SALEM – Lisa Ginivisian, an occupational therapist for both the Salem Public Schools and Aviv Centers for Living, used her strategic position to secure a donation from Aviv to help special needs students in the Salem Public Schools.
In September, Aviv moved residents from the Jewish Rehabilitation Center in Swampscott to the new, state-of-the-art long term care facility, the Waldfogel Health Center. At that time, they upgraded some of the rehabilitation equipment for the new facility.
“I saw that they were starting to pack up and discard old things because they had newer things in the new facility. I asked if they were willing to make a donation and offered to personally come with a truck,” said Ginivisian.
She worked with Megin Hemmerling, Aviv’s executive director of assisted living who had formerly worked as director of rehabilitation. Ginivisian’s timing was impeccable.
“Aviv wanted to branch out to into the community and Megin made a list of things available. The more she heard, the more she wanted to do,” said Ginivisian.
The timing was perfect for the Salem schools as well. Recently, Salem has been enhancing their programs for students with disabilities who, under state law, can remain in school until they are 22. Ginivisian wanted to address an issue common with older specials needs students. Many of them are out of shape and lack stamina. Their physical and cognitive disabilities make it harder for them to get the proper exercise that allows them to succeed in some of the vocational jobs for which they are trained.
“I was happy that someone could benefit from the rehab equipment. Once I started putting together our donation, I kept finding other things that might be of use to Lisa, so the donation became larger and larger,” said Hemmerling.
“These kids are getting ready to live independently, but from an OT (occupational therapy) perspective, they need strength and endurance. They can barely stand in one place too long,” Ginivisian said.
She and a teacher moved and adapted the equipment as well as a school space to create the “Work Hardening” program, designed to offer students the physical training for some of the assembly line tasks they will end up doing.
Aviv gave them a large mat that is used to stretch. They also have an arm bicycle so the students can build arm strength and range of motion. They have foot pedals so the students in wheelchairs can exercise legs. When the students are ready, she adds ankle and wrist weight to create resistance. In addition to increasing stamina for work, it increases their overall health.
“These are students who will never have the awareness and ability to ride a bicycle. With this equipment, they can ride in a way that does not require balance,” Ginivisian said.
To make it all work, Ginivisian worked with the special education team in Salem and the vocational team. The vocational teacher created and adapted space within a vocational classroom so students can work on range of motion and strength training as part of their participation in life and vocational skills training.
“Strength and endurance are sort of a prerequisite to job tasks or activity of daily living,” she said.
Hemmerling enjoys hearing about the student progress in Salem.
“What is most satisfying are the stories that Lisa shares about how many of her students are accomplishing things that they could not have otherwise done without his equipment. That is the true meaning of giving,” Hemmerling said.
For many years, the Swampscott police and fire departments responded to public safety and medical emergencies at the Jewish Rehabilitation Center (JRC) in Swampscott. When the facility closed in September and the residents moved to the new Waldfogel Health Center on the Aviv campus in Peabody, it was a natural to offer items from the building to the police and fire departments that had served them so well.
“They have given us great service over the years,” said Marcos Stadler, director of environmental services for Aviv Centers for Living campus.
So far, the police have accepted the donation of a large screen and projector system they plan to use in the emergency operations center of the new police station when it opens this spring.
“This is equipment we need for the new station and we certainly appreciate the donation and the longstanding positive relationship over the years,” said Police Chief Ronald Madigan.
Stadler said the projector system, which was in the Rudolph-Shapiro Adult Day Health Center at the JRC, can be to be used with Powerpoint and other presentations, video games or for music.
Fire Chief Kevin Breen said they accepted the donation of some kitchen equipment including water filter systems and coffee makers as well as some equipment to use in training situations such as white boards and office items. They identified other things such as files cabinets and furniture that they might take as well.
“We are thankful and we are going to miss Aviv. They were always great to work with,” Breen said.
When Nancy Milewska volunteered to feed elderly patients at Aviv Centers for Living, the director of human resources was trying to set an example for other volunteers.
However, she soon fell in love with the residents and through it, came to a deeper understanding of the value Aviv’s work.
Milewska is one of about 30 volunteers from the business and executive side of Aviv who stepped up to help serve meals and feed frail elders. The need for volunteers emerged when the Jewish Rehabilitation Center for the Aged in Swampscott closed in September and merged into the new Waldfogel Health Center on the campus of Aviv Centers for Living.
Instead of two large dining facilities at the former JRC, there are nine smaller dining rooms as part of the newer “household” model at Waldfogel. With more frail elders to feed at the same time, the staff needed to mobilize volunteers until they all grew accustomed to the new center.
Executives set the tone by volunteering, but soon found they were getting much more out of it than they expected.
“I think we get more out of it than the residents. I usually feed Helen Morris on the second floor and she barely eats but it’s such a nice feeling to watch her eat and drink and leaves me with a warm heart,” said Milewska.
A few days ago, Milewska was not having much luck getting Morris to eat tomato soup, pureed chicken salad or pears. But, Morris clearly enjoyed Milewska’s friendship and kept kissing her hands.
Stephen Neff, chief executive officer, explained that all the volunteers went through an eight-hour training. Though the need for volunteers has decreased since they are now more comfortable in the new facility, most volunteers are hooked and keep a regular schedule.
As employees who are largely involved in the business side of Aviv get into direct care, they all learn a little bit more about the company and gain respect for the staff that provides care in a warm and nurturing manner to a frail population.
“When you are on the business end, you get focused on your job, but when you get out onto the floors, you know you are working at the right place. When I see the residents and the nursing staff, that’s what its all about,” Milewska said.
Original article in Boston Globe North Section, Thursday, December 14, 2012. Written by Steven A. Rosenberg
PEABODY — Even before Hanukkah began at sundown Saturday, there was already a lot of light on a quiet hill in Peabody. At Aviv Centers for Living, a Jewish-sponsored elderly complex where nearly 300 people live, reminders of the holiday of lights were everywhere.
“This is my second family,” said Ruth Silverman, 97, as she held a latke (potato pancake), and looked out at about 200 people gathered in a function room earlier that week. Silverman grew up in Mattapan and now lives at Aviv. She tapped her hand to the music, and then slowly began to smile. “This is wonderful.”
The event was called Latkepalooza, and served as a microcosm of Aviv’s intergenerational programming philosophy. In one room, the teen band Sababa played Israeli songs; in the adjacent chapel, rabbis offered a Torah class; in another classroom, children made menorahs. And in another room, Rabbi Nechemia Schusterman, who leads Chabad of Peabody, showed children and Aviv residents how to make oil from olives for a Hanukkah menorah.
“This shows how ancient activities are still relevant in today’s world,” Schusterman said.
Since 1945, Jews have played a role in taking care of the elderly on the North Shore. That year, the Jewish Convalescent Home opened in Lynn. In 1972, it moved to the Jewish Rehabilitation Center for Aged of the North Shore in Swampscott. In 1997, the community helped create the Woodbridge assisted living center in Peabody that is now the Aviv site.
‘It gives me a lift to be with the children. I feel like they help me out. It brings me back to the days when I was raising my children.’
In September, the Swampscott center closed, and its residents moved to a new $35 million building on the Peabody campus. The new structure interconnects with Woodbridge and offers everything from skilled nursing care and rehab to specialized services for people with memory loss.
At the sprawling 22-acre suburban campus, residents have numerous choices of programs each day, ranging from exercise classes to movies. But Aviv also serves the entire community, and in the process brings in people of all ages for classes, performances, and daily programs. Teens who attend the Robert I. Lappin Youth to Israel trip meet here; high school kids study Torah with rabbis. The Jewish Heritage Center, which documents the history of the Jews on the North Shore, has an office at Aviv.
Cantor Emil Berkovits also holds a study session every Friday before conducting a Sabbath service with residents. “We want to make sure these people are not forgotten, that there’s an outside world for them,” he said.
But, perhaps the centerpiece of the intergenerational mix is the North Suburban Jewish Community Center Early Childhood Program. The preschool, with its 58 children — ranging from infants to age 5 — moved to its new classrooms at Aviv in September. The full-time school, with a staff of 18, is based near the lobby that connects the campus and has built into its curriculum daily classes that include Aviv residents. Seniors read, sing, dance, exercise, and pray with children.
