We called her Bubbie Ocean. She was a Bubbie and half of the year she stayed in Florida, by the ocean. It was a name she liked and it stuck. But she wasn’t just a great Bubbie. My mother, Beatrice, was a wonderful wife for 60 years to my father, Sam. They lived, they loved, they laughed, they ate out, travelled and entertained. And together they raised three terrific, handsome, brilliant and humble sons.
I believe that Bubbie Ocean would have loved Hillel Lodge. I am sorry that she missed out on the extensive programming, therapies and quality of care that she could have received there. In her late ’80s, as her Alzheimer’s progressed, she ended up spending too much of her day in her condo just watching TV with a caregiver. She passed away in hospital at the age of 91.
My mother was a very social person. Being around the other Lodge residents, staff and volunteers would have given her the kind of stimulation she craved and improved her quality of life. She would have benefitted from the Lodge’s exemplary nursing and medical care – one of four attending physicians is there almost every week day and there is coverage on evenings and weekends. The nursing and personal care at the Lodge are also second to none. The care is supplemented by the diverse programs and services that fulfil the needs of the residents. These programs are designed to enrich their lives on a social, psychological, spiritual, emotional as well as physical level.
In addition to group physiotherapy three times a week, there is Zumba, Tai-Chi, chair yoga, even chair belly dancing, chair bowling, and much more, such as singing and bingo. These are all done with the assistance of our caring staff, local students and volunteers who help, interact, engage and cheerlead with the residents.
There are also programs for our Russian-speaking residents. These include the Russian School of Dance, Russian music and the Russian Samovar with Anna, where other Russians come in to help and interact with the residents.
One of the highlights is the music program, which really engages the residents. They are entertained with country, classical, jazz and opera music. They hear Jewish cultural accordion and guitar and they even have a piano bar (there’s no tip glass on the piano though!). There is singing and dancing once a week with “E-I-O George” who plays older songs to bring back memories, since many people, like my mother, suffer short-term memory loss, but maintain strong long-term memories – especially with regard to the old Jewish songs. My mother always remembered the words to those songs. It is a wonderful feeling to see the joy on the faces of the residents as they recognize their old favourites.
The Lodge also ensures that the Jewish holidays continue to be a special time for families as it helps residents uphold and celebrate beloved traditions that remind the residents of days long ago.
The Lodge does this despite challenges. We make it happen even with inadequate government funding and the increasing needs and complexity of the care and services our residents require. We are doing more with fewer resources. We are relying more on community support to balance our budgets.
Getting into Hillel Lodge can be daunting. The waiting list is long. If you need help, contact our social-work staff members, Joanna Abrams or Linda Yeung. They can help you navigate the admission process.
If you would like to support the Lodge, and help it continue to build on its past record of success with unique features and special programs, please contact Mitch Miller at the Hillel Lodge Long Term Care Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org