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Protea Home Care

beit-protea Amichai Miller, Lynn Lochoff and Gadi Sharon, the founders of Protea Home Care project seven years ago

Beth Protea, the retirement home that was established in Herzliya in 1992 by the South African community in Israel, with help from Southern Africans all over the world has established its reputation as a caring, protective and nurturing environment for the aging population.

Far less is known about a wonderful subsidiary project that got underway seven years ago, caters for elderly citizens in the centre of the country, many of whom are originally from Southern Africa, who choose to stay at home, but are in need of support and care.

The project was born when Lynn Lochoff, the director of the home at the time, together with Gadi Sharon who was at the time in charge of the kitchen, and is currently Lynn`s successor, were taken by the idea of Amichai Miller, a volunteer at Beth Protea. Amichai had recently returned from America where he had lived for thirteen years, knew English, and realized that caring for the aged, involved understanding their needs and wishes, many of them based on functional ability. In no time, they proposed a service which would provide a supportive framework for those elderly in the community who chose to stay at home to the Board of Directors.

The service includes delivery of prepared meals, help in managing the members` lives - from dealing with Israeli bureaucracy, Social Security (Bituach Leumi), Holocaust Survivor rights, and health organization dilemmas, to solving service issues with cell-phone and TV companies. Home maintenance needs of the members are addressed as well as accompanying them on their visits to medical services and other appointments.

In addition, regular social home visits are made which improves the professional relationship with the member. Beth Protea serves an attractive and nutritious menu to its residents which is enjoyed by all every lunch-time and has become a hit to those who have tried them! It was natural to use this expertise and offer meals to Home Care members.

At present, 145 members in the centre of the country, enjoy the service of Protea Home Care given by an able team of care-givers trained in the field of gerontology and led by Amichai. About one third of the children of members live far from their parents, in Israel or overseas. Contact with family members, wherever they be, is an integral part of the service.

During the last year, throughout the Covid epidemic, taking heed of the emergency circumstances, members were contacted on a daily basis. Home visits were performed more frequently to help stave off the loneliness and anxiety, which in many cases was very significant. Protea Home Care has played a significant role in easing the stress of family members wherever they may be in a world which has so drastically changed overnight.

Amichai tells of accompanying a man who recently fell and broke his pelvis in the middle of the night to the Emergency Room of a local hospital while his wife stayed at home with her caregiver. "The fact that we are available 24/7 makes a huge difference to people who know that we are there for them, to help and support. We are often the first people to be contacted in a crisis.."

It is with a sense of deep pride and admiration that I tell of this amazing service that was created by a team of visionary workers who realized that it is the will and circumstances of many citizens that keep them at home and yet need support, having made that decision.

The team is a special bunch of people, with their hearts in the right place, each dedicated and totally committed to caring for the members who have become like family to them.

Protea Home Care is surely a pioneering example of the innate potential that a caring community can create for its aging population by providing not only a remarkable retirement home but also extending a professional service of love and caring to the homes of members themselves.

 

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Wednesday, 27 October 2021

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