Every year, we shine a spotlight on a group of outstanding high school seniors, culled from many nominations submitted by local educators, clergy, community leaders and, of course, you, our readers.
As my friends and I navigate our 60s and 70s, we notice — with amusement and consternation — how our conversations have changed. Instead of talking about our kids’ college applications and the best camping sites, we find ourselves discussing back pain and long-term care insurance. The bottom-line concern, of course, is how to create the best quality of life as we age.
Every Jewish community wants more Raymonde Fiols among its active retirees. The question is whether those communities are prepared to meet the needs she and hundreds of thousands of "younger seniors" and older ones will have in the near future.
“Yeah, those years of seventh to ninth grade were not the greatest years for Jacob Cohen,” Jacob Cohen says, trying to bring a little levity to a pretty grueling litany.
There was no question how Zita Kass felt when she learned that The JCC at Milken in West Hills will shut its doors permanently this summer. Her reaction was swift and powerful: “Anger, fury, frustration,” the 76-year-old Woodland Hills resident said.
The 2000 election had come down to literally hundreds of votes, and if I could convince my grandparents and their friends that Obama is the best choice, it might really affect the outcome.
Neither candidate on the campaign trail has spoken often on issues that matter to seniors, and when they have, it's been underreported by much of the media. So at the end of the day, how different are the candidates -- and their respective political parties -- from each other when it comes to issues of great importance to seniors, such as long-term care, Social Security, medical insurance and taxes?
Typically associated with American Legion halls, Elks clubs and churches, the sedentary game that caters to seniors is not often associated with Jewish houses of worship. But a few synagogues across the Southland have offered weekly bingo nights as temple fundraisers for decades
To Max's surprise and delight, the bereaved widow proves quite amorous, insisting, as do his other female companions, that a man is never too old for some active love-making
After his wife died, the worker still came but less often, until global economic pressure forced the JDC to scale back operations for the "least needy" in the former Soviet Union. Six months ago, Zheleznyak began having to fend for himself.
A painful situation for the primary caregiver occurs when another close relative does little or nothing to help, but they are adored and praised by the senior anyway.
A painful situation for the primary caregiver occurs when another close relative does little or nothing to help, but they are adored and praised by the senior anyway.
Finding love a second or third time is not always so effortless, but 52 percent of men and 43.5 percent of women remarried in 2004, according to a 2007 U.S. census bureau report. And Jews are no exception.
New Community Jewish High School (NCJHS) awarded eight Holocaust survivors honorary high school diplomas last Wednesday night, symbolically handing them back a part of their adolescence that had been stolen by the war
While HIV can pose health problems at any age, there is additional risk of having the virus as an older person. People 50 and older have less vigorous immune systems, and studies report that a majority of older adults have at least one or more chronic, age-related condition such as diabetes, arthritis or heart disease
Southern California's best and brightest graduating high school seniors
A visit with Dr. Eugene Gettelman, who celebrates his 100th birthday on June 17, shows how much medicine has gained and lost in the last half century
Joe Morris looks pretty good for a 79-year-old widower, his son Bob says in a new memoir. Despite the fact that Joe needs a hip replacement -- not to mention a dry cleaner for his yellow cardigan -- he has "smooth, tawny skin, silky silvery hair," is "fully conversant with the idea of happiness, especially his own," and, although it's only been a few months since his wife of 50 years died, he's about to start dating -- much to Bob's consternation
"Showing Our Age" is a play about stories, and the fact that everyone has one. It's a project that I started more than 10 years ago, though not specifically as an idea for a play. I was a participant in a community outreach program in which we interviewed senior citizens, used their remarkable life stories to write monologues and then performed them for the seniors and their families. The simplicity of just the details of a life -- without sets or costumes -- created some of the most powerful theater I had ever been involved with. And I have been involved in theater for a very long time, as an actress, writer, director and teacher. I wanted more! I wanted to take this idea and expand it.
When Richard Weiner and Judith Forman geared up for their November nuptials last year, they didn't register at Crate & Barrel, Macy's or Bed, Bath & Beyond.
"We're 65 years old," chuckled Weiner, a Philadelphia lawyer who has become bicoastal since marrying his Manhattan Beach bride. "We're at an age when you start getting rid of stuff, not getting new stuff."
