Los Angeles Jewish Home's Blog


Red Hat Society Fashion Show 2014

Red Hat Society Fashion Show 2014On Thursday, May 29th the Jewish Home hosted the EV Shayna Punim Chapter's 2014 Red Hat Society Fashion Show. This special event, sponsored by Gerrie Wormser and John N. Levi, Jr., featured many of the Home's residents modeling gorgeous garments donated by a local CAbi boutique. Delicious finger sandwiches and ice cream sundaes with hot fudge were graciously served by the Home's dietary department while live entertainment was provided by the vivacious keyboard and ukulele player Cali Rose.

After years of sponsoring the fashion show, Gerrie states that it's her favorite event. She explains, "My favorite part of the fashion show every year is taking a few 90-year-old people and teaching them to walk down the catwalk with style and flair. I love watching them enjoy every minute of it. I have a background of working as a casting director. The whole process of finding my models and bringing out their inner beauty and natural playfulness is a lot of fun. People just eat it up. It's fabulous and I love it."

In planning the fashion show, Gerrie reached out to independent CAbi consultant, Bobbie Casalino-Lewis, who was happy to be part of this special event. "This unique opportunity was a wonderful way to give back" said Bobbie. "It's not always easy to find ways to use my set of specific talents to bring others happiness, but I definitely did that today. Gerrie took me to a few of the Red Hat meetings and gave me beautiful models to work with. I fitted them, styled them, and helped them to shine today."After all was said and done, the models surely did shine while walking down the Jewish Home's runway in their amazing attire and with a newfound sense of self-appreciation. 

One of the show's regular attendees, resident Alice Kulick, loves watching the fashion show each year. She exclaimed, "The show was very nice! The girls looked lovely. I was very surprised by the fashions they were wearing. These outfits were a lot different than last year's and they all looked gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous!" 

Alice is a big fan of the Red Hat Society and thinks its events are highly entertaining. She states, "I've been a part of the Home's Red Hat Society for the past three years and I love it! Every year they have two big events and they're always a hoot. I've even modeled in the show once before. I really enjoy attending the Red Hat events because they give members a chance to participate and have a good time."

Please click here to view photos from the 2014 Red Hat Society Fashion Show.

Special thanks to Gerrie Wormser, John N. Levi, Jr., Bobbie Casalino-Lewis, all of our beautiful models, their handsome escorts, and the activities staff for making this event such a beautiful success.


Volunteer Recognition Luncheon 2014

Volunteer Recognition Luncheon 2014The Los Angeles Jewish Home's annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon was held on May 27th and May 28th on both Eisenberg and Grancell Village Campuses. Attendees enjoyed a delightful lunch catered by our very own dietary department as well as an exciting performance by entertainment extraordinaires Wendy and Rik. The dazzling duo performed classic songs from the Beatles, Barbara Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Carole King, Sonny and Cher, and Neil Diamond.

Over 350 community and resident volunteers were honored for their contributions to the Jewish Home community. One volunteer in particular was honored for her extraordinary dedication to giving back to the Home and its residents. The special honoree, Susan Fien, was presented with the Howard Kayton Memorial Volunteer Service Award. The beautiful crystal statuette featured the Jewish Home logo and a quote from Sukkah 496: "The whole value of a good deed lies in the kindness that inspires it." 

Many members of the Home's administration were present. CEO-President Molly Forrest, chief operating officer Larissa Stepanians, senior vice president Ira Schreck, EV administrator Douglas Tucker, JEKMC administrator Ilana Grossman, and Taper administrator Kathleen Kennings-Glass were just a few of the staff members who gave thanks. 

Expressing appreciation for the volunteers, Molly Forrest noted "When I hear you have collectively completed more than 50,000 hours of volunteering, it must have been a miracle. You all are definitely following the 5th commandment of honoring thy father and mother."

Similarly, RCFE activities director Caryl Geiger offered an earnest thank you. "Our community is run so smoothly because of you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for all that you do."

Administrator Ashley Teal commented on the importance of volunteers at the Home. "From the time spent showing movies daily, to the hours of manning the Nosh Box, you're making a giant contribution to the Home. The small ways you give back to your community are actually the pillars that make it work. We couldn't do it without you!"

