Amid pandemic, Californians can now visit loved ones in nursing homes, but few are going
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Amid pandemic, Californians can now visit loved ones in nursing homes, but few are going
Jul 12, 2020
For months, families have pined to see their loved ones who live in California’s skilled nursing facilities, which have been shut down to outside visitors to keep the coronavirus from spreading. California health authorities recently issued guidance for visits to resume, but few are happening as infection rates surge in many communities. Facilities are being cautious after many suffered severe outbreaks earlier in the pandemic. Read more ›
Author: Associated Press · Publication: Los Angeles Times · Date: July 12, 2020
At Los Angeles Jewish Health, Short-Term Rehab Delivers Long-Term Results
In the world of short-term rehabilitation for seniors, not all programs or facilities are created equal. Given its breadth of services, depth of experience, and track record of results, Los Angeles Jewish Health's high-impact short-term rehab is in a class by itself. Under the supervision of Director of Rehabilitation Services Daniel Persichetti, the offerings are robust. "We have seven distinct short-term rehab operations at Los Angeles Jewish Health, each one geared to meet diverse seniors' needs," he says. "It's terrific because it means we're able to help with a wide range of challenges, getting people back on their feet and ready to reclaim mobility and function that may have been compromised due to a recent hospital stay or illness." The programs include short-term, skilled nursing facility-based rehab at Los Angeles Jewish Health's Grancell Village campus; a PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) clinic at the Brandman Centers for Senior Care, also located in Grancell Village; and outpatient services on the Eisenberg Village campus and at Fountainview at Gonda Westside, in Playa Vista. "When older adults are released from the hospital, they may not be quite ready to return home, so they come stay with us for a bit, instead," Daniel says. "Maybe they can't walk very far or have difficulty climbing out of bed. Perhaps they've just had a hip or knee replacement, or they've suffered a stroke. We equip them with the right tools to build up their strength and recover their independence." The outpatient clinic at Eisenberg Village is also open to members of the general public, who can come to campus to leverage Los Angeles Jewish Health's renowned expertise in senior care. "Our speech therapists and physical therapists are available for things like memory and cognition training, improving balance and gait, and refining overall strength and function," Daniel says. "As those in need of these services discover just how good our care is, more and more people from the greater community are relying on us every day." In addition to having access to an outpatient clinic, seniors participating in PACE at the Brandman Centers may benefit from home visits, as well. "Sometimes, our therapy staff will go to a participant's home to make sure they have the tools they need to help in their recovery. For instance, they may evaluate if a grab bar is in the right spot for the shower, or ensure the person has the appropriate ramp to make their house accessible—essentially, making equipment recommendations to help seniors live in their homes for a longer period of time," Daniel says. He and his team of about 30 full-time therapists (plus 20 or so per diem staff) also treat longer-term Los Angeles Jewish Health residents. "Sometimes, folks in assisted living may experience a decline—say after a fall. Our caring team provides them with therapy two or three days a week to help them improve," he says. "One of the things that makes our therapy so successful is that, because it's in-house, we develop good collaborative relationships with nurses and other Los Angeles Jewish Health staff, so we can work together as a team to get residents better in a timely manner." As Daniel sees it, these partnerships are a key distinguishing feature of rehab services at Los Angeles Jewish Health. "I've worked for many companies over the past 17 years, starting out in acute care and then moving on to aquatic therapy, outpatient care, and acute rehab. But working for Los Angeles Jewish Health is like night and day. Not only is there a real family atmosphere here, but also, the primary focus is different: It is about serving people and the community, rather than solely on generating financial gain." For Daniel, one of the most gratifying parts of the job is watching people start to feel empowered when they realize they can do things on their own. "We see so many success stories," he says, "and I'm proud of the gains our seniors make with our support." Among Los Angeles Jewish Health's satisfied short-term rehab customers is David Goldstein, who sought intensive physical therapy after fracturing his humerus (upper arm bone). "Los Angeles Jewish Health staff are responsive, they know what they're doing, and they make you feel like you're in your own home," he says. "Although being here is only temporary, they've done everything possible to make me comfortable and happy. I chose the right place, and I would highly recommend it."
