Los Angeles Jewish Home's Blog


Virtual Bowling Strikes at Fountainview

Virtual Bowling  Strikes at FountainviewFountainview at Eisenberg Village is home to more than one hundred thirty active seniors with independent lifestyles. A handful of these spirited seniors recently became enamored with an incredibly trendy activity: fitness gaming.
Wii Sports is an interactive video game that lets players virtually partake in activities such as golf, tennis, baseball, boxing, and bowling. Because these sports are solely based in the virtual world, they allow the player to enjoy the sport without leaving the comfort and safety of their own homes. Just like in real life, these simulated sports provide gamers with an outlet for physical activity and friendly camaraderie.

Of all the activities offered in the Wii Sports repertoire, bowling has emerged as the clear favorite among Fountainview residents. With Wii bowling, seniors can attain the nostalgic feeling of playing the classic sport with a simple swing of the arm.

Fountainview director of resident services Shelley Smilen explains, "Wii Sports is an incredible tool for seniors. Our residents can forget about the hassles of driving down to the bowling alley, lugging around heavy balls, and wearing slippery shoes. Instead, they can take a short two minute walk to the Creative Arts Studio, grab a Wii Remote and play a few frames while catching up with teammates. This low-impact activity is a great way for our seniors to exercise and to participate in a sport they might not have normally been physically able to do."

Wii Bowling also gives participants another way to socialize with others in the community. The Fountainview Bowling Team often attends Wii Bowling tournaments at neighboring senior communities, where the proud members of the Fountainview Bowling Team don their neon green polo shirts and put on game faces.
Ninety-two-year-old Fountainview resident and bowling enthusiast Sam Berman takes each game very seriously. After an incredible amount of practice and real life experience, Sam has mastered Wii Bowling. In fact, he's thrown so many strikes he almost always bowls a perfect game. To date, Sam has bowled 62 perfect games, but he's still looking for new ways to win. "I'm constantly testing out new techniques," says Sam. "For example, I'll try putting a fresh spin on the ball or holding the Wii Remote in a different position. The way I see it, there's always room for improvement."
Whenever Sam sees his friends are in need of a little guidance, he is ready to lend a helping hand. On one occasion, a team member became frustrated with a poor score. Sam stepped in and offered a suggestion on how to position his virtual character in order to bowl more successfully. Sure enough, on his next try, the teammate managed to bowl a strike. Sam congratulated his peer with an enthusiastic pat on the back. Sam exclaimed, "You got it! I knew you had it in you!"
Wii Bowling is just one of the many engaging activities and programs residents can choose. Fountainview's active seniors also enjoy exciting games of poker and bridge, thought provoking discussions and lessons, challenging salsa and ballroom dancing classes, and much more.
To meet Fountainview residents and experience their active lifestyle firsthand, join us for a tour. Make your reservation today by contacting the Fountainview marketing department at 818.654.5550.


The Healing Power of Touch

The Healing Power of Touch
Stop for one moment and think about all the ways you have physically touched — or been touched by — someone recently. Perhaps it was a warm hug from an old friend, holding hands with that special someone, or a caring arm around your shoulder. It could even be a friendly handshake with someone new or an enthusiastic high five with a co-worker. Think about those moments and how they made you feel. Cared for ... loved … comforted … connected ... happy.

