“The strength and durability of a society can be judged by how it treats its elderly.”(John F. Kennedy)
They have been through difficult times and exhilarating change; and now they deserve a modicum of comfort and dignity as they face their remaining years. The Federation of Jewish Communities provides hundreds of thousands of Jewish senior citizens a wide range of services, to address their emotional, physical and financial needs.
Adult education, social gatherings, even Yiddish clubs are only part of the activities offered at hundreds of free, walk-in day-centers that give meaning to lonely days and invigorate the elderly with a sense of self-worth. Volunteers visit the homebound, providing companionship and assessing their needs for clothes, food or medical care. And short-term assisted housing facilities, such as the Warm House in Viborg, Russia, provide shelter for anything up to three-month stays.
But, it is long-term assisted living facilities that are the key goal.
In 2001, a Federation member community in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine partnered with the Global Jewish Assistance and Relief Network to open the first Jewish assisted-living facility in the former Soviet Union. One hundred permanent residents now reside in single or two-room units with private bathrooms. They enjoy access to medical and physiotherapy facilities, a fitness center, a communal dining room and a meeting hall. But most important of all – they enjoy these in concert with their contemporaries, with whom they share a difficult past and a much rosier future.