Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
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
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Is the global community clear in its response to these extremist groups?
Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.
Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”
Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?
Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.
Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.
Abbas again used the UN to attack Israel, distort history, and undermine prospects for peace.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot even agree to move their clocks back on the same day.
Shemita is about relating to each other by temporarily eliminating gaps of wealth power & status
David transcended adversity to become a leader; Who are we to make excuses for a lack of greatness?
sympathy: Feeling sorrow or pity for another’s tribulations; Empathy:sharing an emotional experience
Last week the president announced a four-point plan. Unfortunately, there’s little buy-in from our European and Middle Eastern allies. Here’s my own four-point plan that may be more palatable to our allies.
Rosh Hashanah has an obvious connection to God’s Kingship. We constantly refer to Him during the Asseres Yemei Teshuvah as Melech/King. The nusach of the tefillah, referring to Rosh Hashanah as “a remembrance of the first day” (of Creation), implies a certain dimension of divine kingship operating at the time of Creation and replicated every […]
Yes, God judges, but His judgment is that of a loving father who longs for his child’s quick return.
The simple act of kindness should be the reward itself. Anything more in the form of a reward is gravy.
Patience seems to be in such short supply these days, yet it can make a world of difference. This is particularly so in certain kinds of stressful situations whereby we think we only have time to act in a knee-jerk way instead of acting thoughtfully.
I recently heard a Pirkei Avos shiur in which the speaker said that our spiritual DNA derives from our patriarchs and matriarchs. The great tests they withstood and for which they gained ever greater prominence was witnessed by the Jews who followed them, many of whom succeeded in overcoming great challenges as well. It seems that an individual’s great effort helps the spiritual strength kick in.
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.
It is very important for Jews to first help family, then other Jews close to us, then Jews not as close. Next, if possible and appropriate, Jews should help those of any race or creed.
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.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/taking-the-anxiety-out-of-growing-older-an-interview-with-author-dr-eva-mor/2009/12/16/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: