The universe nudged me toward becoming a hospice care nurse. I guess you could say that it was my calling. I’ve been a hospice nurse for almost three years now with Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care.
I have a couple of theories as to why I became a hospice nurse. First: as humans, we all have fears about getting older and what the dying process holds. I want to believe that if I hold enough hands in my lifetime – there will be plenty of hands to hold mine at end-of-life. That’s me being completely honest. But it’s certainly not the whole story.
The numbers are sobering: According to the American Geriatrics Society, there are 7,500 geriatricians in the U.S. – but 17,000 are needed now to care for our aging population. And with the growing numbers of Baby Boomers entering their senior years, this shortage is only getting worse.
That’s the bad news, but here’s the good news: Accomplished, ambitious, and energetic young doctors like Dr. Randi Rothbaum are looking to be part of the next generation of geriatricians who conduct research, teach others and care for medically complex older patients.
Matthew Hollingshead recently joined Hebrew SeniorLife as the executive director of Assisted Living and Memory Care at NewBridge on the Charles. His energetic, resident-centric approach and skill in leading large teams is already making a difference in the lives of our residents. I recently spoke to Matt about the rewards and challenges of his work.
As a nonprofit leader in the field of aging, focusing on senior living communities, health care, teaching and research, Hebrew SeniorLife possesses a wealth of expertise and a broad range of services to support families facing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
There are a number of survivors of the Holocaust and victims of Nazi persecution among the many seniors who live and are cared for throughout HSL.
Last month, the Boston German Consulate hosted a group of twelve Boston-area rabbis on a trip to Germany. The trip was entitled, “Remembrance and Hope.” It began in Munich at the Dachau Concentration Camp and concluded in a suburb of Berlin at a refugee settlement organization, followed by Shabbat in the community.
When Josephine Pina of Boston spotted an ad in the Metro newspaper seeking individuals who had difficulty with thinking and who moved slower than usual, she immediately contacted the staff at the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) at Hebrew Senior Life. They were investigating the link between brain function, balance and falls in older adults. “I wanted to be part of the study and to see what the brain does at 67 years old,” she said.
Whether it’s a fall, a wandering episode, death of spouse, or loss of a dependable caregiver, too many families find themselves making decisions about assisted living in “crisis mode.” Up until turning points like these, there is often some level of denial about the possibility that a more supportive living environment could someday be needed. Yet beginning a search for assisted living at such a moment is far from ideal. Any preparation you can do in advance is a gift you provide for your family, whether planning for yourself or for a loved one’s potential future needs.