A Little Help, a Huge Impact

At 41, William was told he needed to move into a nursing home. “My best friend told me that, and so did my doctor,” he recalled. “I was living in bed. My pain was so bad I could barely get up to fix my meals,” says William, who was left partially paralyzed by an accident in his early 20s. “All of my family is deceased, and I had gotten to the point where I couldn’t even go to the store,” he said. “Independence is important to me, so it was getting me pretty down,” William recalls, “and that’s when I remembered that somebody had told me I needed to call Collat Jewish Family Services.”

From the first time he met Bre, his CJFS social worker, William began to feel more hopeful about his situation. “Bre has always been so professional and so considerate,” he says. “She helped me find a doctor who got me into physical therapy so I can do more for myself. She advocated with my landlord to get them to fix the light outside my door – something I had asked for so many times. When I get depressed, she talks to me and helps me find a way to feel more in control of my life.” Bre also signed William up for the CJFS Personal Care program, through which Jasmine comes for two hours each week to clean and straighten his rent-subsidized apartment. “I don’t get to see too many people that are friendly, and Jasmine is always so kind. She starts in the kitchen, and then she sweeps, mops, vacuums and dusts. After she’s been here, I feel like I can do the other things I need to do for myself, because everything is in order.”

William doesn’t fit the profile of a “typical” CJFS client, but then, that’s often true of the more than 700 people whose lives are touched each year by CJFS. Although the agency’s mission is based in Jewish values, it serves many people who, like William, are not Jewish. Although many CJFS clients have the means to pay “full fees” for CJFS services, many, like William, pay reduced fees based on what they can afford. And although the agency has a special focus on older adults, the Licensed Clinical Social Workers of CJFS provide professional counseling for individuals and families of all ages.

“By providing Case Management, Professional Counseling and Personal Care for William, we are helping him continue living independently, something that is so important to him,” Bre says. Avoiding a premature nursing home placement is good for William – and it saves the Alabama Medicaid agency the cost of a nursing home bed, approximately $65,000 per year. “We call these services the ‘little bigs,' " says CJFS Executive Director Lauren Schwartz. "A few hours a week is a small investment that can have a huge impact.”


If you feel you or a loved one could benefit from one of the many services provided by CJFS, please call our Program Director, Stu Jaffe, 205.879.3438 or stu@cjfsbham.org to arrange a consultation.