2012-08-31 / Community

JASA Gives Senior Couple New Life

Esther and Arthur in their wedding photo. Esther and Arthur in their wedding photo. According to 90-year-old Esther Rabinowitz, JASA (Jewish Association Serving the Aging) helped save her husband’s life. When her husband of 71 years, Arthur Rabinowitz, fell at home and had difficulty doing even basic tasks, Esther was forced to place him in a rehab center in Lynbrook, New York. Convinced he was “sent there to die,” Arthur began to withdraw, became depressed and gave up hope.

Esther, who taught dance at various JASA locations over the years, along with her husband, had been “regulars” at the Rockaway Park JASA Senior Center for ten years and every day Esther would drive to Lynbrook, pick up her husband and take him to the Senior Center for lunch, encouraging him to get out of his wheelchair. By having the daily interaction with his peers, Arthur immediately improved and became a different person – outgoing, confident, funny – and enjoyed the camaraderie of his friends and looked forward to having lunch (kosher, of course) every day.

The couple at their 71st Anniversary Party, held at JASA last week. The couple at their 71st Anniversary Party, held at JASA last week. His health improved so much that Esther was able to pursue a degree in exercise through the Department of the Aging, got her certification and will soon begin teaching a weekly Stay Well exercise program for fellow seniors.

But the daily drive from Inwood became too burdensome and the house too large, so the couple began looking for an apartment in the building that housed the Senior Center. Fay Schwimmer, the Center’s Director, said that the couple was looking for a spacious, three-bedroom apartment (with enough room for visiting children and grandchildren) and a waterfront view. With tenacity equaled only by the Rabinowitzes’, Schwimmer was able to secure their dream apartment, which included a 20-foot veranda overlooking the ocean. The couple moved into their dream home in July 2011.

They have all the amenities they need in their apartment, as well as a nearby swimming pool at which Fay arranged a weekly water aerobics class, and a selection of neighborhood doctors at their disposal. “JASA has been very good to us,” said Esther.

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