Why is this seder night different from any other seder night?

The Jewish Care Pesach Appeal 2014 has launched.

Ivor Perl and his wife Rhoda used to spend seder nights at home together with their family every year, until 18 months ago when Rhoda developed severe dementia. 

Ivor Perl Needing full time care, Ivor turned to Jewish Care who provided him with all the support and advice he needed.

This year, Ivor and Rhoda will be spending seder night together again at Lady Sarah Cohen House, where Rhoda now lives

They’re not alone. In our ageing community, Jewish Care’s services are in more demand today than ever before.

Reads Ivor’s full story on our website.


Volunteering. Community. Ageing. Equality. – Part 2

For UK Older People’ Day 2014, as well as the theme of ‘Full of Life’, each month has been designated with a particular theme.  For April, the theme is ‘Full of Companionship’.

“She was struck by the simple truth that sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people” – Nicholas Sparks, ‘The Lucky One’.

Sonia says:

We take companionship for granted – it is as Nicholas Sparks says, the ability to enjoy the ordinary because we do it in the company of like-minded people. Compare watching your favourite television programme alone, or sitting with a loved one or friend either during or even after the programme so you can talk about it and share your thoughts.

So many people live alone and rarely enjoy such pleasures. Their visitors, if they are lucky enough to have them, feel they have to be busy with them or fill the silences often with questions or information that has little comfort or interest to the person they visit.

Over the past few years we have introduced two very different approaches to befriending and companionship. The first, our community volunteering programme, ensures that we match people with similar interests so that they have a common framework to the visits – whether that be a walk in the park, watching a game of football together, or sharing recipes or a game of scrabble.

The second, funded by the Department of Health, is our supportive community programme which began on the basis of the Timebanking model, where people swapped what they could do for each other. It soon became very apparent that this was not really what the people who came to the scheme wanted. They wanted to find friends – those they could enjoy a meal with, a visit to a museum or theater, or even a group they could go with to a community event so they did not walk in alone.

People befriend others with the best of intentions but this will not always combat loneliness. It is our interests and lifestyles that bind us together and the knack of finding opportunities where people can explore new friendships, based on those shared interests and lifestyles, are often few and far between. We need to move away from a paternalistic approach where we see someone alone and find them someone well-meaning to visit or plug them into an activity that is designed for ‘older people’, to one that connects people so that they can reintegrate into society in a way that is meaningful to them.

Overwhelmingly our supportive community members have told us that the one thing they would like to introduce is a telephone circle where they can be in touch with each other. These small connections will, I believe, lead to huge changes in the members’ lives. Just think how much all of us value the phone call of a friend and the sharing of news and gossip, often just when we thought nobody cared.

One day we could each live alone, what would make that a lifestyle fulfilled rather than a lonely existence?

Sonia Douek is Head of volunteering and community development at Jewish Care and has developed a strategy for the organisation that has seen the growth of volunteers in the organisation reach 3,000 people.

Support the Jewish Care London Marathon 2014 Runners

Next Sunday (13th April), five of our supporters will be running in the London Marathon to raise vital funds for Jewish Care.

They are: Max Sugarman, Emma Goldstein and Adam Shelley, Alex Pollack and Sha’ron Karpel. See below for what some of them had to say…

Jewish Care Marathon Runners 2014

Jewish Care London Marathon runners (l-r) Max Sugarman, Emma Goldstein and Adam Shelley

Max Sugarman, 21, has worked for the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre and says: “I’ve decided that 2014 will be the year that I finally get off the couch and run the London Marathon as a personal challenge and for a worthy cause. I’ve decided to run for Jewish Care as it’s a great charity that helps people of all ages, running day care centres, care homes, community centres and providing support to those that need it.”  Visit Max’s fundraising page.

