Connie, a frail woman of 77 years, was grieving the loss of her husband. After 54 years of marriage, she found herself suddenly living alone in a condominium. When she first contacted JFS, she was experiencing anxiety over her financial affairs. It was clear she had been very isolated. As the conversation progressed, Connie divulged that she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and, as a result, major depression.
It also became clear that Connie’s sole income of $701 a month from social security was barely enough for food and expenses, much less utilities or medication. Her tenuous relationship with her two children meant she couldn’t ask them for assistance. Besides speaking to her infrequently, they claimed to be unable to provide any support.
The immediate result of the JFS care plan relieved a lot of Connie’s anxiety. She was able to receive in-home counseling and a part-time aide to help her clean, cook and take her grocery shopping. Her care also included assistance with utility bills, food, and the purchase of a much-needed new bed. The care manager helped her apply for Meals on Wheels and Medicaid, and served as a liaison between Connie and her children to explore other living arrangements.
Jodi’s daughter Emma had had a cyst removed from her foot, but a rare reaction to the procedure caused her not to respond to the treatment and she lost the use of her legs. After several weeks, Emma, a 12 year old girl, still couldn’t walk. Every time they came home, Jodi had to struggle to lift the wheelchair and Emma up the front stair of her house.
Through a referral from Broward County Social Services Jodi called the JFS Gemilut Hasadim coordinator to ask if JFS could supply her daughter with a wheelchair ramp. According to the child’s mother, no one else she had called had responded. After a thorough inquiry, JFS was able to pay for an aluminum ramp that was purchased and put in place the very next day.
An elderly, disabled man in his 70’s came to Jewish Family Service when he was facing eviction. Max was living on a very low fixed social security income and could no longer afford his rent. After taking care of himself his entire life, he was not happy about having to ask for financial help. Through RESPITE, a State of Florida program that employs “volunteers” to assist elderly caregivers, JFS was able to employ him just enough to provide additional income. Through this program, Max was able to stay in his apartment, and maintain his dignity and sense of self-worth. Unfortunately when his rent increased, he was too embarrassed to ask for more assistance. Max was ultimately evicted, without saying a word to JFS.
One day, while sitting in the waiting room to speak to his counselor, someone asked him if he was “OK.” He said “No,” and explained that he was living in his car. Through our contacts, we were able to find him an assisted living facility that would house him for several weeks until we found him low-cost housing he could afford.