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Home Sweet Home - Beth Protea

Karps Enjoying the view ... the Karps on their balcony at Beth Protea (Photos: Isobel Myers)

 Our 10th move in 57 years, and it's the best one yet

The establishment of retirement homes is one of the burgeoning industries of this land. There are advertisements weekly of new establishments being opened all over Israel. We have visited many of these homes - from the luxurious to the comfortable, from new to old - and each of them offers more or less the same facilities. One outstanding common feature is undoubtedly the phenomenal quality of the people who choose to work in these fabulous institutions. They are motivated by loving care and kindness and overriding concern for all the residents. I am reminded of a Ralph Emerson's quote:

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."

We long ago decided that it would be preferable to move into our retirement home together if we could, to hopefully make friends and to have a support group already established when the time came for one of us to face life alone. Our research resulted in our putting our names down at Beth Protea eight years ago, well in advance of our considering the move.

Beth Protea offered us a home from home. It is run by English speakers, and the residents are former South African in the main, but there are many from England and America plus a few from Herzliya itself. This home uniquely offers accommodation for Anglos and Herzliya residents. A real attraction is that a substantial well-balanced main meal is provided every day, included in the monthly tariff. In addition, there is limited accommodation for couples which includes an extra room.

Matthew and Lynette Karp in the kitchen of their Beth Protea home

Some years after we registered a call came from the CEO Lynn Lockoff inviting us to view a unit that was being altered that might suit us. I agreed for interest's sake to see what it was like. My husband and I worked out that we had made 10 moves during our 57 years of marriage for one reason or another. None of our homes were built from scratch but each of them was chosen because in some form or another the new abode 'spoke' to us. Suffice it to say, this visit to Beth Protea left me in an absolute tizzy of anticipation. There was no doubt in my mind that this would be our next and probably final home.

The question we faced was "Is this the right time for us to move into a retirement home?".

There are middle aged people who are already old and there are old and even very old who remain young!! And that has little to do with challenges of their lives and everything to do with their attitude, their state of mind, their health and the quality of their lives. The main challenge is, as it always is for every dilemma, to make a decision with careful consideration and then having made it, to stride boldly into the future determined to make it a success.

And that is what we did. We moved into our new home a year ago and have not had one regret. I have shrugged off much stress and anxiety and I know that my children have had the same reaction and are now less worried about us. We moved when still reasonably fit and energetic and it has given us the bonus of being able to enjoy all the wonderful facilities, entertainment and advantages in abundance here, before the changes of ageing may limit our abilities. We live in the independent section of the home which accommodates just under 100 residents. There is a unit for assisted living and a frail care nursing area each with its own professional medical staff.

My friends tell me I look years younger and in all honesty, I feel it.

What is it that has made such a difference?

Senior staff put themselves out far beyond the parameters of their duties to care for residents' needs and requests. Help at all times is one phone call away. The reception is manned by welcoming trained personnel with emergency numbers at their finger tips. Medical assistance is instantly on hand 24/7, a social worker is there to solve every bureaucratic problem. Maintenance problems are swiftly seen to, Wi-Fi is everywhere and there is TV in every unit. Leisure time is filled in many different ways. An indoor year-long swimming pool is open at supervised times and there are exercise classes, a well-stocked gym, a fantastic library, lecture hall facilities big and small and beautiful outdoor areas in colorful gardens. There are regular shuttle services to shopping centers, nightly entertainment, weekly live musical concerts by professional musicians, art and handwork opportunities, movies, lectures by prominent speakers, excursions to interesting places and to topical exhibitions. There are facilities for Shul services and Jewish holidays are handled with traditional integrity. Each resident is treated with respect, empathy and individual attention. There is no pressure; take it or leave it.

There are so many new friends to be found here from all over the world with stories to share but it is your choice - your life can be as public or as private as you choose to make it. When the front door of your apartment closes, your privacy and peace is guaranteed.

What a blessing this move has proved to be for us.



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Friday, 14 June 2024

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