Running the race has been a dream for Adam Shelley, “Just over five years ago, my father passed away shortly after being diagnosed with liver cancer,” he says. “There’s not a day that goes by when he is not in my mind. We watched our beloved Liverpool together when I was in Istanbul in 2005 for the Champions League Final, he texted me at half-time saying not to give up. It went on to be one of the most memorable moments of my life. I will take this advice, belief and mentality into the Marathon training and the event itself. With the support of my special family and friends. I hope to complete the challenge. My dad valued Jewish Care very highly as do I and I’m delighted to be raising money for such a fantastic cause.”  Visit Adam’s fundraising page.

Emma Goldstein has finally decided to take the plunge, saying it’s “quite frankly terrifying. I don’t actually think I ever realised how far 26.2 miles was when I signed up. I’ve always just said, without too much thought, that I was one day going to run the marathon. Well, that time has come and I am actually doing it!

“I’ve decided to run for Jewish Care, which is an extremely worthy charity that aims to make a positive impact on the lives of Jewish people, and to look after the most vulnerable members of the community.“ Visit Emma’s fundraising page.

Alex Pollack ran the marathon for Jewish Care two years ago. The 36-year-old says: “I’ve always been a keen runner and like to give myself a new challenge every year so this year it’s running the marathon which I’m aiming to do in less than 4.5 hours.

“The areas of society that Jewish Care supports are also very close to me, especially where you are supporting survivors of WW2. It’s a wonderful charity.” Visit Alex’s fundraising page.

Jewish Care would like to wish all of our runners the very best of luck for the race!

World Social Work Day with Jewish Care

Jewish Care is hosting a conference to celebrate World Social Work Day which takes place on Tuesday 18th March 2014.

The conference, now in its 4th year, is an opportunity for social workers to hear about current issues and developments in social care, to network and also celebrate the impact of social workers across the globe.

Among the attendees will be representatives of JAMI, Norwood, Barnet social services, Jewish Blind and Disabled, St Lukes Hospice and the Jewish Deaf Association.

Delegates will hear from guest speaker Joe Warner, managing director at Focus – independent adult social work, who will speak about ‘the role of social work in the community today’. There will also be a presentation by the palliative care support team on ‘end of life care development’ and a closing speech by Neil Taylor, Director of Community Services at Jewish Care.

Volunteering. Community. Ageing. Equality.

Older People – Full of Opinions:

For UK Older People’ Day 2014, as well as the theme of ‘Full of Life’, each month has been designated with a particular theme.  For March, the theme is ‘Full of Opinions’.

Sonia says:

We often forget that the people we see in our centres and homes who look frail or appear to have some disability, were part of a generation that has seen the fastest changes in life of any generation.  They may be monumental societal changes – living through one (or even two) World Wars, the rise and fall of Nazi Germany, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, the fall of South African apartheid. It may have been societal changes that have altered personal lives – the growth of women’s equality, the acceptance of same sex relationships, travel that crosses the boundaries of countries and continents.

None of these changes would have happened without the involvement of individuals in debating, lobbying and campaigning.  Whilst young people today are being viewed as Generation C (Citizen – Demos report) the generation with a social conscience, we often forget that others have paved the way before them.

How much do we ask those older people we meet about their campaigns and passions, how often do we ask them about the role they have played in changing lives for themselves and others?

Let me just share the story of Ann – brought up in the East End, married to a dentist, and to look at, your typical older Jewish lady who shops, cooks, gets her hair and nails done weekly.  But when I see Ann I remember her involvement in the campaign for Soviet Jewry, demonstrating with other women of her generation for the basic human rights we take for granted that were refused to former USSR citizens who wanted to express their Jewish identity.  I remember too how proud and excited she was when her and her co-protesters chained themselves to the railings of 10 Downing Street.  I can still see her getting ready for the event, making sure her hair was just so and her make-up prepared for the camera.

Each of us has a passion, and each of us has a story, the trick is to ask people about their passions and the stories that demonstrate that passion.  That way we will remember each individual rather than lump them all together by age or disability.