“It’s incredibly important that Aviv be a center for life, a center for learning, a center where elders and children can learn from each other,” said Stephen Neff, Aviv’s president and chief executive officer.
Last Friday, just before Hanukkah began, a group of residents gathered with the children to say a prayer while lighting the first candle of the holiday.
Ellie Noah, who is 69, held one of the candles as the kids sat around her.
“It gives me a lift to be with the children,” said Noah, formerly of Chelsea, who lives in Aviv’s assisted living building. Noah has two children and three grandchildren and volunteers a couple of times a week at the preschool, where she reads stories, plays games, and gives the kids snacks.
“I feel like they help me out. It brings me back to the days when I was raising my children. I feel very happy and content around the kids,” she said.
Susan Novak, the preschool’s director, said the placement of the school in the middle of an elderly residential complex helps kids develop sensitivity and respect for older adults.
“We told them this is our new family. We call them either ‘residents’ or our ‘new friends,’ ” said Novak, who has noticed how important the adults have become to the children. Already the kids and seniors have worked on several art and holiday projects. For Thanksgiving, they ate turkey together. And, on their own initiative, the kids decided to make as many holiday cards as they could this month for the residents.
Novak says that because of the intergenerational setting and programming, preschoolers have a better understanding of the process of aging.
Mary Freeman, a retired Salem teacher, called the need to be around younger people a natural desire. Freeman, who is 86, lives at Aviv with her husband and reads to the children every week.
“I love being with the little ones. They make you feel almost like a celebrity when you read to them,” she said. “They make you feel so welcome. They get up and clap when I walk in. when I leave they give me a hug. They’re like little dolls.
“I love their innocence. They tell you everything that’s happening in their lives and it has nothing to do with the story. And they can’t tell it fast enough. I get a lot out of it.”
PEABODY — The community-wide Chanukah celebration, Latkepalooza, attracted more than 400 people for a day of dancing, crafts and fun.
Young, old and everyone in between gathered in the community room at the new Waldfogel Health Center and at the North Suburban Jewish Community Center on the new campus of Aviv Centers for Living for a party that featured live music, dancing, crafts, shopping, text study and of course, latkes.
“It was a really nice community celebration,” said Miriam Blue of the NSJCC, one of the event chairs.
In the preschool rooms of the NSJCC, children made Maccabee shields with representatives of the Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation and colored pasta menorahs with volunteers from the NSJCC. Rabbi Nechemia Schusterman of Chabad Peabody demonstrated how oil is made for groups young and old.
For those who wanted to get a head start on their shopping, 17 vendors of everything from bags to books to beads peddled their wares. In the center of the room, several groups provided entertainment to an audience that included the very elderly and some of the residents of Woodbridge and Waldfogel to the very young. Many families were there with three generations.
They listened to the teen band Sababa, the ruach band from Temple Beth Shalom and watched the Israeli Dancing Group that meets at Temple Ner Tamid. Rabbi Deborah Zuker and Hal Schevitz, spiritual leader of Temple Shalom in Salem offered educational opportunities throughout the day.
The community sponsors included Aviv, the Lappin Foundation, Temples Ner Tamid and Beth Shalom; Congregations Sons of Israel and Tifereth Israel; the NSJCC and Chabad Peabody.
Aviv opened the Waldfogel Center in September with this sort of celebration in mind.
“This is why we designed Aviv this way. It is a true center for living where the community can come and celebrate and those frail elders that live here will continue to thrive and participate,” said Stephen Neff, CEO of Aviv.
Our monthly health series is authored by Patrice Cahill – Fitness Manager at Aviv Centers for Living
Not long ago, I was walking through a local department store and noticed that something strange was going on. Now, this phenomenon happens every year and each year it strikes me again and again.
Its’ still autumn yet I see “holiday this, holiday that and so on”. This gives me that little gut wrenching feeling that I’m sure you all share, once summer goes, how fast the holiday season indeed does come!
Now in fitness terms, this is normally the time of year that a lot of people don’t think to start a fitness program since they are “much too busy” getting ready for the upcoming holidays.
