Lifting Spirits With Music Passed Down Through Generations
84-year old Coleman Mishkoff feels best when he is socializing. With the same energy, wit, and “joie de vivre” he possessed as a younger man, he is an active particpant in the full range of Adult Day Care Program activities.
Coleman , who was a teacher and lawyer in the Bronx, thrives on meeting new people at the adult day program. He reports that conversation keeps his mind sharp, and staying active lifts his mood.
The program gives him a way to connect with other seniors, and share his stories with particpants and staff. They love to listen — with an equal mix of awe, disbelief, and amusement—to his stories of traveling and serving as a Navy Lieutenant in the Pacific during World War II.
He also brings a touch of Gene Kelly to the program. Seniors and staff stop to watch as he waltzes through the room with his favorite dance partner, Ruth Maderski, the therapeutic recreation specialist at Jewish Home.
Coleman continues to be active in politics and votes regularly, though he jokes, “With my luck you wouldn’t want me on your side. Everybody I’ve ever voted for lost.”
Roberto Bosch first came to Jewish Home for rehabilitation services to recover from his knee replacement surgery. While there, he met a few seniors who urged him to attend Jewish Home’s Adult Day Care Program.
“I knew it would get me out of the house, and it was a big relief for my wife,” he laughs. “It gave me a reason to get up early in the morning again.”
Roberto is used to leading an active, busy life. He’s worn many hats: as Korean War soldier, mechanic, funeral director, city agency coordinator and Catholic Church Deacon. He and his wife have been married for 48 years. Their eight children, three of whom are adopted, live throughout the country, building their own lives.
He has been coming to Day Care three times a week for the past seven years. He leads a Bible study group every Wednesday and attends the Spanish group with other Hispanic seniors to discuss current events, share life experiences and each other’s company.
He says, “It was an absolute blessing that I discovered the Adult Day Center and I couldn’t be more thankful for finding a ‘second’ home.”
The benefits of Day Care haven’t just been social. Roberto finds that the anxiety and depression he had as a result of being a war veteran and an inactive retiree are now a thing of the past. He also appreciates the medical monitoring he receives while at Day Care.
Sandra Becote, a member of the Manhattan Division Adult Day Healthcare Program, was awarded third prize in the Haym Salomon Arts Award, for her photograph Sun Kissed Journey.
In a reception at the Guggenheim Museum, Ms Becote received her award and was inducted as a Fellow in the Haym Salomon Division of the Arts.
Also attending were Susan Glickman, Chair of the Jewish Home Community Services Board, Sonia Stetkiewych, Jewish Home Community Liaison and Antoinette Mentor, Director of the Adult Day Healthcare Program.
Ms Becote thanked the Jewish Home and the Adult Day Healthcare Program for giving her the opportunity to be recognized as an artist and to call herself a photographer.
Bill Ferrer hadn’t set foot in a bowling alley for years. But with the help of a video game remote control, Ferrer was not only rolling a ball but hitting a spare.
When Sarah Neuman social worker Antoinette Mentor introduced Bill Ferrer to Nintendo Wii during the nursing home’s adult day program, it was the elder’s first time playing a video game. He liked it. “It was interesting; I’ll play again,” said Ferrer.
The Wii enjoys growing popularity in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and rehabilitation programs across the nation. Rehab patients, for example, acquire the Wii habit while recovering, and want to continue playing when they return home.
“It gets people moving,” says Mentor of Wii, which requires players to use physical gestures like waving arms to control what happens on the video screen. “It improves balance and endurance and even helps with cognitive skills.”
Mentor saw Wii’s potential as a therapy tool while watching her kids playing the game. She ordered one for the Manhattan campus, where it was so successful that she decided to bring it Jewish Home’s Westchester campus.
“It’s a new tool,” explains Elaine Healy, geriatric medicine specialist and medical director at Sarah Neuman. “For people who are disabled, it provides an opportunity to participate in activities that involve motor skill and hand eye coordination that would otherwise likely be impossible for them to achieve.”
The Wii bowling tournament has become a welcome regular addition to the adult day program at Jewish Home’s Manhattan Campus.
Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) is a non-profit organization that provides computer training designed specifically for elders. OATS partners with Jewish Home to give our clients valuable computer skills.
Participants begin by learning the basics, including using a mouse. As they progress, they learn to write emails to family and friends, and to “surf the net,” which lets them access the Medicare and other health-related websites.
One client explains, “You have opened a new door that I thought would never happen to someone like me because I couldn’t afford it. I am very grateful . . . .”
At Our Day Centers
Ms. T, an immigrant who moved to the United States, is an active Day Center client who has participated in the OATS program. Of her ten children, only one currently lives in the U.S. Ms. T can now keep in touch with her far-flung children and grandchildren in a quick and cost-effective manner. She frequently helps other clients who need extra time and assistance to learn the new concepts and terminology.
Ms. R’s proudest moments come when she is able to use the skills she has learned to help her family. She is the primary caretaker for her husband and an adult son who suffers from a chronic disease. Ms. R says her computer skills have brought her closer to her son; they now share a common interest.
Our Russian and Spanish speaking clients especially appreciate gaining access to translation websites after taking the class, and also enjoy communicating with friends and family via email.
The OATS team trains our home care volunteers to help clients use computers at home.
Ms. S is a client with partial blindness. Although she had a home computer for years, she did not use it because of her limited vision. Through the OATS program, Ms. S was able to get her computer and printer connected. She can now play and listen to music on her computer (which has enlarged icons), practice her typing skills on her large-print keyboard, and play and write music with her Yamaha keyboard.
OATS is featured in the New York Times. You can read the entire piece online here. (Registration with the New York Times may be required to view this article. Registration is free.)
The OATS program at Jewish Home is made possible by the generous support of The Henry Nias Foundation and UJA-Federation of New York.