Our senior service team shared their thoughts and experiences working with our older adults clients over the past year – everything from how seniors adapted to quarantine and supported each other, to how Holocaust Survivors maintained their connections while learning to Zoom.
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is pleased to announce that the theme of Older Americans Month (OAM) 2021 is Communities of Strength. Older adults have built resilience and strength over their lives through successes, failures, joys, and difficulties. Their stories and contributions help to support and inspire others.
In May, ACL will celebrate the strength of older adults and the Aging Network, with special emphasis on the power of connection and engagement in building strong communities.
There are many things we all can do to nurture ourselves, reinforce our strength, and continue to thrive. Connecting with others is one of the most important—it plays a vital role in our health and well-being, and in that of our communities.
From finding joy in small things and sharing our stories, to looking at the big picture and giving to others, ACL will promote the ways we are connected and strong. Join us in encouraging people of all ages to celebrate their communities and community members.
As an intern at JFCS, I have had the privilege of interacting with our senior clients during the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout a period of isolation, uncertainty, and fear, I have seen firsthand the resilience and positivity of older Americans. Whether I was assisting Senior Outreach Service (SOS) participants with the COVID vaccine pre-registration process, forming bonds with the Holocaust survivors through weekly check-in calls and Café Europa Zoom events, or delivering groceries to Healthy@Home clients, I have appreciated the opportunity to connect with older adults and learn about their life stories. My time at JFCS has taught me that older adults shape the communities they belong to by contributing wisdom, gratitude, and strength to those around them. As a young adult, I have benefited greatly from my relationships with JFCS’ older clients and will apply the lessons I have learned to my future career and personal life. This Older Americans Month, let us celebrate the invaluable role that older adults play in our communities.
Emmanuelle Farrell, MSW Intern
JFCS continues to provide an updated list of known vaccine sites on our COVID resource page. We are making every effort to keep the community up to date through the resource page with information available to us.
Our senior services team is working to connect our clients, specifically our senior clients and others who currently qualify for vaccine, to any available and known resources.
Anxieties are reaching a peak level amongst the older adults in our community as the state-wide scramble for vaccine appointments drags on. For members of JFCS Secure@Home and Senior Outreach Service (SOS) programs, there is some solace found in the dedication and compassion of our geriatric care managers.
Our senior service team is going above and beyond for our Secure@Home members and senior clients. We know many older adults are facing challenges securing a vaccine timeslot. For Secure@Home members, the 24/7 support and hard work of our team of geriatric care managers has been the difference between getting a timeslot and not. Members of the program regular updates from the care managers about all available vaccine resources. The up-to-date information has helped many of our program members be connected with vaccine distribution sites and confirm appointments.
During the past year, when many seniors were more isolated and distanced from loved ones than ever before, our senior services team ensured they never felt alone. Whether it was a friendly check-in needed, or finding a volunteer to help with groceries, or helping find and secure COVID-19 tests or vaccine appointments, our care managers were there for our members. The team continues to respond to the immediate needs of seniors with each wave of challenges during the pandemic.
“I keep thinking how many thanks I’m feeling for getting that [registration] link to me. I almost lost an appointment within the next few weeks but was able to book one thanks to your quick action!”
“You both put the arms of angels around me this morning. Thank you for helping me find an appointment for today. Sunny day. Easy trip. Very, Very well-organized site. Date for next vaccine set.”
“I am emailing to commend Beth Hammer for her extraordinary efforts to get vaccination appointments for me and other Secure@Home members. She has done far more than what I would expect her to do. And it has worked. Thank you for having such a dedicated and determined staff member!”
Our geriatric care managers are here to help you and your loved ones by providing an umbrella of services to promote healthy aging and “aging in place.” Full Secure@Home membership benefits include care management, assessment, 24/7 emergency phone availability, information & referral, transportation options, monthly hellos and more. Geriatric care consultations and care management can also be provided at an hourly rate if you are not yet in need of full-time support but as-needed care.
When it can be difficult to find peace of mind, our Secure@Home team is providing comfort and solace to seniors during this pandemic and beyond. If you want to learn more about Secure@Home and our senior support programs, contact our team at 609-987-8100 Ext 203.
Free, Six Week Group
Thursdays, March 4 – April 8 | 2:00 – 3:15 PM | Via Zoom
Following the death of a loved one, each of us moves in our own time and in our own way, through a process of grief, mourning and adjustment. But we do not have to grieve alone…
This is a weekly group in which members converse openly and support one another through the grief process. Open to any Jewish adult, regardless of affiliation, who has lost a loved one within the past 12 months.
Facilitated by Chaplain Beverly Rubman, MA
No fee to attend, registration required. To register, contact Beverly Rubman at email@example.com / 609-987-8100 Ext 139.