New members are just a memory of the past summer season and far too many don’t think about their fitness needs at all. Most people in fact, think once the holidays are over, their “New Years’ Resolutions” for fitness will start.
Well I am here to tell you…Don’t! Don’t put off your fitness programs to start in January! These upcoming months are some of the busiest, most stressful and “bad food” months that happen all year long! I say it’s time for this madness to end! Most of the folks I work with every day are very committed to their fitness regimes. Each day at Woodbridge, residents come and workout and do their very best to keep in shape all year long. For this – I commend them!
However, there are still some people that fitness seems to be at the bottom of their “to do” list. These are the people that I want to get the message across of getting started in fitness NOW and then as you move through this very busy time of the year, amazing things will happen. Your stress levels will not actually decrease but will seem too. Your hustle and bustle will not really stop, but you will be able to handle the load much more efficiently and the ever popular fear and dread of those “once a year foods” won’t seem to matter quite so much.
If you start fitness NOW instead of waiting another month, YOU will already be in your fitness program, your body will have adjusted to it and your mind will be eased knowing that you are not going to have to start a “New Year’s Resolution” in the fitness world but you have already started and are succeeding in it!
So, bring on the turkey! Bring on the stores! Bring on the stressful days! You my dear readers can handle anything! You are THE fitness elite and trust me, no one will ever tell me otherwise! Keep making me proud!
By Amy Sessler Powell
Mary Freeman thought her days in the classroom had ended many years ago when she retired from the Salem school system. But, at age 87, Mrs. Freeman is back in the classroom, thanks to the intergenerational opportunities at the new Waldfogel Health Center at Aviv Centers for Living’s Peabody campus.
In September, the North Suburban Jewish Community Center opened its preschool inside Waldfogel, providing a vast array of opportunities for residents to interact with young children on a daily basis.
“They are so cute. They are just like little dolls,” said Mrs. Freeman, who read them a story about animals preparing for the winter. “I can’t remember the last time I was in the classroom.”
Mrs. Freeman and her husband, John, will be visiting the preschool every Tuesday to read to the children.
Ellen Gordon, community relations coordinator for Aviv said, “You can see what a wonderful teacher she must have been. She chats with the children and had a warm and loving way with them.”
The Aviv campus is organized so that residents have numerous opportunities to interact with the young preschool children and other community members who visit for the programs that occur there all week.
“That is Aviv. Mrs. Freeman working with the kids and the kids learning from her was absolutely what Aviv dreamed of when we incorporated the NSJCC Early Childhood Learning Center into the new building design” said Stephen H. Neff, Aviv’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
Some residents sit outside, weather permitting, and watch the children play while others enjoy watching from the large glass windows. The residents and children celebrate the Sabbath together each week and all their birthdays.
Mrs. Freeman is just the first of many residents who will visit the preschool on a regular basis to read and help in any way they can.
For more information or to explore volunteer opportunities, please visit www.avivliving.org
Our monthly health series is authored by Patrice Cahill – Fitness Manager at Aviv Centers for Living
As the fitness folks that I workout with already know (or I hope they do), working out has many benefits. These benefits are not limited to more energy, better health, good and happy feelings; oh the list goes on and on…. Now, these benefits are certainly wonderful to have and even better to feel but there are times in the fitness lifestyle when we have to stop (just for a little while) and enjoy the fruits of our fitness labors.
This is what I like to call, “It’s time to stop and smell the roses”, or at this time of year, “Stop and smell the leaves”! Now I don’t mean to lean down or pick up an autumn leaf and actually smell it! What I am talking about is taking some time to enjoy all the beautiful things that this wonderful season brings! By taking a break from the gym and instead walking or taking a ride to see the fall foliage, go to an apple orchard and enjoy fresh apples and the beauty and color of pumpkins is just what is recommended!
This fitness break isn’t (and shouldn’t be) for a long period of time but it simply means that since fitness folks (most likely) have worked very hard during this past year, fall brings a wonderful opportunity to enjoy nature with that same energy and happy feelings that you “earned” by working out so hard. When people get into shape, they usually think that they have to keep it up without a break but I’m here to tell you that a break (a little one) is pretty much the right thing to do once in a while (not only does your body need it but your mind and spirit do as well).
