Seniors are survivors – many have lived through wars, rocket attacks and other traumas – and they have generally faced the COVID pandemic with strength and stoicism. But now, with vaccination campaigns in full swing, many older people are starting to consider how they want to live the rest of their lives.
Community life has been one of the many casualties of the coronavirus. Starting each day with a friendly Shacharit minyan used to give structure to many men’s lives, and davening at home is just not the same. Shopping and cooking for meals with friends and family used to fill the hours for most Jewish women – cooking for two or just for yourself feels much less rewarding!
“There is no doubt that life after corona is going to look different for most people”, says Emanuel Globerman, CEO of Beit Tovei Ha’ir in Jerusalem. “Our priorities have changed. We want to feel safe, but we don’t want to be lonely. Family and friends became sources of infection – people were afraid to hug their children. How can we bounce back from this?
“We recognize that the COVID pandemic not only took many lives but has also impacted our mental health. The medical staff at Beit Tovei Ha’ir have been screening residents for signs of tiredness and mood swings. Our Brain Care Center team has been helping to recognize signals of accelerating dementia, and treating any deterioration with mental exercises and other mitigating activities. Seniors who have been living alone over the past year without family visits may be concealing symptoms of anxiety and mental deterioration that should be addressed,” he adds.
Community living in a senior residence like Beit Tovei Ha’ir combines the best of both worlds. Individuals and couples can live independent lives in their own apartments, choosing which cultural events to join, and keeping busy with their own hobbies and interests. Residents have been able to enjoy swimming in our pool, walking around Jerusalem, and even visiting the Kotel.
At the same time, they have been able to participate in minyanim and shiurim, attend lectures and concerts, and enjoy communal meals on Shabbat and Chagim. Family visits have continued – outside during the summer months, and with social distancing inside the building when the weather turned cold. Weekly group discussions with the house doctors and the resident Rabbi, Rav Natan Shapiro, have encouraged people to share their feelings about the many challenges of the pandemic. Being part of a supportive community has helped them to deal with the loss of relatives and friends.
“At Beit Tovei Ha’ir the good life continues!” says Globerman. “We have made a big effort to find reasons to celebrate, and have organized extra concerts and parties to keep people’s spirits up. Everything has been done under the careful guidance of our medical team, who have supervised corona tests for visiting family members and monitored all residents and staff carefully. We had a few cases of infection during the first wave, but thank G-d, they were dealt with professionally and all recovered. One of our oldest residents returned to us from the hospital with a smile on her face!”
Are you or your parents thinking about a change of lifestyle? There are usually a few vacant apartments in Beit Tovei Ha’ir that can be rented on a short-term basis by individuals and couples who want to try living in Jerusalem’s most welcoming senior community.
Contact us today if you would like more information, or visit our website www.tovei.co.il