When I first started writing, I sat with Khanum for hours at a time, asking questions. I was 21 and on leave of absence from law school. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, but I knew some stories from Iran, and had begun to write them. They were scattered pieces of people's lives, bits of conversations I had overheard through the years, rumors that had been whispered too many times and taken on a reality that may or may not have been deserved.
Regardless of age or physical condition, intellectually curious seniors have many opportunities in the Los Angeles area to participate in an educational program that fits their needs in an enriching, stimulating and affordable environment.
Although old-age homes have always existed in Israel for those who cannot care for themselves, it is only in recent years that the American idea of retiring to a comfortable community of seniors has taken off here.
The Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer Medical Center,which will be dedicated Oct. 29 as the newest facility at the Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda.
When Amy Kaplan heard about Betty (not her real name), a Jewish Family Service client in her early 70s who said she couldn't afford all of her medications, Kaplan suspected there was more to the story.
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.
Israeli politics were shaken to their core by dark horse newcomers belonging to a party few had heard of. Close to a quarter of a million Israelis voted for the Pensioners Party, also known as GIL (age), a party run by nonpoliticians that didn't even exist three months ago; a party founded only after the regular political parties ignored the pleas of its constituents and relegated their demands low on the totem poll.
Weight-loss prevention is one of the principal areas of investigation at the Borun Center, a joint venture between JHA and UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine. Housed on the JHA campus in Reseda, the center was established in 1989 to identify and test nonmedical measures that could improve daily care and quality of life for nursing home residents.
Sure, I've dated a fair amount, but the over-70 age range is one even I haven't yet ventured into. Don't have a clue as to what those gals have on their mind. But judging from the women I do know, I'm guessing cats and jewelry wouldn't be too far off.
Since most Americans lose their dental insurance benefits when they retire, the majority of people over 65 pay out of pocket every time they visit a dentist. Medicare does not cover routine dental care (nor does Medicaid in most states) and more than 80 percent of older Americans have no private dental insurance, according to a recent report by nonprofit advocacy group Oral Health America.
Yet, older adults may need dental care more than any other age group.
"Patients age 65 and over will have potentially an increase in cavities or decay on the root surfaces of the teeth," said Dr. Matthew Messina, an American Dental Association consumer adviser and practicing dentist in Cleveland. "And that comes secondary to the medical condition of dry mouth -- a decrease in the amount of production of saliva because of age and certain medications.... We also see periodontal disease in patients of that population."
Messina advises his older patients to see a dentist at least once every six months for an oral cancer screening and recommends an annual visit for denture wearers.
Stella Goren is only about 4-foot-10, but she packs a strong punch.
It all started when she was turning 79, and her husband asked what she wanted for her birthday.
"I'd like to work out at a gym with a personal trainer," Goren told him.
In spite of thinking she was meshugge and assuming this wouldn't last, her husband gave his wife of 45 years what she wanted.
"I was very happy," Sam Goren recalled. "I didn't have to go out and buy her a present."
It turned out to be the perfect gift. Goren has been working out at the In Training Fitness Center in Hollywood, and loving it, for the past five years.
The Valley Cities Jewish Community Center received a new lease on life this week when its parent organization agreed in principle to sell the center property to a local partnership that will keep the JCC going. Without the agreement, the center could have shut down at the end of June, probably for good.
The parent organization, which is called the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles, said it would accept a $2.7 million bid for the Sherman Oaks property. The condition for this "discounted" price was that any developer must also agree to renovate the JCC building or construct a new facility, insiders said. Four developers are believed to have expressed interest in putting senior housing and a state-of-the-art JCC on the land. A formal purchase offer could materialize by the end of July.
Dad's first bypass surgery was 25 years ago. I don't think any of us realized he was living on borrowed time.
Calendar of events including upcoming events.
You cannot spend time and energy wondering where the years went. They are finished.
Seniors must concentrate on now. Enjoy life now. Do what you can within your abilities. Life is precious and good. Tomorrow will come at its own speed.
Michael Gabai is on a quest. The owner and administrator of Ayres Residential Care Home has spent the last two weeks calling physicians, senior centers, grocery stores and pharmacies in search of flu shots for about half of the 18 residents in his facilities who have been unable to get one.
