By Doug Curlee | Editor at Large
Popular program for the elderly will offer more programs
Almost anyone classified as elderly will admit, if you ask them, that one of their major fears is not so much disease or lack of money as it is loneliness.
No one wants to grow old alone, but it’s a fate often dictated to them that they can’t control. They may have – in fact, likely have – lost their life partners, and live far from their children. Four walls and silence can be maddeningly depressing.
That’s why San Diego’s Jewish Family Services, in existence since 1918, has made it a mission to provide services and companionship to a large number of San Diego’s elderly community.
To better do that is why the College Avenue Center, well known to generations of San Diegans, has moved into larger, brighter, airier quarters at Temple Emanu-El in Del Cerro.
It’s more than just a drop-in center. It offers a long and growing list of activities and classes for any senior citizen who wants to partake. It offers low-cost kosher meals every day at lunch.
Mainly what it offers is companionship – a place where the elderly can go and find new friends, and reconnect with old ones.
People like Penny Berridge, Naomi Title and Gerda Heilbrunn, who were kind enough to interrupt their card game long enough to talk with me.
“I’d be a couch potato,” said Berridge. “This program simply changed my life.”
Naomi Title agreed. “The people here are so open and inviting. There’s so much to do.”
Gerda, whose mother tongue is German, has found many there she can speak with in German or English.
“You can be on the go here. The food is tasty and healthy. It’s much better than the place I live. There’s exercise and conversation here. There are people here.”
There are classes in tai chi and yoga. There are current events meetings, where opinions are never shy, and usually well-informed. There are guest speaker and guest entertainers.
If you’re thinking, “well, it’s probably not for me, because I’m not Jewish,” forget that notion. Everyone, of whatever faith, or no faith, is welcome here. True, you won’t be getting pork chops or shrimp for lunch, but the kosher food is good and healthy. And for $4, it’s a major bargain for
people who might not have much disposable income.
Getting there isn’t much of a problem. There are MTS buses that can pick you up and bring you back home. On The Go Transportation Solutions for older adults can and does do the same.
You can check them out online at www.jfssd.org/cac, or simply go by on any weekday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El at 6299 Capri Drive in Del Cerro. Either of those is a good idea.
–Doug Curlee is editor at large. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.