A Strong Coalition of Jewish Organizations
Alan Weiner has lived on East Galbraith Road in Amberley Village for more than 25 years—just around the corner from the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, the Mayerson JCC, Jewish Family Service (JFS), StarPoint Home Care, and AgeWell Cincinnati—a coalition of partners overseen by JFS that includes the JCC, JVS Career Services, and Cedar Village. When Alan was the ritual director at Adath Israel, one of his students was Liz Vogel—the current CEO of JFS. But in December of last year, when he needed two major surgeries in under two weeks, and his body was tested like never before, Alan was both humbled and surprised to learn of the breadth and quality of services available to him right in his own backyard.
AgeWell Cincinnati Social Worker Has Huge Impact
“I was ritual director at the Adath Israel Congregation for 17 years, and I had not needed any of these services from the different organizations up until now,” Alan said during a recent phone interview. “Sometimes you don’t realize what’s in the community until people open the door for you. And that’s what I felt Katie did; she opened doors for me.” Alan was referring to Katie Moore, LSW, an AgeWell Cincinnati social worker who was instrumental in helping him take some well-informed first steps in his ongoing recovery.
Jewish Family Service Opens Up Doors
Alan, who lives alone, realized he was going to need help even before he admitted himself into the hospital. His son is a rabbi who lives with his family in Massachusetts, and his obligations toward his congregation, plus COVID concerns, prevented him from coming to Cincinnati for Alan’s surgery and recovery. That’s when Alan decided to reach out to Liz Vogel and JFS. “That’s how Katie and I got matched up, and I’m so glad we did,” he recalled. “It’s one of the best moves we made.”
“I was ritual director at the Adath Israel Congregation for 17 years, and I had not needed any of these services from the different organizations until now. Sometimes you don’t realize what’s in the community until people open the door for you. And that’s what I felt Katie did; she opened doors for me.”
Alan said his son was greatly relieved by Katie’s involvement. “He knew he couldn’t be here to take care of me,” Alan said, “so I think it was a good feeling knowing that there was someone here who cared—a real breath of fresh air that there was someone who could show me the ropes and be there for me.”
Alan knew he was going to be in rough shape upon leaving the hospital, but he also knew he did not want to move into a rehab facility. So, while he was recuperating from his first surgery, he, Katie, and his son worked together to develop a plan for post-operative home care. With a strategy in place, Alan had his second serious surgery in twelve days, and although this required more healing and recovery time, it clearly wasn’t enough. After he was ultimately released, Alan found himself in the emergency room just five hours later—a situation that would require two additional days of hospital observation.
StarPoint Home Care Steps In
“That month of December is one I would like to forget,” Alan lamented with a chuckle. “But Katie helped guide me through all that. She was my lifeline.” With Katie’s help, Alan was able to leverage the resources of AgeWell Cincinnati to connect with the JCC and JFS programs appropriate to his needs. “I was able to link up with StarPoint Home Care, and that has worked out very nicely.
Mayerson JCC Meals on Wheels Program Offers Support
Without the folks from StarPoint being there—especially in the beginning—to prepare a little bit of food in addition to the meals I was getting from the Mayerson JCC’s Meals on Wheels program, and the shopping and all that, I’m not sure how I’d have gotten through all this. I just wouldn’t have been able to fend for myself.”
Alan recognizes that his recovery will be a long one and that it could take months before he feels like himself again. “My body has been through a lot,” he admitted. His exercise regime consists of walking up and down the driveway, numerous times, as he slowly tries to rebuild his strength. During this time, Katie has continued to check in on him to see how he is getting along. The one exception was when she was sick with the coronavirus and the roles were temporarily reversed. “I hadn’t heard from her for about a week,” Alan said. “And I called her and found out that she had contracted COVID and was quarantining herself. But as sick as she was, she was still able to help me and point me in the right direction. I really admired that.”
Jewish Community of Cincinnati Truly Had Alan’s Back
In retrospect, Alan believes his ordeal taught him a valuable lesson about family. In his time of need, when his family was far away and could only help indirectly, “another family stepped in,” he said. “And I needed that other family. All of these organizations in the Jewish community were there for me—some of which I didn’t even know existed. And it really was just like we were all one big family. It was like the different spokes of a wheel, each helping one another.”
If you or a loved one could benefit from learning more about the family of services available to the community, please reach out to AgeWell Cincinnati. The experts at AgeWell Cincinnati can connect you to 68 services through one number: 513-766-3333.