At Hebrew SeniorLife we know that pairing seniors with students creates endless possibilities for meaningful connections that change lives. Students often volunteer at HSL to fill community service requirements—providing support in our sites, and bringing smiles to the faces of residents throughout the HSL network. Sometimes the connections between students and residents run deep, and we witness powerful interactions between our young volunteers and the residents they have befriended.
The holiday season is a time for many of us when our thoughts turn naturally to bringing joy to others, especially children, seniors, and families in need.
Many faiths include giving back as part of their holiday traditions. For Jews, performing a mitzvah means to do a good deed, or charitable act. Many Jewish people even have a tradition of volunteering on Christmas Day. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or are just reflecting on the end of another year, December presents many opportunities for volunteer service.
On October 28, Hebrew SeniorLife will host EngAGE, a fundraising event that will cue the conversation on how we think about aging. We’re excited to welcome celebrity nutritionist Keri Glassman, ABC News journalist Dan Harris, best-selling author Mitch Albom and humorist and journalist Mo Rocca to speak alongside HSL experts. We invite you to follow our EngAGE conversations through social media on the day of the event by searching on Twitter for #HSLEngAGE.
Mo Rocca travels the country to learn family recipes from grandparents for his Cooking Channel show My Grandmother’s Ravioli. While chopping vegetables and rolling dough, the grandparents share cooking tips and lessons they’ve learned about family, life, love, and community. I’m a huge fan of watching these seniors live a ReAge life – they’re redefining what it means to get older and continuing to learn, grow, laugh, and share in their later years.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a sculpture is worth 10,000! A new spectacular piece of art has been placed on the NewBridge on the Charles campus, visible from both Great Meadow Road near the President’s house and from viewpoints in the community center.
In the hands of dozens of Hebrew SeniorLife residents are magical technological devices that offer opportunities to view, reflect, connect, peek, play, explore and learn. iPads and other forms of new technology are popping up more and more within our walls, often times gifted by family members. However, residents often struggle to make good use of them.
During the school year, NewBridge on the Charles resident and artist Gladys Sklar devotes one morning a week to one her favorite activities – volunteering as a classroom aide to art teacher Erica Smiley at the Rashi School on the NewBridge campus. She opens the classroom door to the greetings of children calling “Gigi!” as they reach for her hand to lead her towards their latest project.
It’s a highlight of Gladys’ week and makes her feel “really fantastic to have them so look forward to me coming to their classroom.”
At Hebrew SeniorLife communities, we believe friendship has the power to help our residents live healthier, happier lives. Our communities are hubs for many different types of friendship, friendships forged through common hobbies, experiences and along gender lines.
Friends are a precious commodity for us all, but especially for seniors. The love and companionship we enjoy with our friends make our lives emotionally richer, and research now shows that our friends can be powerful allies in helping us increase our longevity. For instance, data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Aging has shown that people age 70 or older with active social lives live 22% longer than those with less active social lives.