Touch is a powerful healing tool. The casual or affectionate touches we experience go a long way to improve our mental and physical health. When we are touched in a positive way, our bodies release oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, and decrease the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. This can lower blood pressure, lessen stress and anxiety, and decrease the symptoms of depression, such as fatigue and irritability. Your immune system can benefit as well, and your risk of heart disease can go down.
"Today's doctors have many tools that give them significant information about their patients; in fact, you can be anywhere in the world and still receive this info," says Dr. Noah Marco, chief medical officer for the Jewish Home. "Yet what modern medicine is in danger of losing is one of the most powerful tools in healthcare: the healing nature of human touch. When I touch my patients, I believe I am conveying to them that I am present with them to help them through their journey."
The same benefits hold true for the healing touch we receive when we get a massage. In addition to all the benefits a casual touch brings, a professional massage can also relieve physical pain and decrease autoimmune illnesses, such as lupus and arthritis. On an emotional level, massage can help you cope during a troubling time and help you deal with the effects of a past trauma.
Another simple way to enjoy a healing touch is by making an appointment with your hairdresser or barber. Yes, just sitting down in that chair is the beginning of some well-deserved and oxytocin-producing happy time. From the shampoo, which hopefully includes an invigorating scalp massage, to the blowout, a marvelous combination of the sensations of brushing and warmth, the experience is guaranteed to lift and calm your spirits. And, as an extra added benefit, you feel refreshed and ready to face the world.
At the Jewish Home, many of our residents have regular standing appointments at our beauty salons. The desire to look our best is part of our psyche at any age, and the healing power of our hairdressers is bountiful.
For resident Esther Weiss, 93, a visit to the Eisenberg Village beauty salon is a regular treat she enjoys tremendously. "When I was younger, I had a standing appointment with my hairdresser each week," she says. "Having a salon here on campus helps me easily continue that routine, and it's so important. Some of us may have forgotten the joys of "special" appointments. It makes me feel good…still young, still beautiful."
Fred White, 86, also enjoys his regular visit with barber Hershel Smuckler. "It's relaxing, and I feel great when I leave!"  Herschel has been cutting hair at the Home since he retired 18 years ago. "It gives me great pleasure to make the residents feel and look good."
Ninety-seven year old Evelyn Lipka appreciates the transformative experience of a visit to the salon. "When I come out of the shop, I feel like a new person," she says. "I feel good about myself and it lifts my spirits."
Hairdresser Ana Servin has been pampering the ladies, and some of the gentlemen, of the Home for 29 years. "I feel blessed to be able to show our residents some love, and it also makes me feel good. We all need it, especially as we get older."
The Jewish Home thanks all of our wonderful hairdressers for showing such care and compassion for our residents:
Vallada Bakaitis  /  Tamara Chizhik  /  Riva Lerman
Hershel Smuckler  /  Ana Servin  /  Myriam Stanley

And remember … share a healing touch with someone every day! It's good for them, and good for you.


Bridging the Generational Divide

Bridging the  Generational DivideOn Friday, March 13th, a group of Eisenberg Village seniors embarked on a short trip to Cleveland Charter High School (CCHS) to take part in one of the school's long-running traditions: Adopt-a-Grandparent Day. From the moment the residents arrived on the CCHS campus, they were warmly received by dozens of smiling students, eager to take part in the festivities.

Each senior was assigned to a group of students who would be their adopted grandchildren. Principal Cindy Duong warmly welcomed the seniors to the school. "Thank you all for joining us for this special event. Senior citizens have a lifetime of experience to share with our youth. For many of our students, chance interactions with seniors are few and far between. Each year, we host Adopt-a-Grandparent Day to give our students the chance to connect with you, as well as to give you an opportunity to forge a lifelong connection with some of the younger members in this community. We hope this program can offer new insights and help to bridge the gap between your generations."
The seniors and their newly adopted grandchildren were then given questionnaire forms to facilitate meaningful interaction. The groups discussed their family backgrounds, heritage, customs, memories, experiences, accomplishments, and interests.
The students wowed residents with a variety of performances. From Bollywood dancing and ukulele playing, to pop and lock dance routines and a drill and band performance, the students pulled out all the stops to ensure the seniors thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Each student also donated a homemade dish to share with the guests. As the seniors chose from a wide array of offerings, students helped by serving them the delicious dishes.
At the end of a very eventful day, Assistant Principal Stephanie Slaughter concluded the ceremony with a short closing statement. "We have hosted the Adopt-a-Grandparent program at Cleveland Charter School for more than two decades. Every year, we bring in seniors from the community so they can share their stories with our students, and our students can share theirs as well. We put on this event because we want these teenagers to understand and appreciate the important contributions made by our elders. Thank you."
In clear summation of the importance of the event, Principal Duong underlined the fact that these types of intergenerational interactions are necessary to strengthen the sense of community. "For our seniors, talking to a younger person is a welcome change of pace and a breath of fresh air. For the youngsters, the valuable lessons afforded by the seniors are a vital part in their upbringing."
"This wonderful event gives the youth the opportunity to show their appreciation for our community's seniors," Eisenberg Village activities director Caryl Geiger says. "It's touching to see how the seniors react to the compassion and genuine interest the students show them. Our residents simply glow with appreciation and joy."
Jewish Home resident Ernie Braunstein summed it up best: "I look forward to this event every year. Having the chance to bond with these wonderful kids is such a blessing. I love all my adopted grandchildren."


