COVID – 19 UPDATES

Find agency updates, helpful blogs & articles, and other resources HERE

Tips, Resources & Support for Holiday Season During COVID-19

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 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 liveThursday, November 26 at 11 AM.

Festive Foods

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!

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:

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

Caregiving, COVID-19 and the Holidays

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

REGISTER NOW

A Special Prayer

CARETAKER’S 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

Hospice Myths & Truths, Answers to Your Questions About Hospice Care

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?

Presenters:
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:

November Programs for Seniors

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.

Click to Join the Zoom

Meeting ID: 690 753 7060

Contact Beth Englezos at bethe@jfcsonline.org for the password

 

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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

 

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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?

Click to Join the Zoom

Meeting ID# 8970033588

Password 1234

To call in: 1-(929-205-6099) Enter meeting ID and password at the prompts

 

 

How to Join a Zoom Call

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations, communities, and families have turned to Zoom as a way to connect virtually while remaining socially distant. But joining Zoom calls can be complicated and time-consuming, which discourages us from socializing with relatives and friends. These instructions can help you to join Zoom calls using a computer, a smartphone, or a regular cell phone so that you don’t miss out on virtual social gatherings.

Find the information for your Zoom call:
  • If you are joining a meeting for an organization, a webinar, or any other large gathering, the Zoom information was likely emailed to you or written on a flyer
  • If you are Zooming with a small group of friends or family members, the Zoom information may have been texted or emailed to you by one of the people you will be meeting with
  • Zoom information typically includes a link (something like this: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/77031980384?pwd=VTExL1RhcVp3OFFwcVZTQnNoUHpJQT09)
  • There may also be a meeting ID (e.g. 992 8642 1976) and a passcode (e.g. Zoom123)
  • Zoom information also includes phone numbers (e.g. 646-814-2485) that you can dial to join the call if you do not have a smartphone or computer
Join a Zoom call from your computer:
  • Click on the link for the Zoom call or highlight the link, copy it, and paste it into your browser
  • To copy and paste the link: Hold down on the mouse while dragging it across the link à Press Control-C or Command-C (depending on your type of computer) à Open a new browser window and place your cursor in the search bar à Press Control-V or Command-V (depending on your type of computer)
  • After opening the Zoom link, enter the Meeting ID and password if needed
  • A window will pop up asking for this information if it is necessary
  • Click “Join with computer audio” so you can hear the meeting
  • To show your video, click on “Start video” in the bottom left corner of your Zoom screen
  • Turn on your audio by clicking “Unmute” in the bottom left corner of your Zoom screen
Join a Zoom call using the app on your smartphone:
  • Download the Zoom app by searching for it in the App Store on your smartphone
  • Click on the link for the Zoom call
  • If it is your first time using the Zoom app, windows will pop up asking you questions:
  • Choose whether Zoom can access your camera (so you can be seen) by clicking “OK” or “Don’t Allow” when the window pops up
  • Choose whether Zoom can access your microphone (so you can be heard) by clicking “OK” or “Don’t Allow” when the window pops up
  • Decide whether you would like Zoom to send you notifications by pressing “OK” or “Don’t Allow” when the window pops up
  • Select “Join with Video” or “Join without Video”
  • After opening the Zoom link, enter the Meeting ID and password if needed
  • A window will pop up asking for this information if it is necessary
  • Click “Call using Internet audio” so you can hear the meeting
  • To show your video, tap the screen and click on “Start video” in the bottom left corner
  • Turn on your audio by tapping the screen and clicking “Unmute” in the bottom left corner
Join a Zoom call by dialing a phone number:
  • Dial the number for your location (e.g. +1 646 476 1027 US – New York) – the numbers will be included in the Zoom call information
  • Join the Zoom call as if you are on a phone call – You will only have audio
General Zoom Etiquette:

 To minimize background noise, mute yourself when you are not speaking by clicking “Mute” on the bottom left hand corner of your Zoom screen

  • If you would like to get the host’s attention to speak, you can virtually “raise your hand”
  • Click on “Participants” at the bottom middle of your Zoom screen à Click on the blue hand that says “Raise hand” à After you have spoken, click the blue hand again to “Lower hand”
  • If you would like to type something in the chat, click “Chat” at the bottom middle of your Zoom screen and type your message
  • All participants will be able to see your message unless you select a specific person to chat with by clicking on the “To” field above the chat box and picking a participant to message privately

Stay Safe and Happy Zooming!

