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December 19, 1986 - Image 48

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-12-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Friday, December 19, 1986 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Volunteering can provide many seniors with a sense of
purpose when lectures, classes and trips are not enough.

ROBYN KLEEREKOPER

-3453 - 1C;"-,,, •

48

OBSERVATIONS

etirement is a big
step. Many people
find they need to feel
needed and useful, as they
did during their working
years. For them, keeping
busy with lectures, classes
and trips is insufficient. They
feel they lack a sense of pur-
pose in their daily lives. For
others, now that their
families no longer need them
so much, there is a sense of,
"Is that all there is?" Dr.
Ronald Trunsky, Sinai Hospi-
tals' associate director of psy-
chiatry, spoke of the man
who retired to depression.
This is a very real problem
for many active, vital adults
who have come up against
the idea of "65 and out."
What should they do to feel
worthwhile for the next seg-
ment of their lives?
There are two possible
routes these people can take
... a part-time job or volun-
teer work. There are oppor-
tunities in the Jewish com-
munity, and the general
community, for both. Volun-
teers are the lifeline for sev-
eral of Jewish Welfare Fed-
eration agencies. Without
their volunteers, many of the
services these agencies offer
would have to be scrapped.
One of the agencies which
relies heavily on its volunteer
help is the Jewish Family
Service. As the coordinator of
the volunteer department of
the agency, Ellen Labes
comments, "The older adult is
the mainstay of our volunteer
program. They provide a
variety of functions, probably
the largest percentage of
them are our volunteer driv-
ers. We transport between
150 to 200 clients of the

This is the second of two
articles on the well elderly."

agency ... Other volunteers
we have serve as office aides.
They provide multiple func-
tions to keep the department
running."
In addition, volunteers man
the Friendly Visitors pro-
gram, which arranges weekly
visits to seniors who are
homebound. JFS also works
in conjunction with local
synagogue sisterhoods to pro-
vide visitors to Jewish resi-
dents of Detroit-area nursing
homes.
"Another exciting program
is our Volunteer Advocate
Program," says Labes, "We
have two women who serve
as advocates for our clients
and go to bat for them,
primarily when it comes to
untangling red tape of gov-
ernment bureaucracy —
Medicaid, Medicare, social se-
curity, food stamps, anything
that's really a puzzle to the
client and who really needs
assistance."
Jewish Family Service is
not the only Federation
agency utilizing older adults.
The Senior Service Corps are
a group of volunteers under
the auspices of the Jewish
Vocational Service and
Community workshop.
The group was begun ten
years ago when several
women came to the agency
looking for a job. They were
feeling isolated, were past re-
tirement age and many had
never worked outside of the
home. There was a pressing
need to feel useful. The
people who became part of
the corps, some of whom are
still active, were without
means of transportation. The
Jewish Vocational Service
provides transport door to
door. They perform myriad
functions at about ten non-
profit agencies, such as Sinai
Hospital, the Jewish Corn-
munity Center and the Fresh
Air Society.
Another Jewish Vocational
Service program is part-time

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