For the month of March, our challenge is to find the time and activity that will unlock those stories.

Sonia Douek is Head of volunteering and community development at Jewish Care and has developed a strategy for the organisation that has seen the growth of volunteers in the organisation reach 3,000 people.

News round up

Top stories this week: via – telegraph.co.uk, myageingparent.com, youretheboss.org.uk.

Nine in ten would prefer home care, but don’t discuss it

New research shows that if the need for care arose, nine out of ten older people would choose to receive care at home. Despite the overwhelming preference for home care, recent figures from Age UK show that, although still relatively small at 414,000, the number of people in residential care is on the rise, whereas the number of those receiving home care has declined.

The reason for this anomaly is that in many cases, over 50’s do not discuss it. As is often the case, they will leave it too late and are forced to make decisions once a crisis or accident has occurred, which severely limits their care options.

For more on the report read the Telegraph article here.

Volunteering benefits both older people and society

The ageing parent website features an article which looks at:

1: Why older people should volunteer

Research shows that volunteering opens up wider opportunities; including varied social and physical activities and the chance to meet new people.

2: Recognising the contribution older people can make

Older people have professional skills and experience which younger people don’t have. Effective volunteering programmes take these factors into account and create roles to suit the needs of the older population to enable them to contribute successfully.

3: Encouraging older people to volunteer, because it benefits them and society at large

For older volunteers, there is much to be gained. It gives them a sense of purpose, helps to increase their self-esteem and confidence and reduces isolation and loneliness. These factors all point to a close link between volunteering and good health.

Read more…

Care homes are not the only option for older people

This article from You’re the Boss advises family members to explore all options available to them before making a decision on care for their older relatives.

There is a reported 40% increase in people looking for residential care in January, following the festive period where relatives and older family members spend more time together. It is during this time that people begin to notice certain illnesses or difficulties in their older relatives.

The You’re the Boss website offers an online tool which can help direct you to the type of care that your relative may need. Read more…

What can be done to combat loneliness for older people?

A BBC Newsnight report estimates that there are currently five million people over 65 who live alone in the UK. Two million of them do not see other people on a weekly basis and 370,000 spent the festive period in total isolation. This article from the ageing parent website discusses what can be done to end the loneliness suffered by older people.

Read more…

Ruby Wax: tips for a happy new year

Comedienne and presenter Ruby Wax, now also a therapist (with an MA from Oxford in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy), believes that “excessive ‘busy-ness’ is usually a sign that all is not well.”

She says: “When I’m reaching burn-out I start fixing too many dates and writing one too many emails. I become so uber-busy that things don’t make sense any more. It’s that tripping point between creativity and a downward spiral.”

Read the article on the Telegraph website for more tips from Ruby Wax…

Britain’s Holocaust Survivors

In 2012 Jewish Care was privileged to host a preview showing of Daisy Asquith’s hour-long documentary ‘Britain’s Holocaust Survivors’.

The film features three survivors, Freddie Knoller (who Daisy was introduced to through Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre in Hendon), Gena Turgel and Zigi Shipper, and poignantly shows us how the Holocaust still plays out in their lives today. It gives a real human insight into each survivor’s experience and of how their unfailing optimism and strength of spirit helped them make it through the horrors of Nazi persecution.


Zigi Shipper, Gena Turgel and Freddie Knoller feature in Daisy Asquith’s evocative documentary ‘Britain’s Holocaust Survivors’.  The film will be aired on More 4 at 8.00pm on Sunday 27th January 2013.

Reminding us that the number of Holocaust survivors still living today is dwindling, and with Holocaust Memorial Day just around the corner (27th January 2014) to mark it, the film will be aired on More 4 at 9pm on 25th January 2014.

A personal and down to earth account in which the personalities of Gena, Freddie and Zigi shine brightly throughout. Not to be missed…

Visit the More4 website for more details or…

watch the film on Channel 4 on demand…