The Jewish Pavilion is not a “place” but it has a place in the hearts of seniors throughout Central Florida. Our staff and hundreds of volunteers visit seniors in more than 57 local assisted-living, long-term care, nursing, memory and rehabilitation facilities. The Jewish Pavilion mission is connecting elder-care community residents and their families with a caring Jewish community that provides life-enhancing resources and experiences. Bringing smiles to residents of all faiths.
Imagine what it would be like to lose your health, your spouse, your friends, your car, and your home. No one wants to grow old alone. Yet, most people do. Isolation, loneliness and depression afflict most seniors in long- term care.
People sleeping is what you see when you walk into a nursing home. Why bother to remain awake when there is little to look forward to? To make matter worse, Jewish seniors in assisted living and nursing homes often feel abandoned by the Jewish community. They no longer have the opportunity to participate in Jewish holiday celebrations. As former members of a vibrant community, they feel isolated from communal life.
The Jewish Pavilion is a life-line for elderly Jews in long-term care. The Jewish Pavilion staff and volunteers go wherever someone in our community is in need. We are there to look after loved ones, brighten someone’s day with a gift or lift someone’s spirits with a visit or holiday celebrations. We bring tasty treats, education, magic, and music to so many. It’s in all of the long term care facilities where we come together to share our culture with residents of all faiths.
Recruiting, training and overseeing a network of volunteers takes time and money. The Pavilion has four paid Program Directors who coordinate up to 100 volunteers in their area. They plan and facilitate all of the activities in a dozen buildings in their area including Shabbat meals, holiday festivities, and musicales. We also have an inter-generational director whose focus is to join our local youth with the elderly so that each can learn from the other.
Help is needed when someone calls the Pavilion. Usually, there is a crisis such as, “mom just fell and now the family needs to determine whether she can continue to live by herself”. We also offer the ORLANDO SENIOR HELP DESK (www.orlandoseniorhelpdesk.com) which can provide information and referrals regarding facilities, legal expertise, home health care, financial services, hospice and other senior needs, free of charge, to anyone who has a need. Funding this resource is a challenge and more funds are needed in order to continue this service.
Providing Shabbat, holiday programs, outreach programming, and weekly visitation to seniors, as well as staff and volunteers to meet those needs, requires financial support. In-kind donations must be sought to cover the expenses of more than 50 parties a month, all over town. 94 % of the agency budget goes toward the provision of programming, so that our elders in every facility are visited, feel loved and included in the Jewish community. Residents of all faiths are invited to share in these celebrations and acquire a taste for our culture. Their staff are trained by the Pavilion on Jewish foods and traditions.
The initial goal of the Jewish Pavilion was to create a Jewish Home for the Aged in Orlando. The group began with a Jewish wing at Westminster Care in Orlando where kosher meals were provided and holidays were celebrated. The leadership soon realized that the location was not ideal for the members of the Jewish community so they began to provide outreach to facilities all over town where Jewish residents lived. Today, The Jewish Pavilion staff and hundreds of volunteers visit residents in over 75 long term care facilities. Shabbat and holiday parties, musicales, ice cream socials and inter-generational activities, and other programs are shared with residents of all faiths.
It is costly to provide bi-monthly or monthly Shabbat and holiday parties, ice cream socials and musicales for 400 Jewish residents and their friends. We also operate the Orlando Senior Help Desk. We need your help to continue to fulfill our mission and to continue to provide all of the benefits we do to area seniors and their families.