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Hospital Newspaper - NY August, 2013

Page 15

Boomers & Beyond Preserving dignity through the very end Jewish Home Lifecare social worker fulfills last wish for a special client Making sure that nursing home residents have their individual needs met, even when it comes to their final days, is something that Jewish Home Lifecare’s caring social workers attend to with heart and compassion. While most people know of Jewish Home’s exceptional nursing and homecare in life, the way its staff members take it upon themselves to prepare for the eventual death of a resident is beautiful. Social worker Meredith Levine, who works at Jewish Home’s Bronx campus, recently fulfilled a special, last wish for a client. James Whelan, 86, a beloved resident and U.S. Military veteran who served in WWII and the Korean War, wanted to be buried in A r l i n g ton National Cemetery. He, like all Jewish Home Lifecare residents, had several preliminary conversations with his social worker about his wishes.

While Meredith typically counsels family members about their elder’s eventual passing and final plans, James did not have a single relative with whom to consult. In fact, despite his larger-thanlife charismatic presence and generous spirit, which touched the hearts of his fellow residents and staff, he only had one long-time friend from the outside community. Sister Alice, who James befriended some 35 years ago after making a book donation to the local Catholic school, was his sole outside advocate. With little personal income, final arrangements for James presented challenges. Meredith, who upholds a personal responsibility to see that every one of her clients is buried in a way that meets his or her cultural or religious expectation, couldn’t fathom a nameless burial for James. She explains, “I really would have paid for his cremation myself if I had to.

Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep at night.” After many phone calls, Meredith found a Brooklyn funeral director who agreed to handle the cremation when the time came, free of charge, as long as James agreed to appoint Jewish Home Lifecare with responsibility for his remains. When James passed last November, Meredith commenced to fulfill his final wish. Immediate outreach to Arlington National Cemetery required a series of checklist items, which included the submission of his Army discharge papers. Fortunately, Sister Alice had them. After seemingly endless faxes and phone calls, Arlington National Cemetery agreed to accept his ashes. Since the burial was contingent on date availability, James was finally able to rest in peace on June 20th. His funeral procession was distinguished with 50 servicemen, a horse drawn caisson, and a military band.

Meredith transported James’ remains from New York to Arlington and attended his funeral with Sister Alice, who made the trip from Rockland County. As his sole friend, Sister Alice was presented with the American flag that represented a dignified goodbye. According to Meredith “It’s my job to advocate for our residents dignity until the very end. I feel comforted that in the end, James received the respect he hoped for and deserved.” Rita Morgan, Bronx Administrator, proudly remarks, “Jewish Home’s social worker’s do an outstanding job of meeting the needs of our resident’s and their families. Meredith, who has been with us for three years, really puts her heart into her work in the most exemplary way. Her commitment to dignifying James’ memory moved me and our staff. We are grateful for all her efforts,”

Jewish Home Lifecare has been meeting the needs of New York’s elders for over 165 years. It provides a network of care that includes long term skilled nursing, post acute care, Alzheimer’s/Dementia special care communities, respite care, senior housing and community programs, such as home care and adult day care along with other specialized services. Jewish Home Lifecare has campuses in the Bronx, Manhattan and the Sarah Neuman Center in Westchester. It also serves clients where they live using innovative technology such as the awardwinning HealthMonitor® program. Best practice programs are provided in fall management, wound care, pain management, mental health and wellness, diabetes and congestive heart failure. For more information, visit

Sarah Neuman Center presents:

Health Tips for Staying Well : rs fe of er nt Ce an um Ne h ra Sa t i F Fi g ng ing yi y ay ta SSt healthy lifting and kickboxing may not be For most seniors, jogging, weight remember s to boost your fitness, but please options. Try these simple, fun task . re starting a new exercise regimen to first check with your doctor befo Be Active your usual stop and walk the Step off the bus two blocks before rest of the way. on the joints, improves your Take a Tai Chi or Yoga class. It’s easy balance and makes you stronger. uming, mopping, dusting and Doing everyday chores, like vacu shopping, count too.

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Walk a dog; play with a cat.

Be Social ” invite a friend over to “cut the rug. Join a local dance class or simply r rs blood pressure and decreases you Laugh more. It reduces stress, lowe risk of heart disease. Be Mindful couch ure, whether you’re sitting on the Always try to maintain good post ry. inju to ble ng and less suscepti or on a chair, to keep your back stro k adequate fluids throughout the Eat breakfast and remember to drin ty. day — even if you don’t feel thirs

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apy bilitation with individualized ther Comprehensive short-stay reha plans and care teams a beautiful residential campus Skilled Nursing care services on social models—for health and Adult Day Programs—medical and ion wellness support and social interact those caring for an elder at home Respite Care providing a break for

Need Ne eed ee ed mo more mor ree iinf infofo ? Health Tips are for you from your neighbors at Sarah Neuman Center. Helping you stay well and safe is our first priority.

To learn more about us, call (914) 864-5621.

845 Palmer Avenue, Mamaroneck NY 10543

Hospital Newspaper New York August edition  

Hospitals will find this the place to recognize employees, tell their stories of patient care, market their new technology and promote upcom...

Hospital Newspaper New York August edition  

Hospitals will find this the place to recognize employees, tell their stories of patient care, market their new technology and promote upcom...