The Home's beloved Rabbi Elman then described his admiration for the volunteers. "Because I'm going to be retiring this year, a lot of people have been asking me what I plan on doing when I retire. The answer I give them is: ‘I don't know.' But there really is one thing I do know. I look around at this room and take each and every one of you as inspiration. Instead of living a lazy life, you stand on your feet and live a life of giving. You make the Home a better place. So I know that when I retire I will do my best to be like all of you. Thank you for all that you do and as the old saying goes, ‘Give and you will receive.'"

Please click here to view photos from the 2014 Volunteer Recognition Luncheon.




For more information on volunteer opportunities at the Jewish Home, please contact director of volunteer services Stacy Orbach at (818) 757-4442 or stacy.orbach@jha.org, or visit our website at http://www.jha.org/volunteer/.


Seminars Inform And Stimulate

Seminars Inform And StimulateThere's a new activity being offered to seniors living in residential care (RCFE) at the Jewish Home's Eisenberg Village (EV) Campus. Now, in addition to painting, drama, choir, bingo, and a wide variety of discussion groups and other activities, a monthly educational seminar is available. The seminars focus on topics that are important to seniors.

"Our goal is to provide an opportunity for our residents to learn from staff they are familiar with as well as speakers from the community," said RCFE administrator Ashley Teal. "With their input, we created a list of meaningful topics, such as medication protocol, fraud prevention and reducing the risk of falls." To date, the seminars have been well received, with attendees asking questions and sharing experiences. 

The topic for the most recent seminar was reducing the risk of falls. Everyone knows a fall is something that can happen to anybody at any time: we trip over a loose rug; we fall out of bed; sometimes we stand up too quickly, get dizzy and fall. But do you know the underlying reasons? Presented by EV's director of rehabilitation, Deborah Crea, MS, PT, the seminar focused on three main causes of falls: balance, posture, and walking speed.

"Our ability to balance is based on three sensory systems: vision, vestibular, or inner ear anatomy, and somatosensory, which is the ability to orient yourself using your joints, muscles, and senses," explained Deborah. The systems can be affected by many things, including aging, a history of falls, medications, gait, neurological status, use of assistive devices, foot function, cardiovascular status, a fear of falling, vision, incontinence, joint function and pain.

"For posture, the ideal is simple: head up, shoulders back, abdominals tight, and glutes tucked in," Deborah said. If you've ever tried to walk while balancing a book on your head, you get the idea! This struck home with some of the residents, as they talked about the posture challenges presented by using a walker and the importance of having the device at the correct height.

Last, but certainly not least, is walking speed. This is currently a hot topic in the field of physical therapy. "We are now looking at walking speed as a reflection of various underlying physiological processes," Deborah continued. "Knowing how much time it takes for someone to walk ten feet can help us predict falls." Walking speed tells the therapist where someone is in their overall conditioning, cardiovascular health, and ability to participate in activities. For someone being discharged from a hospital, it assists in the determination of appropriate level of care, such as assisted living or skilled nursing.

After a fall, physical therapy is needed to help regain or improve overall physical status and reduce the risk of future falls. Balance can be improved by exercises, such as standing with your eyes closed, walking on uneven surfaces, standing on foam, and developing ankle/hip/stepping strategies. Other balance exercises include T'ai chi, yoga, and general strengthening exercises. Specialized testing can determine or rule out vestibular issues.

After physical therapy, the goal is to maintain that newly gained physical status, and hopefully continue to build upon it. "At the EV rehab center, our goal is for physical therapy clients to complete their prescribed therapy and then incorporate exercise into their lifestyle," said Deborah.

As you can see, the seminars are comprehensive and meant to enhance the knowledge someone may already have about a particular subject. "We hope to stimulate the cognitive function of our residents in an atmosphere that requires them to listen, think, problem solve, and ask questions," Ashley explained.

"These seminars show the Jewish Home's concern for our residents and allows us to share our own personal experiences," said Robert Lehman, a resident at Eisenberg Village and currently serving as Resident Council President. "The fall risk reduction seminar offered good tips on measures we can all take to be safe."