Brandman Centers Welcome New Leadership

Brandman Centers Welcome New Leadership
Susie Fishenfeld joined the Los Angeles Jewish Home as executive director of the Brandman Centers for Senior Care (BCSC), a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), in November 2014. She has over 30 years of healthcare administration experience, including 17 years as senior general manager for Vitas Healthcare Corporation, Vitas Innovative Hospice Care. Ms. Fishenfeld was responsible for local functioning of corporate program operations, regulatory compliance, fiscal management, quality improvement, patient and family satisfaction, human resource management, strategic planning, and program development and expansion.

"It's wonderful to work with the outstanding, knowledgeable and dedicated staff of the Brandman Center," says Susie. "I am proud to lead this high-quality, comprehensive Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly."

Prior to her position at Vitas, Ms. Fishenfeld had a 13-year tenure at Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center, with the last 5 years as vice president of patient care services. She was responsible and accountable for operations related to patient care in a combination of health care arenas (acute, long-term care, and outpatient services).

Ms. Fishenfeld received her undergraduate education at University of California, Berkeley and Bachelor's of Science in Nursing from University of California, San Francisco. She holds a Master's Degree in Nursing from California State University, Long Beach in Administration and as a Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Ms. Fishenfeld has been involved with many professional organizations, most recently holding committee positions with both the California Hospice and Palliative Care Association and California Association for Health Services at Home. She was on the Executive Committee for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Association in 2014.

BCSC promotes independence for nursing home eligible seniors in the comfort of their homes by providing high quality, comprehensive healthcare services. The program offers primary medical care, preventive health services, rehabilitation, social activities and transportation to and from the Center.

For more information about the Jewish Home's Brandman Centers for Senior Care, please call (855) 774-8444 or visit their website at www.brandmanseniorcare.org.


MNO Update: Bill 1319 Passed by Health Committee

We are pleased to announce we have reached a benchmark in our efforts to improve the quality of life for our frail and needy seniors. On Wednesday, April 29th, the California Senate Committee on Health passed Assembly Bill 1319 with a unanimous vote on behalf of the welfare (Medi-Cal) Medically Needy Only (MNO) beneficiaries. However, we still need your help. Bill 1319 will soon be presented to the Committee on Appropriations. With your support, we can put an end to this social injustice. There are several ways you can help:

·         Spread the word to your friends and family members about the MNO initiative and urge them to become involved and support Assembly Bill 1319.
·         Share our blog with friends and family to see details and updates on our website: http://blog.jha.org/
·         Copy, paste and personalize the following letter to send to your California State Assembly person to urge them to support AB 1319. This website can assist you if you do not know who represents your district: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/



Dear California Representative,

I write you on behalf of the welfare (Medi-Cal) Medically Needy Only (MNO) beneficiaries throughout the state of California. This is a critical issue that is now affecting more than 6,000 of California’s financially needy elderly, including many residents of the Los Angeles Jewish Home.
Financially needy MNO recipients are allowed to keep only $20/month as a personal spending allowance. This $20 must cover over-the-counter drugs, clothing, shampoo and a variety of personal items, such as hearing aid batteries and denture repairs. Twenty dollars a month is insufficient to cover these basic necessities. It does not even begin to address the drug store sundries essential to keeping up one’s health.

California’s financially needy elderly truly need your support in this extremely urgent matter.  You can assist us by bringing this issue to the attention of those who can intervene with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Please, we urge you to give this your full consideration and help us make a significant improvement in the lives of our elderly.

Respectfully, 

Place Concerned Citizen’s Name here.