"'Jumor' is a look into our own culture through our elderly community," Aaron Krinsky said. "The more homes we visited, the more we realized we were interested in the stories itself, not the comics who told them."
As a Los Angeles Unified School District teacher of world issues for seniors in Los Angeles, I began yesterday's class by playing a taped interview of Michael Moore talking about his movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11." I had suggested that the class go see the film, so we could discuss it.
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.
7 Days In The Arts
My school has trained us for the academic rigors of a university. However, it has failed in preparing us for the necessities of the real world, or what my grandmother calls the "nuts and bolts of life." We aren't alone. Today, this lack of practical skills among high school seniors is an epidemic. Web sites across the Internet list instructions for college students on everything from how to use a dishwasher to balancing a checkbook.
I'm spending Passover in Chicago -- home of the Cubs, the Bears and the whole Davis mishpachah (family). Mom's serving up chopped liver, chicken soup, matzah balls, matzah kugel, gefilte fish -- and those are just the appetizers. We'll drink wine, read the haggadah and belt out our never-ending version of "Chad Gadya."
It'll be a feast of freedom, family and what else -- food. One of my favorite holidays, Pesach does more than bring loved ones together, it brings us together with spirit.
When I first met Sarah, she was bent over her walker intently making her way through the gardens of the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging (JHA). While her steps were merely a shuffle, her brown eyes were lively.
I often walk through our Grancell Village and Eisenberg Village campuses to visit with our 800 residents. I frequently ask the question: "What makes the Jewish Home Jewish?"
Sarah had a ready answer.
Life isn't so easy for Genia Cohen. The 68-year-old widow lives in a low-income apartment in Hollywood. She finds it difficult to get together with her sister, her only living relative in the area, who's also suffering from the aches and pains of age.
Nearly 200 Jews descended on Sacramento this week to lobby California's most powerful politicians to protect major programs that serve the poorest and frailest Jews and other Californians from the budget ax.
NORCs have cropped up around the country, with an estimated 5,000 now dotting the U.S. As the population grays -- an estimated 75 million Americans will be over 55 in 2010 -- the number of NORCs is expected to jump, said Andrew Kochera, senior policy advisor at AARP in Washington.
Herb Citrin isn't your typical bar mitzvah boy. He celebrated his rite of passage at the age of 80.
At the best of times, caregiving involves a certain amount of stress, but often, the anxiety is compounded when there are many miles between the caregiver and care recipient.
Sonia Mittleman's class schedule would make most high school students jealous. The school she attends does not give grades, has no penalty for tardiness and assigns no homework.
Time does move on. When Irwin Greenfield's wife died 16 years ago, he figured he had two choices: either stay alone behind closed doors curled up on his couch or get out and mingle with the rest of the world. He chose the latter, and he hasn't looked back.
With the number of Jewish elderly expected to soar over the coming decade, leaders at the national and local levels realize they must move beyond traditional methods of caring for the elderly to develop new plans and policies.
In a corner of the brightly lit dining hall of the Eisenberg Village campus at the Jewish Home for the Aging sit The Three Wise Guys. These three men -- Ellis Simon, 77; Hy "Spike" Spikell, 93, and Jules Berlinsky, 90 -- have formed a friendship so strong that they rate having their own table, No. 56, and they are not the least bit shy about telling you why they love living at the Jewish Home.
It seemed like a good idea on paper: affordable housing for 300 Jewish senior citizens in the heart of Santa Monica.
Gov. Gray Davis' proposed state budget for 2002-2003 has local Jewish organizations worried. With the state's approximately $12 billion deficit (in a proposed $98 billion budget) covered by program cuts, along with loans and spending deferrals, local agencies such as Jewish Family Service (JFS) and Jewish Vocational Service may face a significant reduction in funding.
Sitting in her seat at the Max Factor Family Foundation Recreation Center of the Jewish Home for the Aging (JHA), 103-year-old Sylvia Harmatz cannot recall the first state to give women the right to vote. But, she remembers very clearly the first day she voted, in 1936. "I wasn't a citizen until I married my husband, and so I used his papers and got a ballot so I could vote for [Franklin D.] Roosevelt," she said. "I was very active in politics from that time on."