We are so pleased to welcome Emmanuelle Farrell, Rutgers MSW student, to the agency for her first internship. She works with clients in Senior Services, Case Management and the Food Pantry and offers to help staff in any way she can. Despite these challenging times, she has already hit the ground running in the few months that she has been here.
Beverly Mishkin, LCSW, Director of Case Management & Senior Services
My name is Emmanuelle Farrell, and I am interning at JFCS this year as part of my Master of Social Work program at Rutgers University. As a first-year graduate student, working at JFCS has offered me crucial experience with older adults and food insecure residents of Mercer County. As the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented many of my classmates from interning in person, I feel very grateful to be able to complete my internship in the JFCS office, where the few staff members working in-person wear masks and remain socially distant at all times. This direct approach has allowed me to see firsthand the significant impacts of the pandemic on the communities that JFCS serves.
The needs I have observed among the populations that JFCS provides services to appear to be exacerbated by financial, social, and health-related repercussions of the current pandemic. As I work primarily within the Senior Services department, I have noticed that older adults are in need of more than just basic necessities, like food and home health care. In making weekly check-in calls to Holocaust survivors and collecting seniors’ responses to program surveys, I have realized that many older adults are in dire need of companionship. This desire for social interaction has increased dramatically as the danger of contracting COVID-19 has stopped seniors from seeing family members and caregivers as frequently, if at all.
I also work with community members who reach out for assistance and help them get connected with our food pantry as a means of support.
I have also heard from other staff members that the demand for hunger prevention services has heightened significantly due to the widespread unemployment and subsequent economic difficulty associated with the pandemic. In general, the coronavirus pandemic has intensified the financial and interpersonal needs of vulnerable groups, increasing participation in JFCS’ programs and creating a unique learning environment for me as an intern.
There have been many connections between the content of my Master of Social Work courses and my experiences at JFCS. Primarily, I have been able to apply the communication skills I have learned in class to my interactions with clients, including empathetic listening and the use of furthering responses to encourage individuals to share. In addition, my work with the Holocaust survivors at JFCS has allowed me to implement a trauma-informed perspective, which I have learned about in my practice-focused classes. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to unite my academic setting with my fieldwork placement at JFCS.
Following the completion of my Master of Social Work degree, I hope to become a clinical social worker and administer therapy. Although I am interested in working with various populations, I intend to focus on serving trauma survivors through play therapy with children or cognitive behavioral therapy with adults. After becoming involved with JFCS, I have also gained an interest in working with older adults, particularly those who have endured trauma, such as survivors of the Holocaust. I plan to utilize many capabilities that I have developed as a JFCS intern in my future career, including performing intake procedures, researching program outcomes, and engaging compassionately with clients.
Although I have gathered many crucial sights throughout my time at JFCS, the most inspirational aspect of my internship has been the tangible difference that the organization makes in people’s daily lives. Every time I make a check-in call to an older adult, refer a new client to our food pantry, or assist with a distribution through the Mobile Food Pantry, I know I am making a meaningful change for an individual or family in need. I look forward to continuing my internship and furthering the agency’s incredible mission to empower individuals to care for themselves and others.
Emmanuelle Farrell, MSW Intern
This time of year is usually full of eager anticipation, cheerful gatherings, acts of kindness and charitable giving. Like so many aspects of life, this year the holiday season will look different than ones that came before. While we will all have to continue to be creative in how and where we gather with family and friends, observe holiday traditions, and participate in the season, we can still make this year meaningful and special.
Coping with Separation & Loss During Celebrations
Do you or your families need a refresher on Zoom? Don’t let anyone feel left out of the virtual celebration, share our step by step Zoom Guide.
Consider a drive-by potluck dinner. If you can’t bring yourself to reduce the recipe of your favorite holiday dish, coordinate with loved ones who may be within driving distance and organize a drop-off potluck. Make the full holiday serving size, divvy up into individual portions, and make a no-contact delivery to loved ones who are close by. OR, if you are far apart from loved ones, especially elderly family members, consider ordering them a prepared meal to be delivered.
Find more tips like this in…
Remember, this year, safety is most important to ensure future holidays celebrations can be shared together in person. Review the CDC Guidelines and Recommendations for Thanksgiving & upcoming holidays.
If you are a caregiver, this holiday can be extra difficult managing the stress of your role in the midst of the pandemic, and without the extra family support during this season. We are here for caregivers.
If you have experienced loss this year, this difficult and distanced holiday time can feel especially challenging to navigate.
- For those of the Jewish faith, join us on December 9 for a special program “Light in the Midst of Darkness: Chanukah in the time of COVID for the Bereaved” Register in advance (fee $10)
Additional resources for the bereaved:
Time for Traditions
Practice gratitude. Here are a number of resources for nurturing gratitude for Thanksgiving and beyond.
