Letters | June 14, 2019

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Senior Food Insecurity Hides Deeper Problem

The article on food insecurity for seniors (“Issues of Food Insecurity Growing Among Seniors,” JT 6/7) describes a standard social work approach: a group of people has a problem due to some deficit in the environment or themselves, and resources from the outside are brought in to resolve this. Almost always there are never enough of the desired resources so this group is still left with some level of deprivation, and the basic issue remains
unresolved.

Suppose the problem was defined differently? We could see food insecurity as a symptom of the more chronic “plagues of seniors”, as described by geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas – loneliness, helplessness, boredom. I have sat in the homes of seniors who had 14 uneaten dinners delivered by Meals on Wheels stored in their refrigerator, yet were still yearning for the delivery person to come by again and spend a few minutes chatting. I know of Park Heights apartment buildings where widows on all floors sit by themselves every night cooking or not, eating or not, yet rarely find a way to share a meal with neighbors in the same boat.


The sameness of everyday only marked by doctors’ appointments and occasional grandchildren’s visits does not inspire people to want to create a balanced diet whether on their own or reaching out for resources.

I know there are programs at the JCC and some synagogues where meals and programs are offered for seniors. For many of these, the seniors sit as passive recipients. In my experience, most seniors want to be involved and need a daily purpose.


Suppose some of these programs could take place in the buildings where people lived instead, and workers would help gather a couple of people on each floor to show them how possible it might be to prepare food and eat together – two, three, four persons at a time? Suppose instead of delivering cooked meals, a farmer’s market would deliver fresh vegetables? Suppose workers could assure that accessible TV’s with large screens and appropriate streaming or DVD’s were set up in people’s home units where others could be invited in to watch collectively?

A psychological task for seniors is life review. Often people become so embroiled in their physical and mental struggles that they shy away from others whose pain only seems to mirror their own. Creating and sharing meals, experimenting with food options, having someone to trade commentary on TV shows may be a gentler way to begin more essential conversations.

Instead of outside resources needing to be reached for, the seniors’ innate abilities for sharing and connection could be stimulated. Given that people would be at various levels of functioning, a way could be demonstrated where everyone would get to contribute something, and thus feel
useful. People can participate and express themselves until the end of life if approached with this attitude.

As long as the soul is felt as a living presence, the body reaches for a way to house it.

Joyce Wolpert
Pikesville

 

Keep Investigating Trump

In response to Mr. Fox’s op-ed (“Maspeek! Genug! Enough!,” JT 6/7):  As we all know, the bible has many translations and interpretations. Not so with the Mueller report. It is clear to (almost) everyone, unless one gave full stock to Barr’s CliffsNotes recap, that laws were most likely broken and inappropriate behavior surely occurred.

When it was clear that the president wasn’t exonerated, the next step was to proclaim it was angry Democrats (instead of some lifelong Republicans) who did the report, and the wrongdoings of  Mr. Trump were “Fake News.” The gold standard report that proved him “totally innocent” was now, not to be believed.

I strongly believe in “Jewish values”…not necessarily “Jewish law” but “Jewish values.” This president falls short in every category. Name calling; childish behavior; ignoring basic human rights and dignity; cutting back on controls that while improving the business community hurt the planet and our children’s future (I could go on and on) … are now the White House norm. And if telling the truth seems even a bit important to you, then support for Mr. Trump is out of the question.

Some ecumenical Christians seem to feel that Trump was “sent by G-d” to save America. Personally, I feel the strong pull to the Christian Right hard to swallow.

I disagree with Mr. Fox. We need to keep on investigating. Criminal behavior while in office, or for that matter, even before being in office, is unacceptable. I can only hope and pray that our next president has “Jewish values” and “can be relied on to act with honor and integrity.*”

*That is the definition of a mensch … but since I didn’t have the proper word for a “female mensch” I chose to use the definition instead. But…you get it! And yes, the economy is good, but for many of us that isn’t the only measure of a good president.

Norma Cohen, 
Mount Washington

 

Seeing Our Similarities

It can be helpful and rewarding when different groups work on specific projects or political issues (“JCC & Y Work To Be Better Together,” JT 6/7). That enables people to see the problems from different angles, but it also teaches them that there are more similarities than differences among races, religions and ethnic groups. We need to work together on common issues instead of always
disagreeing.

Nancy Leah Dudwick, 
Comment from JT website

 

 

 

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