Chillul Tefila Bifarhesia, as well as halachicly challenged verbiage and dress, are external manifestations of a critical lack of personal yiras shomayim which has lethal consequences.
In her much needed recently published book, Making the Golden Years Golden (AuthorHouse) Dr. Eva Mor offers strategies and resource information to help make one’s senior years safe, secure and enjoyable. “If you prepare ahead of time there’s no reason you can’t have a good and rich retirement,” said Dr. Mor.
Among other topics, she covers government health-related programs, different residential and insurance costs and options, prescription drugs, recognizing and dealing with illnesses that affect the elderly, financial planning, protecting against elder fraud and reinventing retirement.
The Jewish Press recently spoke with Dr. Mor.
The Jewish Press: I was impressed with the stories in your book about how the right intervention allows a person to live at home and thrive. How do you navigate the fine line between maintaining a person’s independence and offering help?
Dr. Mor: “Communication” is the key word. Sometimes you have to approach the elderly persons in increments. Aging is a complicated issue. Don’t talk down to them – talk with them. The message to send is “I want to help you. You guide me.”
You can give an example of someone else’s parents who never invested in long-term insurance. Now it’s eating up their savings. Ask them, “How about you? Do you have long-term insurance? Do you need such a big house?” You can bring in a third impartial person to the conversation – a rabbi, friend or doctor.
You write about how important it is, when controlling older peoples’ finances, to allow them to have some money in their wallet. But what if they’re confused?
I know an Alzheimer’s patient who is very generous. He’s given some money to have in his wallet. When he goes to a doughnut store with his aide and sees [a few dollars] in his wallet he can buy people a doughnut. It makes him feel so good. He tells the cashier, “Keep the change.”
For what age group did you write this book? How can different age groups benefit?
I originally I wrote with my father in mind. There was no book like this. When I began writing I saw it was also for caregivers of the elderly, including the “sandwich generation” – people that deal with issues with their parents and with their children. This whole society is not ready for aging. We plan our vacations at length, but not our aging.
On the whole, how aware do you think seniors are of what services are available?
There’s very little awareness and very poor advertising. We have not prepared ourselves [regarding aging] personally or as a society. There are programs such as the Medicare drug plan that nobody understands including the people who wrote it. There are not enough geriatric doctors, nurses and social workers. The aging issue has been marginalized.
You’re a specialist in gerontology. What attracted you to this field?
I was born to Holocaust survivors and never had grandparents. In Israel I adopted friend’s grandparents. They were so wonderful, a source of unconditional love. They never said “No.”
Your book has a realistic, yet optimistic tone to it. You note, “Society…still offers a very rich life for us as we age.” What does it mean to make the golden years truly golden?
It’s important to live safely and free of stress. Theoretically you should not have to have the sense of running for financial security. With proper investments financial security should be there and you can live comfortably. You could do all of the things you wanted to do but couldn’t do before when you didn’t have the time…This is the time to do it. You could play golf, have hobbies, and travel. You’re not worrying about depleting assets because you’re set up.
Is living in the comfort of one’s home always the best option when possible?
If you’re safe at home, there’s nothing like being at home. The community should be a little more involved. If you haven’t seen a neighbor in a long time, knock on the door.
Where do you stand on health care reform? Is there anything the Israeli health care system is doing that you think could be helpful for the U.S.?
I like what Israel does. They have a combination of private and public. It’s harder to do that here as the insurance companies are so entrenched. In 1995 there was an Israeli law that guaranteed that everyone gets a basic package. On top of that you could pay more for extras. In Israel every person is covered from birth to death. There, you never have to worry that if you get a disease you won’t be able to afford treatment. They’re very strong on geriatric treatment and services.
Here [in the U.S.], Medicare Part D eliminated coverage (up until $3,000 and then beyond $6,000, called a “doughnut hole”). They cut medication in half. Some people don’t take their medication or they give up food. In America, there are 47 million people without insurance. We need to make the first step [for change] and then other steps are made. When Social Security and Medicare were born there were many fights, yet they are very successful and life-saving programs.
How should a person and family prepare for placement in a nursing home or another senior living venue?
Prepare yourself ahead of time…Know what’s available. If you don’t use it, you don’t need it. Make sure it offers amenities and programs that the person likes. If there’s a synagogue, meet the rabbi. Make an agreement that the home is for a month’s trial. That way a person might be more receptive, knowing he or she is involved in the decision
How do you talk with a person who has Alzheimer’s or shows signs of confusion?
Often, when talking with people with Alzheimer’s one assumes they don’t understand. Let’s go on the assumption that they do. When speaking with them, don’t talk down to them.
Instead of saying, “You want to do something,” say “Would you like to do something?” Talk on an eye level. Don’t speak loudly. Not every elderly person is deaf.
You say in your book, “We are at a turning point in our society.” What do you mean?
The demographic structure is changing. We are senior heavy. We have to accommodate them. These baby boomers are voters. The politicians are open to their needs. We should use this power to achieve better living conditions and better services.
What benefits do seniors get from volunteering?
They see that they are still active and contributing members of society. They have so much knowledge and time. When you work, your schedule is set. Now [in retirement] your schedule is flexible. This can be very joyful. In volunteering, the sense of satisfaction is greater then when you work for pay, for there you have to.
