"Living With Dignity" Lecture Series Enlightens Jewish Community on Caregiving Issues

The Annual "Living With Dignity" lecture series, sponsored by Metropolitan Jewish Health System and featuring essential information for members of the Jewish community who serve as caregivers for chronically ill individuals, attracted sizable audiences to the Bikur Cholim of Boro Park for two successive sessions in July. The opening lecture, which covered practical health care issues, presented Neville Richards, RN, Administrator, Lemberg Home and Geriatric Institute, and Marshall Keilson, MD, Associate Director, Department of Neurology, Maimonides Medical Center. The second lecture featured Rabbi Yosef Stern, Rabbinical Coordinator, The Jewish Hospice of Greater New York, and Jay Sangerman, Esq., an attorney and leading expert on Elderlaw. "We believe that the dissemination of practical knowledge for caregivers is a vital aspect of health care services for the community," stated Eli S. Feldman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Metropolitan Jewish Health System.

Beginning the series with the topic of prevention and treatment of pressure sores (commonly called bedsores), Richards stated that they are a common affliction among elderly individuals who either sit or lie in one position for an excessive amount of time, since their skin is not as strong as that of younger people. Focusing on neurological issues of the elderly, Dr. Keilson detailed the risk factors for stoke, such as obesity and high cholesterol. He then discussed current modes of treatment for Parkinson's Disease, noting that in addition to medications, there is a new process known as deep brain stimulations, which through the application of electrodes is able to relive severe symptoms of the degenerative illness. Opening the second lecture, Rabbi Stern expounded on proper physical and emotional care for older adults who are chronically or terminally ill. Using the Jewish Hospice of Greater New York as a role model, the rabbi stressed the importance of providing palliative care to ensure that a patient's physical pain is alleviated to the greatest possible extent. "It's important to show the patient that you're their friend," he insisted, "and to give the person hope, whether it's to be able to attend a joyous family occasion or to accomplish something of importance in their life."

"The wholehearted participation of Metropolitan Jewish Health System in this lecture series," noted Rabbi Shmuel Steinharter, Executive Director, Bikur Cholim of Boro Park, "has enabled us to continually present programs that raise communal awareness regarding the range of concerns affecting contemporary caregivers." According to Maxine Hochhauser, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Delivery System, Metropolitan Jewish Health System, "The Living With Dignity lectures are another example of our strong relationship with other organizations that strive to maintain and enhance the health and well being of all members of the Jewish community."

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