Emmanuelle Farrell, MSW Intern

August 21 is Senior Citizen’s Day! Celebrating Seniors

August 21 is Senior Citizen’s Day, recognized across the country as a day to celebrate our seniors. JFCS celebrates and supports older adults here in our Mercer community all year round – the retirees who serve as dedicated volunteers, the Holocaust Survivors who are staying connected through technology, the older adults who join in our weekly group to help each other through this difficult time, the seniors across the community who are aging independently in their homes.

In honor of Senior Citizen’s Day, we are sharing resources, information and groups tailored for our senior community.

Connecting with your elderly loved ones…

Looking for Senior Resources?

Support for Seniors

  • Join our weekly Social Support Group, designed for older adults to connect during a time of social distancing and isolation. Register to join weekly.
  • For Jewish seniors, the upcoming holidays may be a lonely time, and we’re offering special programs to address some of the emotional challenges you may face during this time.
  • Are you a Caregiver? If you are caring for a spouse with chronic illness, join our upcoming Caregiver Support Group beginning Sept 15. Click to learn more & register.

Worried about aging in your own home?

Featured in Town Topics July 29, 2020 Edition – Senior Living Section

The majority of older adults prefer to “age in place” in the homes and communities they have lived in for most of their adult lives. But how do you know if remaining in your home continues to be a safe place?  What if family and friends are no longer nearby? In particular, the pandemic has brought more scrutiny to these concerns about staying safe in your home, when home is the safest place for seniors.

This is where the JFCS Geriatric Care Management team can step in to help. Our caring team of professionals can offer guidance, solutions, advocacy and a full spectrum of support for older adults. 

Begin with a comprehensive care consultation that assesses everything from home safety to reviewing which legal, medical and financial documents should be readily accessible.

Following your assessment, we can provide long-term assistance through Secure@Home, an aging-in-place, membership program. This non-sectarian program offers seniors the resources to remain independent, comfortable and safe in their homes for as long as they wish. Membership benefits include care management, 24/7 emergency phone availability, information & referral, transportation options, monthly hellos and more.

Want to learn more? Call 609-987-8100 or visit www.jfcsonline.org/senior-services

Summer Heat Safety for Seniors

With summer in full swing and the pandemic limiting the number of cool places people can retreat to, it is extra important to review the essentials of summer heat safety. These tips are good for everyone to keep in mind, but are tailored specifically for seniors whose additional needs are not always included in traditional heat safety reminders.