Find comfort in the familiar of tradition. Put out the special tableware, the traditional recipes, and find religious services streaming online.
Embrace the nostalgia of the hand-written card. When we are all missing family and friends more than ever, a hand-written (or even hand-made if you want to avoid the stores) card can mean so much to the recipient.
Dress up! Even if you are hosting a smaller gathering than usual, or celebrating solo, dress up in your formal holiday attire. Wearing your holiday best can bring about the celebratory spirit!
Missing out on the cookie baking marathon with your loved ones? Set up a video call and bake “together.” This can be a special opportunity to record your family members passing down beloved family recipes which can be cherished for generations.
Find more tips like this in…
Community Event: Interfaith Thanksgiving Service dedicated in memory of Rabbi Feldman
Thurs, November 26 @ 11:00 AM
Join for a special interfaith service for the holiday. STREAM LIVE
Make this time Special with Service
This has been a challenging year for many – job loss, food insecurity, seniors feeling especially isolated. In this season of giving, find ways to make a difference in your community…
Participate or lead a Thanksgiving/Holiday Food Drive. Check with local pantries if they are collecting specific items for the upcoming holidays or if they are in need of pantry staples.
- Want to support JFCS pantry clients? Contact us: BethE@jfcsonline.org / 609-987-8100 Ext 126.
Want to get out into the community? Food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens continue to see rising demand. Reach out to organizations in your area and inquire about volunteer opportunities. Many organizations are relying on volunteers to facilitate large-scale grab and go meal distributions.
- Help at JFCS! We welcome volunteers to help pack prepared bags of food for our on-site and mobile food pantries. Contact us: BethE@jfcsonline.org / 609-987-8100 Ext 126.
Share a smile with a senior. The restrictions of current quarantine orders dramatically impact older adults. Consider making holiday cards to be shared with isolated seniors. Reach out to local senior care facilities or organizations to inquire about how to best distribute holiday greeting cards to their residents/clients.
- JFCS is collecting cards for our senior clients which will be distributed to those who receive delivered meals and food. Contact Eden Aaronson to learn more: EdenA@jfcsonline.org / 609-987-8100 Ext 113.
Make a donation. Find an organization close to your heart and make a gift that is meaningful to you to support them. Share with family and friends why this cause is important and encourage them to do the same.
- You can help make the holidays special for JFCS clients by donating gift cards to our L.I.G.H.T.S (Love is Getting Holidays Gifts to Share) program. Learn more here.
- By making a general monetary donation to JFCS, you are enabled us to continue our vital support to the community through our food pantries, senior support and mental health care. Make a donation today.
Embrace the Opportunity for NEW Traditions
Never had time to make a Turkey Trot before now? Most charity walks/races have gone virtual and can be completed from anywhere! Make a team with family and friends no matter how distanced you are, and embrace the chance to create a new tradition with them.
- You can participate in the Mercer County Turkey Trot Nov 21 – 28! Proceeds help support Mercer County food pantries including JFCS. Sign up today!
Create a Secret “Snowflake” gift exchange through the magic of Amazon Prime (or any online store). Organize a gift exchange through a broad network using social media or keep it to a close-knit group with whom you may not be able to gather in person with this year.
Seek out virtual holiday concert or performances, coordinate virtual “watch parties” of your favorite holiday movies with your loved ones, enjoy outdoor, socially distanced opportunities like drive-through or walk-through light displays, and explore local opportunities like Palmer Square holiday weekends or Morven Museum & Garden Festival of Trees.
This Thanksgiving, enjoy an Interfaith Service, dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Adam Feldman. Stream the program live, Thursday, November 26 at 11 AM.
See a guided video by our very own Andrea Gaynor to make your own Sufganiyot (Jelly Doughnuts) for Hanukkah!
Our registered dietitan has shared tips and recipes for budget-friendly and time-conscious Thanksgiving dishes.
Check out additional family friendly recipes:
Games & Crafts
Get crafty and creative this holiday season with these activities fun for all ages!
- Holiday Family Fued (make teams and play over Zoom!)
- Thanksgiving Gratitude Game
- Thanksgiving Movies (set up a virtual watch party for loved ones near & far!)
- DIY Mason Jar Luminaries for your holiday table
- Mason Jar Leaf Luminaries
- Make Your Own Hanukkah Candles
- Origami Paper Dreidal
- DIY Menorahs
- Hanukkah Family Game Night – ideas for all 8 nights!