One of the next seminars will focus on another resident-recommended topic of significant importance: cognitive impairment as we age and how we can lessen those effects. It's sure to be thought provoking and stimulate a great deal of conversation!


Training Session on California Initiative

The way we access healthcare in the United States is changing rapidly. For seniors, their families, and medical providers, these changes can be challenging to understand. On Wednesday, June 18th, the Los Angeles Jewish Home hosted a training session to help geriatric social workers and nursing home administrators gain insight into California's Coordinated Care Initiative, or CCI. The initiative is being implemented across the state to integrate medical, behavioral and long-term care services for individuals who receive both Medicare and Medi-Cal, known as dual eligibles, and those with Medi-Cal only. 

The training session was opened by the Jewish Home's CEO-President Molly Forrest, who welcomed the attendees and spoke briefly about the Home and the impact of healthcare reform on seniors.

Denny Chan, staff attorney for the National Senior Citizens Law Center, provided an overview of CCI. He reviewed the major changes brought about by the initiative, with the major difference being the integration of Medicare and Medi-Cal benefits into one managed care plan. "Most dual eligibles will have the option to join Cal MediConnect, which currently is offered through five managed care plans in Los Angeles County," he explained. 

When a person with dual eligibility receives notification that they must make a choice, they have three options: 
  1. Opt-in (choose a Cal MediConnect plan)
  2. Opt-out (choose an alternative, such as a PACE program)
  3. Do nothing, which means the individual will be passively enrolled into a Cal MediConnect plan as chosen by the State. 
PACE, one of the alternatives to Cal MediConnect, is currently available at the Jewish Home's Grancell Village Campus. The Brandman Centers for Senior Care (BCSC) is a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE. The program offers adult day healthcare, including medical care, activities, physical therapy, meals, transportation and other personal services to seniors who are eligible for admission to a nursing home but have elected to remain safely in their own homes. Mari Abrams, director of marketing for BCSC, spoke about PACE and the benefits of participation.

The training session came to an end with a lively question and answer session. What could be a difficult and dry subject was made understandable and even enjoyable by the speakers and their presentations.
For more information about the Brandman Centers for Senior Care, please visit their website at www.brandmanseniorcare.org.


Jewish Home's Molly Forrest Honored

Jewish Home's Molly Forrest HonoredMolly Forrest, CEO-President of the Los Angeles Jewish Home, was honored recently with two prestigious awards. In April, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Business Journal (LABJ). On May 18th, American Jewish University (AJU) honored Molly with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented at the LABJ's annual Healthcare Leadership Awards event. This event recognizes the accomplishments of individuals and organizations that have made strides in helping Angelenos receive better healthcare. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors Molly's more than forty years of dedication to senior housing and healthcare issues.

AJU bestowed the honorary doctorate degree upon Molly in recognition of the exemplary leadership she has demonstrated at the Jewish Home and in the community. "The work you have done on behalf of our community is nothing short of remarkable," said Dr. Robert Wexler, president of AJU. "You have made our local Jewish Home a model for communities around the country, both through your creative planning and your careful management." Dr. Wexler also acknowledged Molly as a compelling role model of achievement, particularly for young Jewish women. "By honoring you, we provide our students with an example of what we hope they might achieve in their own lives."

"I am incredibly touched and honored to receive this doctorate degree and thank AJU for it," said Molly. "I share the success of today with gratitude to many donors, staff, colleagues, volunteers and board members who give so much to make the Jewish Home what it is."

Since her appointment as CEO-President of the Jewish Home in 1996, Molly has led the Home in expanding six-fold the number of seniors served, increasing the range of services offered, and creating innovative programs to meet growing senior healthcare needs. Today the Los Angeles Jewish Home is among the largest providers of senior programs, services and housing in Southern California.

On behalf of the residents and staff of the Jewish Home, mazel tov to Molly Forrest on these well-deserved honors. Thank you for providing the vision and guidance needed to continue to expand, extend and sustain programs and services for seniors across Los Angeles.