  • Keep cool. Rest in the middle of the day when it’s hottest and do chores and yardwork in the early mornings or evenings. If you do not have air conditioning, close your blinds or curtains during the day to block excess sun from heating your home.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water, sports drinks or juices as well as eating fruits and vegetables. Don’t only drink when you feel thirsty – this means you’re already on the road to dehydration, and many seniors experience a diminished sense of thirst that can keep them from always knowing when they need a drink. Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake as well in order to avoid their dehydrating (diuretic) effects.
  • Check your medications for side effects that may emerge in the summer.
    • Diuretics (prescribed for conditions like glaucoma, high blood pressure, and edema) and laxatives cause you to lose fluids and become dehydrated faster.
    • NSAIDs, some antibiotics and sulfonlyureas (prescribed for diabetes management) can cause rashes where your skin is exposed to the sun.
    • Antipsychotics (prescribed for psychiatric management or sleep) can dull internal senses and prevent you from knowing if your body is getting too hot.
    • Anticholinergics (prescribed for COPD, incontinence, gastrointestinal disorders, and allergies/asthma) can cause you to sweat less, preventing your body from cooling itself.
    • Beta blockers cause slower heartbeats, which can get in the way of your body’s ability to respond to heat stress.
  • The risk for heat-related illness increases with age and is even greater for those with health conditions such as heart and circulatory system problems, lung or kidney disease, infections, and those who are highly under- or overweight. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions to stay safe this summer.
  • Consider wearing a call button in case of emergencies. While some may find the idea uncomfortable, erring on the side of caution is a key part of summer safety. Another option is agreeing with a friend to check in with a phone call once a day.
  • Know how it feels to have different heat-related illnesses and what you should do about them.
    • Heat exhaustion: Occurs when your body is struggling to maintain your normal temperature because of the increased heat outside. If your body can’t release the heat faster than it accepts it, your core temperature will begin to rise. This situation is dangerous to your health and requires immediate action.
      • Symptoms include dizziness/feeling faint, loss of consciousness, excessive sweating, weak heartbeat, nausea/vomiting, muscle cramps, headache, pale and cool skin, and a temperature higher than your baseline but lower than 103°.
      • To treat, start by moving to a cool place and drink water slowly. When you feel well enough, take a cool (not hot or cold) shower or bath, or place cool, damp cloths on your neck, armpits, groin and forehead. Get help if your symptoms do not improve after an hour, you vomit or lose consciousness or are concerned that you will.
    • Heat stroke: your body has exhausted all methods of cooling itself down, and your temperature is dangerously high. The situation is extremely dangerous and requires emergency medical treatment.
      • Symptoms include dizziness/feeling faint, loss of consciousness, no sweating, rapid and strong heartbeat, nausea/vomiting, headache, skin that’s hot, red and dry, and a temperature above 103°.
      • If you get heatstroke it’s unlikely you’ll be well enough to treat yourself, which is why it’s so important to pay attention to how you feel before the situation becomes dangerous. To treat someone else with heatstroke, call 911 immediately – the longer a person has heatstroke, the more likely they will not recover or will have lasting damage to their body when they do. While you wait, follow the dispatcher’s instructions, which will most likely be to bring the person to a cool place and place cool, damp cloths on their armpits, neck, groin and forehead. Do not attempt to give them anything to drink, especially if they are confused or unconscious; the person may accidentally breathe in the fluid (aspiration) which is also extremely dangerous. Medical professionals will rehydrate the person themselves using IV fluids.

Samantha Goldfarb, Intern

Are your aging loved ones safe at home?

A recent article from AARP* told the story of a 70 year old woman, who had a medical emergency while out of town. According to the article, it required an “array of often-confusing calls and wide outreach to friends and neighbors that left her feeling vulnerable and terrified.” The article continues by outlining important steps to take if this should happen to you.

It is very helpful advice if you are physically and mentally capable of advocating for yourself, or if you have a concerns about an aging loved one who wants to remain in their home. Whether or not you are, the Secure@Home program can be an invaluable resource. Secure@Home is an aging-in-place program staffed by clinical social workers/geriatric care managers.

As a member of the program, if you do not have family or friends who could intervene on your behalf, you can list a Secure@Home care manager as your primary emergency contact. Though we do not make medical decisions for you, as a member, we would know who your medical care proxy is and how to reach them. We would have a list of your medications, physicians and additional emergency contacts. We would also have your advance directive on file and could transmit it to wherever you were hospitalized, and coordinate your follow up care with the hospital social worker. The Secure@Home program will follow you wherever you are.

We have received calls from people who are traveling and find themselves in a hospital. Sometimes their travel buddy or spouse calls us to find out what medications they are taking. And of course, when you are home, we will step in and manage your care locally. One of the AARP article recommendations was to “find a geriatric care manager” – and here we are! 

Andrea Gaynor, LCSW Geriatric Care Manager