Friends of Yad Sarah UK

Beersheva branch volunteers bring Purim joy to the homebound and frail elderly

c82cc4e14a1d2c8c8ffff9840d24b558_mOnce again this year, the volunteers of Yad Sarah Beersheva plan to distribute Purim gift baskets to the homebound – the elderly, the sick and the disabled.

More than 200 recipients are on the list for this holiday gift and visit; the Purim gift baskets are made possible by the financial support of the Beersheva community, generous friends in the USA and the many volunteers who give of their time to make these special deliveries.  For many of the recipients – this will be a rare meeting with someone who will help them forget their loneliness (even temporarily) and bring a smile to their faces.

For Purim, Chana was surprised to find herself delivering a gift to a former volunteer. He had worked at the original Yad Sarah headquarters in Jerusalem, and here he was now, in need of the same assistance that he had once provided for others.

Yehudit, another volunteer, made her very first deliveries this Purim.  She was particularly moved by her visit to Gita, a widowed 80-year-old from Libya. Shocked to see someone at her door, Gita’s face brightened when she understood the purpose of the visit, inviting Yehudit into her home and telling her family stories.  She told Yehudit how much it meant to her to have a visitor for Purim. Her son, she said, had passed away a few years ago. It was he who had always brought her Mishloach Manot, and since his death, she hadn’t had the traditional Purim delivery from anyone.

“She was very happy to see someone. She couldn’t stop talking,” said Yehudit.  “I really feel that I made a mitzvah.”

Yad Sarah fills Israel’s Geriatric Dentistry Gap

48ee1e8a0a8f50dce4f8cb9ab418e211_mCheck out this new article on about Yad Sarah’s unique Geriatric Dentistry program, providing state-of-the-art care for Israel’s impoverished elderly.

Read more about it here.

“Inside Yad Sarah” – Spring 2016

fc1da7257992fc36032e11db3df7a664_mThe Spring issue of “Inside Yad Sarah,” is now available.  With a cover story on the power of the creative arts to revitalize lives, the newsletter brings inspiring stories on the progress of individuals coping with illness and injury and the valuable role that the arts have played in guiding their recovery.  We’re also proud to report on Yad Sarah’s commitment to inclusion, highlighting an effort to involve young people with special needs in equipment repair.  This effort helps the young people to learn new skills, including job readiness.

Recuperating at home: Yad Sarah’s Home Hospital program

c9b002fe1bb0320831a8ae78670fdb6f_mYad Sarah’s Home Hospital Program creates an alternative to both long and short-term hospitalization through the provision of equipment tailored to the particular needs of each patient. The program enables individuals to be “hospitalized at home” under the care of family members, whether they are in hospice or suffer from chronic or even short-term illness. The program allows patients, especially those suffering from end stage and chronic illnesses, to remain in the far more dignified and empathic environment of their home; enables them to avoid the risk of hospital sourced infection and generates substantial savings in medical costs.  Participants pay a modest maintenance fee after 3 months.  Yad Sarah staff members visit the homes of participants to check on the maintenance of the equipment and assess for other support services that may be needed.

Hospital-based branches link in-patient care and home

077ab55046ce80eaf9a3ddea999597ca_mYad Sarah has 12 branches located within hospitals to make it easier for patients and families to borrow equipment upon discharge.

In recent news reports, the issue of hospital overcrowding in Israel is heating up, with noted experts decrying the shift of responsibility for medical care from the government to non-governmental organizations.  This puts pressure on Yad Sarah and its hospital-based branches to help prepare people for a safe transition from in-patient care to home.  A successful transition leads to low rates of readmission, is more comfortable and healthier for the patient and family, and is more cost-effective for the state.

Trained volunteers at Yad Sarah’s branch at Rambam Medical Center have helped this branch to become an integral part of the discharge planning at Haifa’s largest regional medical center. “We [Yad Sarah] help people to get out of the hospital easier and faster,” explained volunteer branch manager Nurit Zinger. With a Lending Service on the hospital premises, “we shorten the process and we help the hospital to make the beds available and care for more people.”

Yad Riva: Advocating for Israel’s elderly

4965657af186b9092c7a96976ffe881c_mYad Riva was developed in response to the needs of older people overwhelmed by problems late in life. When the elderly are confronted with legal issues, they are frequently overcome by feelings of despair, helplessness, and anxiety. A range of legal problems may face an older person: abuse, money and property concerns, and family conflicts. Yad Riva also helps clients understand and access entitlements like improved health care and adequate living accommodations, all of which has a significant impact on the clients’ quality of life.

Due to the high cost of legal representation, disability, health circumstances, intimidation, and/or language limitations, many older people do not have the necessary means to access their rights. Yad Riva exists to provide an essential service that is out of reach for poor older adults in Israel, including people suffering from elder abuse. Yad Riva’s services are provided at no cost to the client. By providing free services, Yad Riva ensures that this vulnerable population has equal access to protection under the law.

The services provided by Yad Riva include:

  • Legal assistance in a wide range of matters including elder abuse, National Insurance, health and housing rights, labor and employment, and guardianship and inheritance laws
  • Legal representation in cases of abuse, financial exploitation, violence, and guardianship.
  • Legal assistance to the homebound in their own homes or assisted living facilities.
  • Legal assistance to non-Hebrew speakers in their own languages
  • Lectures in local communities for the elderly and for professionals.
  • Telephone hotline for older people and their advocates for quick responses to questions on rights of the elderly.

Yad Riva services are conducted by a network of over 100 volunteers (mostly lawyers) across 25 cities. Yad Riva’s volunteers respond with more than legal services; they offer compassion, patience, and emotional support.  Volunteers provide assistance in several languages, including Russian, Amharic, Arabic and English, insuring culturally-sensitive access for all older adults in Israel.

The participation and devotion of volunteers across Israel has made it possible for Yad Riva to reach thousands of people each year. Yad Riva now operates out of 21 different Yad Sarah branches, as well as in seven independent branches (in Tzfat, Ramat HaSharon, Chezel Modiin, Ramla, Kiryat Gat, Ramat Gan, and Kiryat Ono), which focus exclusively on cases of elder abuse. With 28 total locations throughout Israel, Yad Riva’s wide presence makes the program accessible to the entire population. Effective outreach and collaborative efforts enable Yad Riva to reach more people each year and help them realize their rights, reclaim their self-respect, and overcome abusive situations.

Last year, more than 7,100 cases were handled by Yad Riva staff and volunteers.  Over 180 lectures and training sessions were held, reaching more than 5,300 older people and professionals in the field of aging.

Challenging assumptions about aging

f4b6dca0e2911082f0eb6e1df1a0e11d_mHappy 100th birthday to Yehuda Losky, Yad Sarah’s oldest volunteer!

At a time when many older people have slowed down, become ill and infirm and are dependent on support services, Yehuda has no plans to retire.  His story is a story of positive aging, remaining active and engaged with the community well into late-life.  “All my life, I have helped people, and as long as I am able to stand on my own two feet, I will continue to do it.  Everybody can volunteer” he said.

For the past 27 years, Yehuda can be found every Wednesday at the organization’s multi-service center in Rishon LeZion, repairing wheelchairs and other equipment and helping to ensure these items are ready for loan to the next recipient.  He is the “go to” guy for equipment repairs, helping other volunteers and providing guidance in the busy repair shop.  He arrives early on Fridays — the branch’s busiest day — and charms the other volunteers and clients with stories about his long and interesting life.

Until 120, Yehuda Losky!

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