The summer is gone (sad face) but the fall brings a multitude of opportunities to enjoy this beauty brought by “Mother Nature”. The weather is usually cooler, normally there is little to no humidity and is pretty much picture perfect. So this is, for most people, a wonderful time to get outside and take a stroll! Feet, Cane or walker – anything goes as long as you get outside!
Remember, the colder months are not too far around the corner and that in itself brings its own share of situations that may or may not allow such easy access for walking or strolling. So NOW is the time to get out there! However, I do want to point out a few items that may make such a stroll tricky and even downright dangerous. Leaves are beautiful, this is true. However, wet leaves on the ground can be very dangerous to walk on. When you go out to see this foliage, please keep an eye on leaves that maybe wet or may cover up potential tripping hazards such as rocks, holes in the ground and anything that could be a hazard to your autumn stroll.
So just remember to wear the proper shoes, grab a coat or sweater, use any walking aid that you may have and get outside before the weather turns into a wonderland – a winter wonderland that is!
Our monthly health series is authored by Patrice Cahill – Fitness Manager at Aviv Centers for Living
As most people may know, the WILLOWS WALKERS are a group of Woodbridge Residents that go to Salem Willows regularly in the summer on Mondays (if the weather cooperates) to live by the “spirit” and “body” portion of the Mind, Body, Spirit Mantra I instruct my Seniors to live by. However, once in a blue moon, even when doing something very normal, little surprises can wait around any curve, in our case, the curve around the back of Salem Willows which is where The Salem Willows Yacht Club Is located.
During one recent trip ( I was doing my thing, walking the perimeter of the Willows checking up on the seniors walking) John Regan, a launch operator for the SWYC, approached me and we started talking. I told him what I was doing there and he was very surprised that our little group had been doing the Willows Walk for a long time. I also told him that we plan, once a month, to have a walk/ lunch, enjoy the local faire (pizza, chop suey sandwiches, etc.).
This year, however we hadn’t been able to have one lunch all summer long (rain and storms.. ugg)! It was then that he asked me if the group would like to have their lunch in the yacht club! I was surprised and very happy that offer was made, since the beauty of that yacht club was truly a scene to be had, beautiful views of the water, lovely flowers surrounding the eating area and an indoor facility that was also very well kept which would allow, even if the dreaded rain came, us to dine and have our last lunch of the year.
Before we could do this however, John had to clear it with the proper channels at the Club. They approved the visit! On August 20th, without the seniors knowing by the way, we headed out for our surprise trip! When we got there, I told them what the surprise was and they were thrilled!
We walked around that corner and met John who had the Yacht Club all ready for us. (He even put out some lovely rocking chairs with views of the water, and made sure everything was in place for us to enjoy our meal). Colleen and I took the lunch orders, and while we were getting the orders filled, John had wonderful conversations with the Seniors, told them the history of the Yacht Club and made sure they were comfortable and happy!
We brought the food back to the group and all of us enjoyed dining in that beautiful place, feeling and being treated like royalty! (Which is exactly how I wanted them to feel and rightfully so!) That August day, the Yacht Club opened its’ doors and it’s hospitality to our group and for that we all are truly thankful and grateful.
This wasn’t something that I asked for, it wasn’t anything I had thought of ahead of time, it simply was an act of kindness by John who in my opinion, was a ray of light that allowed us to enjoy one of those situations that may only happen once in a lifetime but yes readers, it did happen!
The Yacht Club I was told has been around for a very long time and prides itself (rightfully so) with strong community service. We had that experience firsthand! This surprise was one of those things that just happened, right place at the right time kind of thing and thus this was just another example of something that proves, without a doubt, that there is no end to what can happen when people exercise (what else would I say!?) I never thought in a million years that it would lead to having lunch in a private yacht club but it did. It wasn’t me that thought of it, it was the inspiration of the Woodbridge Walkers, the effect of that inspiration that John felt when he heard about this wonderful group of people that I believe made him think of offering this unique gift. There always can be surprises just around the corner! Try it and you’ll see, you may or may not get a lunch at a yacht club , but you never know – stranger things have happened but what you will get is more fit and YOU will inspire good deeds in people that you touch when you do exercise. Patrice