The Art of Making Crafts at Los Angeles Jewish Health
Arlene Bercu Los Angeles Jewish Health is renowned for advancing the health of older adults across our community. Its commitment to raising the bar on compassionate, high-quality care includes a dedicated focus on emotional wellness—engaging seniors in creative, stimulating activities that help them find enjoyment in every day. Los Angeles Jewish Health's Arts and Crafts Program is a prime example, bringing people together to give life to new ideas and make memories along the way. The Arts and Crafts Room is a bustling hub of energy at Los Angeles Jewish Health, offering residents resources, guidance, and camaraderie as they develop their creative talents and produce a wide range of beautiful handcrafts. "It's where we host instructors for oil-based painting classes, and where we teach knitting, quilting, crocheting, and all the various needlecrafts," says Annette Weinberg, Los Angeles Jewish Health's campus lifestyle and enrichment director for Eisenberg Village. "The studio is packed full of every possible supply material for any project a resident would like to do." Staffed by Arts and Crafts Director Radka Falk, the Arts and Crafts Room enables residents to express themselves while achieving a state of emotional Zen. "Creativity is soothing for the soul, and this is such an uplifting environment," Annette says. "People often spend hours here, and their tasks take them away to a whole other place." Norma Garber Norma Garber, 89, is one of those people, a lifelong seamstress who trained as a young girl in England to be a high-end dressmaker. She volunteered at Los Angeles Jewish Health before becoming a resident about four and a half years ago and notes that, even then, she knew the Arts and Crafts Room would be where she would spend much of her time once she moved in. "I like quilting and making pillows, challah covers, and table runners. I love everything I do here; I call it my ‘happy room,'" Norma laughs. "Radka is amazing—there isn't anything she doesn't know how to do. And I get to spend time with my friends, like Casey Joseph, another quilter." Toby and Clara Silnik Casey, 89, enjoys the shared sense of purpose the Arts and Crafts Room inspires. "Spending time with Norma is great: It's nice to have someone to talk to who understands what you're trying to do and can help you map it out," she says. "I love the creativity and beauty of using my hands to make something. The idea that one of my quilts is keeping a baby, a child, or an adult cozy, just warms my heart." In addition to nurturing residents' creative impulse, the Arts and Crafts Room also welcomes visitors interested in viewing—and even purchasing—some of the goods made on the premises. A gallery of canvases painted by residents is on permanent display, and a small, on-site store offers a number of resident-made items for sale. Director Radka Falk "The money we make from the shop gets reinvested into the gift shop so we can continue buying supplies for residents to craft with!" Annette says. Frequenters of the Arts and Crafts Room are often joined by Los Angeles Jewish Health volunteers, who bring a variety of craft projects with them for residents to complete. "The items you can find in the shop are just gorgeous. But, even more importantly, making those items does absolute wonders for our residents' well-being," Annette says. "When they're here, their spirits soar."
Under the Jacaranda Tree: A Story of Love
By Glenda Hahn Many lasting and loving relationships are formed at Los Angeles Jewish Health. During this season of love, we want to share this very special and touching story written by Glenda Hahn, the daughter of Mary Freeman. My mom, Mary, came from a marriage that offered little by way of love or affection. We were led to believe my parents stayed together for the stability of their children. When my father passed away in 1995, my mom felt like a bird let out of a cage. This was her opportunity to spread her wings and follow her dreams to emigrate from her native South Africa to join me and my family in the United States. My kind and generous husband offered her employment, and thus an avenue to support herself. Mary was independent, caught buses to wherever she wanted to go, made new friends, and created a great and happy life for herself. When Mom eventually needed more assistance with daily living, we were fortunate to find an excellent facility for her: Los Angeles Jewish Health, formerly the Los Angeles Jewish Home. The slight resistance she initially gave us quickly dissipated when she realized this was a place for her to enjoy playing cards and bingo, learn the computer, and enjoy movies and other activities. She was social, made new friends, and soon realized she had come to the right place. I’m not sure how Mary and Cyril first connected, but it could have been in discussion of the beautiful jacaranda tree that sat in the gardens of Eisenberg Village, located on one of the Los Angeles Jewish Health campuses. Coincidentally, Cy was also from South Africa, and the tree brought back memories for both of them of the beautiful trees, with their magnetic purple blooms, lining the streets of Johannesburg and Pretoria. The shade of this beautiful tree would later become their meeting place—a spot where they would sit, hand-in-hand, admiring the blossoms and reminiscing about life in the "old country." It was the start of a love story between two nonagenarian expats from South Africa. Not only did the twosome discover they were from the same country; they came from small cities in close proximity to each other. In fact, Mary’s husband had gone to Cyril’s high school! Now, many decades later, they were sitting cuddled up in a place over 10,000 miles away. Mary and Cy (as he was called) became known to the residents of Los Angeles Jewish Health as "a couple." They would spend their days in the Newman Lounge watching TV, or in front of the Newman building, where more often than not, at least one of them would doze off. They would reminisce about life in South Africa, talk about their children, and quote excerpts from Hamlet, which they had both studied in high school. After some time, it became clear Mary required more care. The decision to move her to skilled nursing was a difficult one because separating her from her beau would be hard on both of them. Yet, the separation only brought them closer. With the exception of mealtime, Cy spent nearly every waking moment trekking over to the Max Factor Building to be with Mary. It seemed nothing was going to keep these two apart…until COVID hit. Quarantine meant they would no longer be able to spend time together. For nearly eight months, they were separated by the virus. Would their relationship be able to weather this storm? When the pandemic began to wane, Mary, whose memory and cognition had deteriorated, moved to the Goldenberg-Ziman Special Care Center. As it happened, Cy was also suffering from the early stages of dementia – and he, too, moved to the G-Z Building. American poet Maya Angelou wrote, "Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." Suddenly, the duo were together again, and the connection was still there. Both were hard of hearing, which made verbal communication difficult, but they had each other, their memories, and their mutual longing for South Africa and its beautiful jacaranda trees. Mary passed away several months ago. This spring, as the jacaranda at Los Angeles Jewish Health begins to bloom, I’ll think with gratitude of my mother, and of Cy, and of the wonderful time they spent together.