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Countdown to White House—Residents of Golda Speak

Posted: September 20, 2012

In preparing to speak effectively for the JCHE community, I have been going from site to site to meet with residents and staff about what they’d like me to say.  I’ll be posting about many things I’ve learned, but some of the residents’ stories were immediately compelling—so I’ll share:

  • One resident treasures her independence.  She doesn’t want to be part of the community on a daily basis, so she’s not—she values her privacy.  She says the combination of privacy when she wants it and the knowledge that supports will be there if/when she needs them is her definition of dignity.
  • Another saw her mother turn down an apartment at Golda and then regret it. “I came because I saw my mother spend the last years of her life at our lovely family home—but those were years of bitter loneliness.  I knew I would never put my children in the position of watching me become sad, lonely.  At first I was scared to make the move [to senior housing] because I had never lived in a communal setting.  But from the beginning I encountered warmth, kindness and friendship.  Now I have enlarged my horizons so.  I feel challenged here—I have met people who have had very different experiences than my own.  I have read books I never would have even looked at.  I have attended lectures I didn’t know would interest me.  I have listened to music that enriched my experience.  Now look at me—here I am, I’ve got it all—friends, safety, social activity, intellectual stimulation and financial peace of mind.  And my children don’t worry about me and I never feel like I’m a burden in their lives.”
  • Another woman had a daughter who felt she was unsafe living alone in a house without a very close neighbor.  The daughter would spend her time arranging for services—most housing-related like snow shoveling, lawn maintenance, equipment repair and the like—but now their time together is on fun things, like movies, dinner and museums.
  • Someone else reported how the presence of JCHE staff to help was so important.  One day her life-long annuity stopped paying—she tried to get it restored but could not deal with the bureaucracy.  She enlisted the help of the resident service coordinator, who took on the cause and got the annuity restored to the full amount.

There are more stories—I’ll continue to post as I sort—all that speak to the importance of community and support in the aging process.  CHOICE and SUPPORTS define JCHE and lead to enormous (and rewarding) resident satisfaction. 

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