Have You Had “The Talk”?
by Anna Read, CJFS Fund Development & Outreach Director Recently, my mom underwent knee replacement surgery. For the first time in a decade, discussions about her Will and Advanced Care Directive surfaced. As she a I delved into her important legal documents, it struck me that my siblings and I hadn’t broached “the talk” with […]
Feeling Stressed? Try the Rule of 2
by Amy Neiman, LMSW I told myself that 2024 would be less stressful. Seriously. I had a conversation with myself while I was walking my dogs. I was going to be more organized. I was going to plan out dinners for the week. I was going to walk these dogs every day – rain or […]
What is Negative Self-Talk
By Mark Driskill, LICSW-S I remember watching cartoons as a child and seeing one in which a character had an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. Each of these was trying to influence the main character to behave in a particular way. Sometimes I remember this when I talk to clients […]
The Crisis in Israel
by Executive Director, Lauren Schwartz, MSW This is a time of uncertainty, fear, anger, pain, and sadness. The shock and brutality of the Hamas attacks have left our Jewish community in a state of emotional crisis. Regardless of the degrees of separation we have from that attack, we are–all of us–affected and are trying to […]
Simple Ways to Make Life Better for an Older Adult
By LaBrena Friend, LBSW When an older adult is experiencing new age-related problems, their friends and loved ones may not always recognize what is wrong. But by taking a few proactive steps, you can find out if an older adult you know or care for needs help – and you can be part of the […]
So, What Else Does CJFS do for Older Adults & Their Families?
Many people in greater Birmingham know CJFS because of our bright purple Buz-A-Bus, which for decades has been providing affordable door-to-door transportation for older and disabled adults. Or they’re familiar with CARES, our acclaimed respite program for people with dementia. But for many other older adults and their families, CJFS provides confidential services that don’t […]
Deciding to Leave a Job…and Then What?
by Gail Schuster, LICSW, ACSW ‘Denise’, who is in her 40s, had worked with the same company for more than a decade. She had always considered herself fortunate to work in a supportive professional environment, where she was well compensated and performed work that had a positive impact on others. She had believed it highly likely she […]
Helping a Child with Anxiety Starts with You
By Amy Neiman, LMSW We have all experienced the signs of ANXIETY when facing an intimidating or challenging situation: sweaty hands, heart beating faster or butterflies in the stomach. These feelings are sometimes referred to as “stage fright”, “nerves” or “anticipation.” Scientifically, it is our body’s physical reaction to the stress of the unknown. At […]
Showing Love to a an Older Adult
by LaBrena Friend, LBSW On our calendars, we just checked off Valentine’s Day – a day when the whole world seems focused on expressions of romantic love. But how do we show love to the older adults in our lives – the parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends who have meant so much in our lives, […]
For Caregivers: How to Counter ‘False Beliefs’
by Pam Leonard, LBSW, CDP The emotional and physical demands of family caregiving can be overwhelming under the best circumstances. When you add anxiety and self-doubt into the mix, the strain only worsens. Anxiety can lead a family member to believe, falsely, that they are failing in the role of caregiver, and that whatever they […]
2023 Resolution: Help to Repair the World
by Caleigh Rathmell Alevy, LMSW With 2023 fast approaching, many of us find ourselves reflecting on the past year and resolving to change ourselves, our routines or the interests we will pursue in the New Year. When we make New Year’s Resolutions, we often focus on changes we want to see within ourselves. But what if, instead, we […]
Reducing Caregiver Stress
by Elaine Witt First, her mother fell and broke her hip, leading to a partial joint replacement. Then she fell again, this time fracturing her arm. That was when Maria Whiting knew it was time to move her mother, 79-year-old Blanche Taylor, from her from her home in Pensacola to Birmingham, where Maria has lived […]
When Is It Time To Consider Long-Term Care For A Loved One?
By Pam Leonard The decision to move a family member into a long-term care facility can be difficult. Family caregivers often feel guilty when they begin considering such a move. They may feel it is their responsibility to care for their loved one at home. They may be concerned that a facility will not be […]
CJFS Summer Intern Reflects on the Challenges of Aging
by Emily Bebenek Birmingham resident Emily Bebenek, a rising junior at Wake Forest University, worked as a Hillel Connection intern this summer with our Development and Outreach team. Here, Emily reflects on a family trip that opened her eyes to the challenges of aging and caregiving. While my family lives in Birmingham, and my cousins […]
Addressing Life’s Challenges, Layer by Layer
By Marcy Morgenbesser, LICSW, CJFS Clinical Director. Older adults are often referred to CJFS because of one acute problem – say, they’re grieving the death of a spouse, they have serious financial problems or their loved ones have noticed they’re growing forgetful. But while working with the client to deal with that problem, our clinical […]
Struggling with Sleep?
by Robin McMilin, LCSW Everyone experiences an occasional restless night, but for those who toss and turn regularly, the inability to sleep can be a source of intense frustration. Difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep, a disorder known as insomnia, is more prevalent than people may realize. Insomnia for seniors is even more common, affecting […]
Depression and Anxiety are NOT a “Normal” Part of Aging
by Gail Schuster, LCSW We all wonder what “normal” is when it comes to different stages of life. One of the stereotypes of aging is that it is normal to feel depressed or anxious. The truth is feeling this way is NOT normal, but it also not uncommon. A recent study from the American Journal […]
The “Magic” of Gratitude
By LaBrena Friend, LMSW It seems hard to believe that we have been consumed by the COVID-19 crisis for almost a year now! Most of us are still talking, reading and thinking about the coronavirus and, now, the vaccines every single day. One year in, it’s hard to escape or focus on anything else, and yet, […]
Can Care Management Help Me or My Family?
by Marcy Morgenbesser, LICSW Alice, 67, has bipolar disorder and lives alone in a subsidized senior housing community. She has been a CJFS client since 2017, receiving Personal Care and Care Management services, Counseling and riding the Buz-A-Bus. When the pandemic hit, CJFS suspended face to face services, but Amy, Alice’s CJFS Social Worker, continued to […]
Thinking About How You Think
by Cynthia Bryant, LICSW The COVID pandemic has obviously impacted everyone’s life. Just when you think you have adapted to the current reality, new information and recommendations emerge. Every day there seems to be a new report about vaccine effectiveness, mask guidelines and daily totals for active cases and mortalities. In addition, we hear of […]