Loving Care for Individuals and Families
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Loving Care for Individuals and Families

Jan 9, 2015

Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. The Alzheimer's Association estimates more than 5 million Americans are currently living with the disease. By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's disease may nearly triple — to as many as 16 million people — barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, slow or stop the disease.

The impact on family and friends is tremendous. In 2013, 15.5 million family and friends provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care for their loved ones. Caregivers face a devastating toll. Due to the physical and emotional challenges of caregiving, Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers had $9.3 billion in additional healthcare costs of their own in 2013. Approximately 60 percent of caregivers rate the emotional stress as high or very high, and more than one-third report symptoms of depression.

The Goldenberg•Ziman Special Care Center at the Jewish Home specializes in providing exceptional care for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and dementia and their families. One such family that has experienced the Center's loving care is the Kravitz family.

Lawrence "Larry" Kravitz began his struggle with Alzheimer's disease more than a decade ago at the age of 70. Living in Pennsylvania, Larry, a veteran, poet, and psychiatrist with a thriving practice, was happily married to his wife, Betsy, a psychologist, for many years.

When he began to show early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, he did not resist the diagnosis as many people do. In fact, he was in a unique position to observe the effects of the disease on his mind. As a poet, he found solace in expressing his feelings of loss and distance from his loved ones.

I was angry at those who thought
I was becoming forgetful. I didn't notice.
Now I'm beginning to appreciate
the life I've had, and to consider completing
all my unfinished business!
But, the most important of all
is to spend more time with those I love!

Betsy cared for him as long as she could, but, like many family members, became increasingly powerless against this progressive disease. Soon, her own debilitating health issues claimed her life. That's when Larry's daughters Cathy and Suzie became more involved.

As Cathy recalls, Larry's previous residential care experiences were "a nightmare." She would visit and find that he'd been in his chair all day with nothing to do. One day, he wandered out of the facility through an alley and into the path of delivery traffic.

Soon afterward, Cathy heard about the Home's Goldenberg•Ziman Center. As Cathy says, "Everything at the Jewish Home is done with love. Staff feels like part of our family."

Today Larry is happier and healthier than he has been in years. Cathy visits him every other day now, and often brings her daughter Jaden and her friends, who love to sing and dance for him. Daughter Suzie and granddaughter Lila also visit often. Recently, they spent the High Holidays with Larry and a number of residents, celebrating the New Year with a lovely service and a beautiful holiday meal. "Sometimes, I cry with joy when I walk in here," says Cathy. "It's so wonderful to have my dad in a place where he is safe and well-loved."

Think now, feel now.
You can worry all you want to
now or in the future.
But don't let now pass you by.

For more information about the Jewish Home's Goldenberg•Ziman Special Care Center, please contact Susan Leitch, community manager, at Susan.Leitch@jha.org or (818) 774-3113 or visit our website.

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