As bombs dropped over Germany, aerial photographer Arthur Oxenberg would lean out of a B-17 Flying Fortress with his camera to snap a photograph. His photos were a way the U.S. Army Air Forces could tell whether bombs hit their targets.
The High Holy Day liturgy includes the poignant plea: "Do not cast me off b'eyt zikna," which is usually translated as "when I get old." It is a fear many of us have, but are often afraid to articulate. We live in a youth-intoxicated culture where older people are sometimes invisible.
I called my 94-year-old father in Ohio on July 9. I told him how much I loved him, that he was the most wonderful father ever, that I would miss him, and that it was OK for him to let go.
Al Azus has found his fountain of youth, and he’s not keeping it a secret. In fact, the 92-year-old philanthropist recently published a memoir whose title all but gives his formula away: “Live Longer by Giving.”
In my new capacity as the son of an Alzheimer's victim, I have many questions. Some of them are Jewish questions. One kept me up for hours the other night, leading me to my bookshelf at 3 a.m., combing through volumes to see what insights I might glean. What happens to the soul during Alzheimer's?
While most people celebrate their only bar or bat mitzvah at age 13, a passage in the Book of Psalms has in recent times led to the notion that one's first need not be the last. According to King David, the average person's lifespan is 70 years, and those who live past that age are thought to start life anew. Thirteen years later, tradition says, the time is ripe for another bar mitzvah.
Many potential residents pin their hopes on assisted living and its menu of services as a means to keep them independent for as long as possible. Seniors who require help and support in managing their daily activities, but who don't need medical oversight or intense supervision, are the best candidates for assisted living. They may select from a range of possible services, including meals, laundry, cleaning, bathing, dressing, toileting and other personal care, albeit for additional fees.
Elaine Sandberg fits the mold of what you would expect to encounter when you consider someone who plays American mah-jongg. She's Jewish and just past retirement age.
Every year when I send out that first e-mail asking educators and leaders from around the city to nominate high school seniors for this "Outstanding Seniors" article, the angst begins. I get the names of dozens of nominees, and through a one-paragraph description I'm supposed to figure out who belongs in this feature. It's an impossible task, and inevitably I resign myself to the ultimate randomness of this selection -- for every teen I pick, 10 others could have filled that spot.
We look back on the past because it was another era. In our youth and young years, life included activities you chose. Your responsibilities were minimal compared to those as you grew older. Being young and thinking young allowed you to exist in a world that is the start of the middle age.
Here it is: 5,000 years after Moses wandered the Sinai, his people have finally found a home in Reseda, no less, at the Jewish Home for the Aging, the largest continuing residential care facility for the elderly in the Western United States. Yet while these Jews are no longer wandering, they are today wondering when the big simchah begins.
After sorting through piles of brochures, Millie Topper thought she had finally found the right Medicare
Susie Tiffany of Beverly Hills suffers from a rare blood disorder and needs monthly infusions of blood components, which her insurance company ultimately declined to cover. She hoped the government's new prescription drug benefit would help her out because, despite her ZIP code, she's a low-income senior. But the possibilities, were baffling: an array of private insurance plans that covered different things, explanations on the Internet that included terms she never had to know before, additional complexities depending on a person's income and a confusing interplay of state and federal agencies. However, Tiffany was able to find assistance in her case from Jewish Family Service. A social worker helped get Tiffany's treatment covered by new state funds intended to help seniors with the transition to the new federal system.
My senior students suffer from short-term memory loss, a condition less severe than Alzheimer's and dementia but nonetheless frightening. They can recall exact moments from decades past, but in the present, from one moment to the next, many don't remember who or where they are. Sort of like elected officials.
At first glance, 87-year-old Jack seror and his wife, Katy, are a kind, yet unassuming elderly couple, members of Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel and loving grandparents. However, they are also leaders of the Greek Jewish community that resisted and survived the Nazis to build flourishing new families in America.
One thing that pleases Harmatz about being the grand marshal is riding in a convertible. In fact, last year when it rained on the parade, someone suggested they put up the top, but Harmatz wanted it left down.
Within the first moments of the comedy/drama "Sunset Park," I wanted to get to know Sheila Oaks, who plays widowed mother.
When Arden Realty Chairman and CEO Richard Ziman's elderly father was beginning to fade about 10 years ago, the father made a simple request. "'If I begin to lose it, take me there,'" said the father, as recounted by his son. "'I will never be in better hands and with better people who will take better care of me.'" Since 1912, those better hands have been at the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging.
The Los Angeles Fearless Family Caregiver Conference is in Carson on June 28 It is sponsored by Today's Caregiver magazine along with the City of L.A. Department of Aging and the L.A. County Area Agency on Aging.
OASIS provides an eclectic array of classes, many of which are free. Fitness fans can choose among such options as chair exercise, yoga and karate. Art buffs can study French and American impressionism or drawing. Others can explore Jewish spirituality, analyze Shakespeare or play guitar. Some of the classes are even taught by retired professors from UCLA and USC. And seniors who wish to travel can choose among a variety of day excursions and extended trips.
Shirl Bernheim is sitting in her dressing room at the Ahmanson Theatre, her cane tucked in a corner, preparing to transform herself into the hilariously fierce Jewish mama of Charles Busch's hit play, "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife."
On Fairfax Avenue, a cursory poll of how seniors were coping with this strike revealed many who were either directly or indirectly inconvenienced.
If anyone doubts the popularity of the new Fern Milken Sports & Youth Complex at the West Valley Jewish Community Center, just show up on any given weekday. The center, which used to attract primarily seniors, is now a hangout for youth of all ages, especially those with a love of shooting hoop.
The Passover holiday contains countless traditions. There's the matzah and the sweet wine, the charoset and haggadot, the gefilte fish and the good fortune we celebrate. But perhaps most importantly, there is the gathering together of family and friends -- the people who make the singing, reading and eating around the seder table meaningful and special.
The other day, an older client said to me, "I've reached that point in my life where the only thing I want to exercise is caution."
Just because we're getting older doesn't mean we can slack off on exercise. You can choose to be 20-years-old or 50-years-young. The difference is often in how well we take care of ourselves -- and that means exercise and eating right..
This past summer I saw an old friend of mine in New York, a woman I had met shortly after arriving in the city years ago. On several occasions Nancy and I had worked together. Our conversation was warm, affectionate, biographical. Catching up on one another, as it were, and then onto the turns and curves in our friends' lives.
Ronald Weiner sits on a bench in a serene Beverly Hills park on a perfect, sunny day, filled with rage and frustration. He's shaking, his fingers tremble, and his voice cracks with every other sentence. The source of his anger is the city in which he sits. For the past year, Beverly Hills has thwarted Weiner's efforts to build a large senior-housing project on property he owns.
There we were, my family, 11 anarchists cruising down to Ensenada for four days on the Viking Serenade, celebrating my mother's 85th birthday. I roomed with the birthday girl in one of those cabins where you have to yell, "Watch out!" when you exit the lavatory.