Much like every other senior community around the United States and the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken The Selfhelp Home, founded in Chicago by and for Holocaust survivors over 70 years ago, by storm. A lot of changes are taking place daily, all aimed at keeping residents and staff safe. However, one of the hardest things to prepare for has been the loss of connection the residents are feeling due to social distancing. One of the ways we continue to keep the spirit of our home alive has been by actively creating opportunities for our residents to stay connected while staying apart.
#ShabbatIsNeverCancelled – Celebrating Shabbat during COVID-19
Each week, residents look forward to Shabbat, dressing up, gathering, and singing together. However, social distancing policies meant we had to suddenly stop allowing residents to take part in communal dining, thereby canceling Shabbat dinner. In an effort to keep the importance of Shabbat alive for our residents and ourselves, the staff created a Shabbat cart which we take from door to door, complete with a portable speaker playing Shabbat melodies. Making our way through the building, knocking on doors, the staff delivers care packages to residents filled with mini homemade challot and wine. Residents come out into the hall to take part, keeping a safe distance from each other while we light the Shabbat candles and sing the prayers together. We are also looking forward to including “Shabbat greetings” from family, friends, and Board members to the residents by broadcasting through the residents’ televisions in future weeks. Although it looks different, we have found a way to continue the warmth we feel each Friday night of being together as residents now look forward to our new Shabbat tradition.
Best Friends Reconnect for a Dinner Date on Zoom
Missing shared meals is one of the most detrimental and difficult things many of our residents are getting used to. Dining time is social time, and now residents are dining alone in their apartments. This can be painful, especially for this group of best friends – Finnie, Fannie, Sarah, and Sue. These ladies enjoy their time together so much, they even made up a little poem about it!
An Ode to Peace
Finnie, Fannie, Sarah, and Sue
Quite an entertaining crew
They talk, they chew
No one needs a special view
If they can make it, so can you
Finny, Fannie, Sarah and Sue.
Through the generosity of one of our donors who lent us 20 iPads, we found a way to help them dine together, via Zoom! Once we got them connected, they were so excited, they chatted for hours!
About The Selfhelp Home
The Selfhelp Home has a history unlike any other senior residential community in Chicago. Founded in 1938, in the shadow of the Holocaust, Selfhelp was started as a purely volunteer mutual aid society where Jewish survivors of Nazi persecution could find community and rebuild their lives. Today, Selfhelp honors its legacy of empathy and state of the art care as an urban, independent, nonprofit community offering a continuum of services including independent and assisted living, long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, respite care, and outpatient therapy. Selfhelp ranks among the top facilities nationwide, has been awarded “Best Nursing Home” by US News and World Report for the past seven consecutive years, and has earned the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval for Post-Acute Care and Nursing Care Center.
Here is How You Can Help…
Tablet Drive: Please help us stay connected by donating your tablet or iPad.
Write a Letter: A letter is a simple way to bring joy. Enclose a photo of you or your kids.
Drop Off: Help stock our activities cart with magazines, radios, Hebrew and Jewish newspapers, puzzles and games.