stop to another. And, like any businessperson, he is happiest when lots of “customers” use his services. Avraham we are so proud that you are part of the Ezer Mizion family!!!

Giving underlies every service provided by Ezer Mizion whether it is alleviating the stress of illness, working with a special child or the mentally ill. Many services ease the predicament of the lonely holocaust survivor such as the One Wish program which seeks to strengthen the elderly’s fast receding sense of self.

Like Aspir. She is originally from Ukraine and immigrated to Israel with her brother. Neither one remarried. They are the sole survivors of their family with no future generations to ease their loneliness and the pain of growing old. No children to erase the feeling of helplessness and no grandchildren to give them an identity. She had lived in Israel since World War ll but her childhood roots remained in Ukraine. She longed to connect once again. And so, in barely a whisper, she responded to the ‘What is Your Wish’ question: If at all possible…do you think you could…I heard there is a museum. I forgot what it’s called.  They talk about Ukraine about, you know, about what happened. Maybe I could find something about my home town…the streets… the people….?

Re-living her child in pre-holocaust Ukraine

What a wonderful day it was at Yad v’shem, a day of closure for the lonely golden-ager. The soft smile remained on her lips, accompanying her into her dreams that night. Another wish fulfilled by Ezer Mizion’s Golden Age Program bringing a feeling of identity to so many whose self-image has been gradually becoming nothing more than a room number.

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What Else Can We Do For Them

Golden-ager visiting museum of his youth

He had actually lived there. It wasn’t just a museum exhibit for him. Every detail was part of his youth. He had so much to add. So much color to each display. Each detail he shares is a validation of his own persona, a strengthening of his self-image. There was just one problem. He couldn’t get there on his own.

Years ago, David Arev would frequently visit the Babylonian Jewish Heritage Center Museum. But since he became a nursing home resident, travel was impossible. And so there he remained, languishing in the home, his individuality fading as he began to blend into the woodwork and become one with the institution in which he resided.

Until an Ezer Mizion   volunteer approached him. Would he like to participate in the Fulfil -a-Wish program? He leaped at the opportunity and, transported by an Ezer Mizion ambulance,  it was not long before he, together with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, found himself at the museum where he had spent so many happy hours.

Senior visiting Babylonian Jewish Heritage Center Museum

David and his wife are Iraqi-born and were children at the time of the farhud (the pogrom or “violent dispossession” carried out against the Jewish population of Baghdad, Iraq, in June 1941, immediately following the British victory in the Anglo-Iraqi War. The riots occurred in a power vacuum following the collapse of the pro-Nazi government of Rashid Ali while the city was in a state of instability.) They both joined the Zionist Underground Movement and later made aliyah to Israel where they married.

At the Babylonian Jewish Heritage Center Museum, they enjoyed a guided tour. In the course of the tour, they stopped the guide several times to explain to her on their own about the items on exhibit and share with her their extensive knowledge and hands-on historical experiences.

Like during covid when patients spent so many miserable days and weeks isolated in hospitals with no contact with family, Ezer Mizion was there for them with ‘care packages’ filled with pick-me-up items to embrace them with love and caring. Aesthetically packed cosmetic packages with everything from shampoos, Q-tips, fragrant soaps, creams and warm slippers. Comfort packages with cake and chocolates. Packages of hope and good cheer, Ezer Mizion style.

Corona may pull them down but Ezer Mizion picks them up

The Fulfil a Wish Program is typical of Ezer Mizion sensitivity that stems from the organization’s founder, Rav Chananya Chollak – the ability to zero in on what is needed and find creative ways to provide it.

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One Wish from the World of Yesteryear

A View Of The Monfort Lake, Israel Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free  Image. Image 53062937.

The scene is typical at Montfort Lake in Israel. A lone man casts his fishing rod breaking the shimmering lake’s surface. His pail is already filled with trout for the family supper that evening. A father helps his youngsters into a rowboat cautioning them to close their life jackets with care.   A newlywed couple strolls around the lake’s edge. And then there is the Ezer Mizion group. Not the typical. They are in their eighties and nineties. No boating or fishing for them. But the memories…They, too, had once loved the lake. It may have been a lifetime ago but in their hearts there is the same joy of yesteryear when they were young. The weather was perfect. The view magnificent. They sang. They engaged in sports suitable for the golden-ager. This most sublime day was topped with a cookout, a marvelous treat for our survivors whose three meals a day are eaten in the nursing home dining room.

This special day was part of Ezer Mizion’s One Wish Program whose purpose is to enable the elderly holocaust survivor living in a nursing home to emerge from the ‘just a number’ syndrome and once again experience his favorite activities.

