Miami Jewish Health Systems has the assistance of two active senior citizens.
One of them is Ann Kaplowitz, a 91-year-old Sunny Isles Beach resident who takes the bus to MJHS’ Douglas Gardens Campus in Miami to volunteer on Fridays in setting up the Shabbat table. The other is Nathan Blond, a resident of the nursing home’s Hazel Cypen Tower at its Douglas Gardens Campus, who calls Bingo with a booming voice at the Thursday extravaganza.
Kaplowitz began volunteering at the nursing home in 2003.
“I actually started there to become a volunteer to be with the people,” she said. “I love people and I love to help. I have a special feeling for the people with dementia. They can’t hear, they sit in a wheelchair so they get to my heart and that’s the reason I went there to help. As I was there doing all these things, other things came on that they needed me for, such as setting up the table for Shabbat on Fridays.”
Kaplowitz also described the nursing home as a special place.
“When I came in there I wasn’t prepared to see what I saw,” she said. “After my supervisor trained me for a half hour and showed me where I’m going to be, I introduced myself to the people there who were just sitting around. It hit me very hard because that’s what may happen to me. I was glad that I could do something. I talked to people that smiled at me.”
Kaplowitz was named as a co-recipient for the nursing home’s 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award.
“That [award] is proudly on my wall but the best thing is meeting the people and being with them,” she said. “I thank God to be able to do that because a lot of old people can’t. They want to but they can’t.”
Leslee Geller, the home’s Hazel Cypen Tower’s director of admissions, said about Kaplowitz, “She’s a role model for every single person who lives here that you’re never too old.”
One of Kaplowitz’s past volunteer duties at the home was calling Bingo which Blond, a World War II veteran who turns 90 later this year and lives at the facility with his wife Ruth, is now doing. He feels he’s doing a good thing by calling Bingo.
“I feel that I’m doing a job and doing the right thing,” he added. “It’s a good way of looking at life that way.”
When asked what his favorite moments calling Bingo are, Blond replied, “When I’m up in a crowd and see a lot of people come in and they’re happy and they come back because I’m doing the job right and I feel they need me.”
Blond also swims approximately 20 laps every morning.
“I feel that if I swim it’s very helpful and it’s good for my body,” he said.
Geller said that Blond lives every day to the fullest.
“He is active, he is friendly, everybody likes him and that booming voice is what they need for Bingo,” she said. “He doesn’t even need a microphone.”