Pictured is one happy family… a mother, daughter and grand daughter who love each other very much. Visiting with one another is heavenly. It’s a family that talks to one another every day, sometimes calling between television commercials. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Helen Caspan, age 77, at Life Care Center of Altamonte Springs. She lives for these annual family reunions. A picture of her with her daughter, Yoheved, and grand daughter, Sarah Rivkah, is as precious as gold. She will show it to every nurse and health aide that enters her room on a daily basis. She will show it to the maintenance man, the kitchen staff and anyone else who comes by. But who else comes?
While Helen sees her daughter from New York annually, she sees her Jewish Pavilion volunteers a few times a week. When Jackie Levitt is in town, she stops by on a daily basis. Nancy and Evan Ludin come every Saturday. Phil Brown visits semi weekly on Fridays and conducts Shabbat services. These visits sustain Helen for an entire year.
Many Jewish residents in skilled nursing facilities are alone in the world. Helen is one of the lucky ones. It is expensive and challenging for her daughter to visit from New York. Yoheved is an Orthodox Jew who keeps glatt kosher. She travels with all of the food she needs. Even when in Orlando for five days, she cannot visit her mother on Shabbat, because there is no hotel in walking distance of her mother’s facility. When visiting, the threesome is “stuck” in a semi-private room in the nursing home and space is very tight. Helen sits in her wheel chair while her daughter is propped up on the bed. Her granddaughter crayons in a coloring book while standing bedside. There are no chairs.
For many elderly adults in long term care, The Jewish Pavilion has truly become a second family. Coordinating volunteers and events is a labor of love. The support of the community is needed for these services to continue. Browse this website to enrich the lives of Helen and others in her situation.