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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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My Opinion Matters

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Reaching out to the elderly holocaust survivor currently living in a nursing home

As people age they face loss. Loss of their independence, of their faculties, of their standing in the community. The holocaust survivor is particularly fragile due to his nightmarish youth which often resurfaces in old age when mundane life no longer makes its demands on him. No longer a decision maker, he feels unnoticed, worthless and lacks any purpose in life. The simplest choices such as what to have for breakfast are no longer his to make. If he expresses an opinion, there is no one to listen.    Slowly the aged nursing home resident shrivels, even losing his sense of self.

Ezer Mizion’s One Wish Program has undertaken to fulfill the personal request of 570 holocaust survivors living in residences throughout the country.

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Moroccan concert: a taste of home

 

 

 

S is a case in point. She resides in a nursing home with residents of mixed backgrounds. She herself is Moroccan as are some others but the home caters to the more prevalent Ashkenazi groups. She understands but still longs for an occasional taste of ‘home’. It was not until she met up with the Ezer Mizion staff did she feel that her needs, her opinions would have any value. Her thoughts about an occasional connection to the childhood memories of the minority groups and introducing the others to how specific ethnic groups live. Certainly a valid proposal for the nursing home staff but, just as certainly, not one that S. would ever make on her own. Her self-respect, her dignity soared on night of Welcome to Morocco, featuring a professional vibrant, ethnic band playing Moroccan music followed by delicious Moroccan cuisine. She basked in delight as announcements were made to her fellow residents that it was she who had suggested the evening’s entertainment.

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An elderly holocaust survivor regains sense of self

R was a Russian living in a nursing home with a significant Russian population. Significant but not enough for the staff to take notice. All entertainment was in Hebrew. R. understood Hebrew well but it was not her prime language. As the Ezer Mizion One Wish staff developed a relationship with her, encouraging her to express her opinions, she shyly made mention of her personal feelings. Like a fragile newly-hatched baby bird, her thoughts on Russian entertainment hesitantly emerged. It was in her honor that the nursing home presented its first Russian show – a spectacular performance – which all the Russian speaking residents of her facility enjoyed together with her, enhancing her happiness and sense of purpose.

In the first few months of the program’s existence, One Wish has proven itself to have more than met the goals of the initiative. The seniors feel noticed. Their opinions matter. Their existence is validated. They continue to discuss their Special Day long after it occurred and this day becomes the catalyst to a new awakening of that sense of self.

 

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.

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No List At All?

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Golden age is not as golden as we believe

Our list is long. The day is short. So many items get transferred to the next day’s list. Constant pressure. Never finishing. Can we even begin to imagine what it be like to have no list? No list at all? No goals? Nothing to work toward? Nothing to look forward to?

For a short moment you picture yourself breathing a sigh of relief. I’m done! But then you begin to think. And you realize how unappetizing a day is with nothing to get ready for, nothing to plan. Just nothing. Continue reading No List At All?Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Holocaust Survivors in their Golden Years

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We give the holocaust survivor practical assistance. They give us so much more.

Companionship. A vital need at every stage of life. And especially essential for the holocaust survivor. Rivka is a typical survivor.   She was born in 1930, in Lodz and grew up with her parents and three siblings in a warm, supportive family. But the war came crashing down on this idyllic family life and young Rivka was left all alone. Illness took the lives of her parents and her siblings perished in Auschwitz and Treblinka. Life as she had known it was no more and the future looked bleak indeed. But brick by brick, she rebuilt her life, marrying and raising a family. And now at 87 years old, she sits, absorbed in her memories, in need of the companionship of those who understand. Spending her days in a rocking chair by the window would be perfectly acceptable but she doesn’t want that. She wants to laugh. She wants to share. She wants to connect with others. And so Rivka became a member of Ezer Mizion’s ‘British Café Club’ and, for the past four years, has not missed an activity. Whatever the weather – cold, rainy, scorching hot – Rivka is there. Bright and bubbly and ever so grateful to the staff. Recently she fell and fractured her arm. But that didn’t stop her. Her arm ensconced in a cast, she surprised everyone  at the next event, showering blessings upon each individual staff member.  “I’m a holocaust survivor and my blessings have substantial weight in heaven,” she says as she moves on to the next person with her warm words of praise. Continue reading Holocaust Survivors in their Golden YearsFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

The Golden Age?

pr golden 2 14 yom tzilulimIt’s called the Golden Age. From the vantage point of a younger person, it truly seems golden. No difficulties with toddlers or raising a difficult teen. No problematic boss to please. No mortgage payments to meet. The senior can just sit back and enjoy her accomplishments. But is it really so? Now let’s change hats and sit on the senior’s rocking chair. No children who need her to kiss the boo-boo away. No shared smile of satisfaction with a daughter when the perfect Yom Tov outfit s finally found. No challenges. No satisfaction in meeting those challenges. The former frantically-busy-mother wonders just what she is doing in the world. Gradually, lacking the stimulus of natural challenge, she forgets how to think, how to problem solve, how to plan. Lacking goals, she is miserable, depressed with no idea how to extricate herself from the dilemma. Continue reading The Golden Age?Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail