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Jewish Community Begins Drive to Build Home for the Elderly

September 25, 1986|MEG SULLIVAN | Times Staff Writer

A nationally known expert in gerontology will make two public appearances, beginning tonight, to launch a drive for a $10-million convalescent home for Jewish elderly in Orange County.

Dr. Abraham Kauvar, a professor of medicine and geriatrics at the University of Colorado's Health Science Center in Denver, will discuss "Shifting Gears in the Second Half of Life: A Blueprint for Living" tonight at Leisure World in Laguna Hills. On Friday afternoon, he will address "Establishing a Geriatric Curriculum" at the UCI Medical Center in Orange.

Orange County Jewish Home for the Aging, a Garden Grove nonprofit organization in charge of construction, revealed plans last week to build a convalescent home for older Jewish people at a yet-to-be determined site.

The facility, which is planned to occupy 10 acres and include between 100 and 200 beds, is projected to open in 1990 at a cost of $10 million, according to the project's coordinating committee chairman, Meryl Schrimmer.

Kauvar, a gastroenterologist who became interested in geriatrics late in his career, is the head of the University of Colorado's geriatrics section, whose Seniors Clinic is considered a model in innovative programming for the elderly.

Tonight's lecture will be held at 7 o' clock in Temple Judea, 24512 Moulton Parkway, Laguna Hills. Friday's seminar will be held at 12:30 p.m. in Building 2 of the UCI Medical Center, 101 The City Drive, Orange. Reservations are required by telephoning (714) 634-5423. The decision to build the facility follows several years of research by the Jewish Federation of Orange County, said federation spokeswoman Mimi Spielberg. The federation is based in Garden Grove.

In the latest research of its kind, a 1982 study conducted by the federation found that about 7,200 Jewish people over the age of 65 live in Orange County. Preliminary results from a mail-in survey conducted last spring demonstrated "widespread" interest in a Jewish board and care facility with skilled nursing care, said Marshall Miller, who helped the Jewish Federation gather information on the feasibility of the convalescent home. . Of the 211 questionnaires tabulated so far, 138 respondents indicated an interest in the facility, with 84 saying they would like to be involved in the facility's implementation.

"There is a strong indication that people feel there is a necessity for this sort of thing," he said. "If there was such a facility in place now we would have enough people to fill it."

Only day care is now available for older Jewish adults in Orange County. The Jewish Senior Center in Garden Grove offers day care three days a week.

In addition to traditional services, the proposed convalescent home would provide kosher meals and celebrate traditional Jewish holidays, organizers said.

"It's hard to feel at home in the best of institutional environments," Spielberg explained. "If you can provide the elements of a home-type environment you have a better chance of making people feel at ease in their later years."

The drive's launching comes just as the Jewish community prepares to observe its High Holy Days, which begin Oct. 3 with Rosh Hashanah--a coincidence organizers find significant.

"During the High Holy Days, we are admonished to care for others, and this is a perfect opportunity for that," Spielbergf said. People interested in helping with the effort may contact Orange County Jewish Home for the Aging at (714) 530-6636.

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