Aging Parents | Seacrest at Home

Aging Parents

Seacrest Village-Yom HaShoah

​​​​​​​I was born in the right place. I grew up in a wonderful neighborhood with an abundance of safety and tolerance. My parents were never afraid to hang up our Mezuzah. I was proud and unafraid to tell my classmates that I am Jewish. I had many of my non-Jewish friends attend my Bar Mitzvah. In my adult life, I truly cannot remember a time that I have felt uneasy or a lack of opportunity because I am Jewish. My story is unfortunately not the norm for our Jewish people. In fact, the persecution that my ancestors faced, in late 1800’s during the Russian pogroms, initiated their immigration to America. Their immigration ultimately helped pave the way for me to be born in this “right place.”

These thoughts came about during the moving service we had at Seacrest Village on the Day of Holocaust Remembrance, Yom HaShoah. Warren Odenheimer, the keynote speaker of the service, started his story by telling the audience, “I was born in the wrong place.” Born in Germany shortly before Nazi rule, Warren and his family began to feel significant oppression and anti-Semitism. Fortunately, Warren and his family were able to leave Germany shortly after Kristallnacht. As a young man, Warren and his family were uprooted from their home in Germany. The Odenheimers migrated through Russia and then spent time in the Orient.

With only $8 dollars to their name, the family was granted visas to come to America, where they settled in San Francisco. In 1941, he enlisted in service and is a WWII Veteran. He has spoken to other groups about his story to help us ensure that we will not forget.

A moment at the Seacrest Village Yom HaShoah service, that I hope to never forget, occurred when Rabbi Patti asked all of our Holocaust survivors to stand up and light a candle. The candles symbolize and honor the 6 million Jews that were murdered. I was overwhelmed to see 22 survivors, our residents, proudly light these candles. (We have an additional 5 survivors at Seacrest Village Rancho Bernardo) As time goes on, the ability to see the faces and hear the stories of people who lived through this horrific time in history will become more and more of a rarity. Once these survivors are gone, how will we carry on their memory, legacy and message? How will we ensure that future generations grow up in the “right place” like I did?

We still have an incredible resource of people living and articulating their story and message. It is our responsibility to listen and never forget, so we can pass their teachings down to future generations to ensure that this will never happen again. It is an honor to work with and live amongst a group of people that inspire us to make the world a more tolerant and loving place.
Jon Schwartz

Care Like It’s Your Mom

Last month, my mom was rushed to the hospital with a high fever and severe abdominal pain. After many days of being at the hospital and a multitude of tests, doctors confirmed that my mom had a malignant tumor blocking her bile duct. We were told that the tumor would have to be removed though a complex and extensive surgery. Luckily, we were able to find a brilliant surgeon who was able to successfully remove the cancerous mass. However, full recovery from this surgery will take many months.

This scary and terribly difficult experience for my entire family has helped me personally gain even greater perspective on the importance of care giving. While I have worked for many years in the field of providing care for seniors, I myself have never personally been a hands-on caregiver until this recent situation with my mom. Just like how I have leaned on my mom during the years from life’s pains, illness and sadness; I wanted to be there for her so she could lean on me. The transition for me from being “just” her son to now her son and one of her care takers has been an instinctual process. Many of her sentences now start out, “Can you help me with…?” Truly though, I want to help her with anything. She is my mom and it is more of a stress and burden on me when I can’t help her with a need. However, it is impossible for me to be there at all times. During my mom’s hospital stay, she had a team of nurses that were truly incredible. There was one nurse though that gave me a message that I will not forget.

The night this nurse was in, my mom had spiked a high fever and was in a considerable pain from her surgery. She was still in critical care and needed to be rotated often to prevent bed sores. This amazing nurse looked and my dad and I and knew that we both were in terrible need of sleep. She told us to relax, close our eyes, and lay on the cot the hospital had provided us. She comforted me by saying, “I know she is not my mom, but during my shift tonight, I will act as though she is.” I sat down on the cot, watched with one eye open, to see how attentive and gentle she was to my mom throughout the night. My dad and I were finally able to sleep and most importantly, my mom benefited from this nurse’s genuine compassion and touch that night. I am still so amazed at how healing this particular nurse was to our entire family.

No matter our age, it is inevitable that at some point we will need help. While I settle back into work at Seacrest at Home, I believe I am more aware of how special our Home Care Associates truly are. To have the compassion for a family member comes naturally. However, to have the ability to care for an individual as though they are a parent is truly something so special.

In honor of Mother’s day, I wanted thank all of the amazing mom’s out there that have passed down the morals and values of compassion to their child, because this compassion makes the world a better place.

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