- Gift Wrapping Tips
Do What Works Best for YOU and Your Mental Health
It has been said that during the pandemic, sometimes it takes more effort to accomplish less. The emotional and mental toll of the past months may leave many feeling exceptionally fatigued by the holidays before they have even arrived.
If you need to keep things simple to protect your mental health, then take the time for self-care. If you’re feeling over-Zoomed before weeks of virtual holiday drinks, be honest with your family and friends and let them know you cannot join all of the engagements.
Find information & tips in our blogs:
- Practicing Self-Care
- Supporting Those Around You, AND Caring For Yourself
- A Reflection on “Making the Most of Your Time”
- Review breathing & mindfulness exercises (VIDEO)
- Understanding your feelings of grief for the “loss of normal” (VIDEO)
And, if you need to talk to someone, reach out to JFCS…
- During our Drop-in Hours (Mon, Wed, Fri 10 AM – 12 PM or Tues, Thurs 5 – 7 PM) call 609-987-8100 Dial 0
- Connect with our intake coordinator for ongoing counseling at 609-987-8100 Ext 102
To all Caregivers…
In these difficult times of COVID-19, we all look to support each other and, particularly, to give extra attention to you who are taking care of your loved ones. Here is a helpful articles on how to have a Safe, Fun and Festive Holiday.
Looking for support?
Are you a caregiver for your loved one with Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s or another chronic disease or illness? Our non-sectarian group provides tips, techniques and resources to help you live your life while supporting your loved one.
Caregiver Support Group
Tuesdays (6 Sessions) | Beginning Jan 5, 2021 at 2:30 PM
Fee: $50, 6 sessions every other week
A Special Prayer
Dear G-d, give me the strength to face this day,
To deal with the tension, anxiety and dizzying confusion of my life.
Teach me to focus, to prioritize, to see with clarity.
G-d of patience, teach me to be patient.
Forgiving G-d, teach me to forgive.
Bless me with the courage to face my loved one’s illness and pain, amidst my own fears.
Touch me with your spiritual light, your love, your wisdom
So that I can continue my task tomorrow, knowing that You are by my side.
Based on the writing of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, appearing in The Gentle Weapon: Prayers for Everyday and Not-So-Everyday Moments (Jewish Lights)
Beverly Rubman, Chaplain & Support Group Facilitator
JFCS and Secure@Home were proud to partner with Greenwood Hospice Team to present on hospice myths and truths. The Greenwood Hospice Team addressed important misconceptions about hospice care and what it means and answered your questions like…
How do I know it is time for hospice care? How is it determined that someone qualifies for hospice?
How do I find the right hospice care for myself or my loved one?
Is there coordination between hospice and the patient’s personal physician?
What if there is no family at home with someone who needs hospice care?
How do you handle it if a patent has dementia and wants something that the family doesn’t want for them?
Beverly Mishkin, LCSW, Director of Senior Services & Case Management (JFCS)
Joy Simons, RN, CHPN : RN/Case Manager and Admissions Coordinator (Greenwood Hospice)
Edwin Arevalo,Jr. MDiv, MSCC : Chaplain/Spiritual & Bereavement Counselor (Greenwood Hospice)
Marcelle McGovern, LSW, MSW: Medical Social Worker (Greenwood Hospice)
View the full webinar recording below:
Nosh & Knowledge Programs are Back – Virtually!
Once a month, JFCS partners with Congregation Beth Chaim for a “Nosh & Knowledge” event for seniors in West Windsor (Mercer County) NJ.
Pirke Avot. The Wisdom of our Ancestors – Thursday, November 12th at 12:30 PM
Join Rabbi Adena Blum (in November) and Anne Berman-Waldorf (December) for an hour devoted to Pirke Avot, Chapters of Our Ancestors. This text contains keen observations of the human condition, penned by our sages. Join us to look at the ethical dilemmas our ancestors faced – all still relevant as we seek to create lives of meaning in our modern world.
Meeting ID: 690 753 7060
Contact Beth Englezos at firstname.lastname@example.org for the password
Hospice Myths & Truths, a partner event with Greenwood Hospice
November 16 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM | CLICK TO REGISTER!
Presented by the Greenwood Hospice Team
Learn the facts from the experts! Know your options! Bring your questions!
November is National Hospice & Palliative Care, Family Caregivers and Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
JFCS & Beth El Seniors Club
Each month, JFCS co-sponsors the Beth El Seniors Club to present a speaker or program of interest to older adults in the East Windsor (Mercer County) area.
Bubbe-Meises! Thursday, November 19th at 1:30 PM
Do you remember hearing these sayings when you were growing up or having families of your own? The question is, are they grounded in Jewish, or are they “bubbe-meises” – superstitions or old wives tales?
Meeting ID# 8970033588
To call in: 1-(929-205-6099) Enter meeting ID and password at the prompts