How has working with the elderly, in your own words, “enriched” your life and taught you “a great deal?”
Very few professions will provide you with such a sense of satisfaction in making a difference to another human being. I’m very lucky. I’ve learned that life is precious and that we owe it to ourselves to protect the elderly and give back to them, because they gave…to us.”
Do you have any concluding words?
Aging can be a very positive process and if you’re safe and protected you can age well.
Dr. Mor is an epidemiologist and specialist in gerontology and health-care management and she has worked with the elderly for 23 years in long-term facilities, acute-care hospitals and centers for chronic disease.
The book is available from Barnes and Noble bookstores and on Amazon (online). Also, you can order the book by calling the publisher at 888/280-7715, ext. 5022. More information is available at www.goldenyearsgolden.com
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France 2 and Enderlin must have their press accreditation revoked and be thrown out of Israel.
Slaughter is a routine, widespread practice among many Moslem families.
parently an affront to J Street’s worldview, the focus of which appears to be the creation of a Palestinian State, whether or not that will bring peace.
My mother, the eldest daughter of Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l, was niftar last month at the age of 92. She took her last breath in her home in Efrat, Israel, next door to the shul that was my father’s for 24 years before his passing in 2007.
It comes down to his being famous.
Following the Boston Marathon bombing, one crucial point will likely remain overlooked. The most loathsome aspect of this or any other terror bombing attack on civilians will always lie in the inexpressibility of physical pain. While all decent people will abhor the idea of bombs expressly directed at the innocent, whether here or in other countries, none will ever be able to process the very deepest horrors of what has been inflicted.
It’s only natural to see increasing evidence of Jerusalem’s glorious Jewish past being unearthed, quite literally, under modern Israeli sovereignty. The new archaeological finds are also very timely – as the Arab onslaught attempting to detach Jerusalem from its Jewish roots gains steam, the facts on the ground, or “under” the ground, show quite otherwise.
The Talmud (Berachot 26b) says, “tefillot avot tiknum” – “prayer was established by the avot.” The Talmud then uses the following verse (Bereshit 19:27) to prove how Avraham established prayer: “Vayaskem Avraham baboker el hamakom asher amad sham et pnei Hashem” – “And Avraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before God.”
Nearly 13 years ago, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak journeyed to Camp David to end the conflict with the Palestinians. With the approval of President Clinton, he offered Yasir Arafat an independent Palestinian state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and in part of Jerusalem. Arafat said no.
The news that the Internal Revenue Service unfairly targeted conservative groups has brought renewed spotlight on a 2010 lawsuit filed by the pro-Israel group Z Street, which alleges it was also singled out by the IRS when applying for tax-exempt status.
In an editorial last week (“Circling the Wagons”) we noted the efforts by the administration and its supporters to dismiss allegations that the government’s spin on the Benghazi attack was designed to shield the president and that the IRS was improperly used to stifle opposition to Mr. Obama’s reelection.
As the controversies besetting the Obama administration continue to grow in number and intensity, the prospect that President Obama would seriously consider military action against Iran, should that country continue its drive to become a nuclear power, becomes more and more remote. So we welcome the current enhancement of sanctions against Iran on the federal and New York State levels.
To his parents’ friends, he was “Mrs. Greenberg’s disgrace,” but to sports fans he is one of the greatest – if not the greatest – Jewish baseball players of all time. Long before Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg excited Jewish sports fans with his prowess on the baseball diamond.
The first and only time I said I was a rabbi was also the first and only time I had a gun pointed at me. What led me to that moment was my need to stay on the Upper West Side for a Shabbos and a hospitality committee that arranged for me to stay with a man who lived in the former janitor’s apartment on the fifth floor of a synagogue.
The five-year-old boy was in a church in Puerto Rico with his parents. As they and his grandparents were Catholics, that made him Catholic – as far as his young mind could figure.
I was preparing a shiur to honor the memory of my father, Paul Magill, a”h, on the 20th anniversary of his passing, and I was looking at that week’s sedrah, Parshas Re’eh. I was struck by the words, “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing: that you hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, that I command you today. And the curse: if you do not hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, and you stray from the path that I command you today, to follow gods of others, that you did not know.”
Feeling more alone than at any time since arriving in New York, I looked inside myself for anything that could anchor me to bring me back to who I was, to move away from illusions of romance to my central sticking point. Suddenly and unexpectedly, being a Jew meant more to me than anything else in the world.
You don’t become a ba’al teshuvah overnight. There were many events in my life that contributed to the deepening of my religious commitment, including a party I attended with young, beautiful church members who tried to make me one of them, and how I met their “Jewish priest.” (I’ll discuss both experiences during the course of this continuing column.)
I do not dress like the average Orthodox man in my Brooklyn neighborhood. It’s not that I’m trying to make a statement by often going hatless and wearing blue and brown suits, it’s just that in becoming religious I have changed so much – there are certain things I don’t want to give up, especially since my religion doesn’t truly ask me to do so.
It’s my first moment of wakefulness, and I’m chilled to the bone. Pull the covers over myself, I’m thinking, while I decide to roll over to look at the clock. It’s 5:30 a.m. and I’m exhausted. But attending morning minyan – even once – is the least I can do.
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