Cape Jewish Seniors on honouring your ageing loved ones

Harry and Debbie Epstein, visitor, Shirley Cohen, Truda Goldman and Sylvia Quin at Open 24 hours in Harrington Street

Honouring your ageing loved ones

Jews have recently celebrated Pesach. As is the norm with any major Jewish Festival, families come together to enjoy a meaningful time together. As usual, afterwards, things get back to normal and families leave to carry on with their daily routines and our seniors are left to their own devices.

In our community and many other towns in South Africa, it has become evident that the majority of the communities’ residents are senior citizens. We also know that in many cases younger family members have either emigrated or are not living close to their parents, which in the long term can put a tremendous strain on families, especially when times of crisis occur.

Ageing isn’t easy and as we often witness people becoming feisty and argumentative and often complaining about something that seems unnecessary. Honouring ageing parents or ageing community members can be hard. Time constraints of those caring for aged often interfere with outside commitments and often the caregiver really does have to make sacrifices in order to be able to provide the necessary services for their loved ones. This can be very difficult, especially when one cannot necessarily see an end in sight. It may mean carving extra time from one’s own limited personal time and the stress and strain of dealing with their problems, as well as their own family time, can be really daunting.

What motivates a caregiver to keep on caring and what keeps the carer persevering? Love should go a long way towards energising and motivating one to care for elders, but the key word is honour — a genuine and sincere love in action. When sincerely honouring parents or other elders, caregiving becomes a more gratifying experience. Caregivers use the positive word ‘rewarding’, to describe feelings about caregiving responsibilities. Loving and honouring our seniors is worth the effort.

In order to honour the aged, respecting losses helps to remember that they have travelled a long pathway, facing a variety of obstacles. As one ages, your world does not look the same. Indignities are common and physical disabilities often result in a diminishing return of life’s simple pleasures and the letting go of one privilege after another associated with independence and autonomy. As life changes and losses accumulate, personal identity of an elderly person also undergoes change. 

Important losses that they might endure are:- 

a) Cherished active roles such as mother, father, provider, mentor and friend. 

b) A career or job that provided opportunities for interaction with others, stimulating interests and a sense of belonging and making a difference.

c) Perceived usefulness, dependability and self-esteem or simply being needed, or being enjoyed by the people they love, is one of the worst losses.

d) Siblings and lifelong friends pass on and their deaths or relocation occurring at a time when friendships are more important than ever to help your ageing loved one cope with all the changes.

e) Perhaps the most stressful of losses, spouse loss, is associated with losing the role of husband/wife, confidant and lover. Sometimes this is also associated with having to move homes or communities. 

The loss of independence, driving and the ability to get around without assistance, turns life upside down and will certainly increase the limitations of old age and each loss is a wound which can cause a person to become frustrated because they are hurting inside. As in any grieving process, one of the early stages of dealing with loss is anger which can manifest in many different ways.

Empathising with losses that come with age and including our seniors and their friends in our lives can help you to express honour, patience and love for the elderly as well as providing them with dignity.

Most older people measure their personal worth by gauging how well they meet three goals — dependability, ability to maintain close family ties and self-sufficiency. Most do not want to reach out for help and want to do things independently proving themselves dependable and responsible The longer older people feel they can be counted on to take care of themselves, help their loved ones and stay connected to a family or community, the more likely they are to remain optimistic.

As a community we should recognise skills and successes. In order to honour our aged.

Being part of the community, instead of being kept apart from the community is important and part of the mission of CJSA. We look out for opportunities to recognise the significant part they can play in one’s life. 

Record your elder’s stories capturing their history as well as interaction with children and grandchildren

Reinvent memories by sending notes on special days as well as phone calls at any time is always so appreciated.

We all benefit from spending time with old companions as well as making new friends — keeping in touch is a reason to get up .and get out and ensuring that our seniors are able to do this is beneficial for all.

Regular exercise improves circulation and keeps the endorphins (feel good hormones) coursing through the blood system to. Walking or even chair exercises are ideal.

Latent talents such as baking, writing or any hobby or past time. Computer lessons or any way to get people involved is good too.

CJSA programmes are all planned to enable our members to derive the most out of ageing. There are a variety of activities to sort the needs of all and there is no reason for anyone to be alone or lonely at any time during the week. An added bonus are our caring drivers who are available to transport anyone who no longer has their own transport. CJSA strives to honour and hold all our members at all time to ensure that while ageing is not an option, it is really possible to live a rich, full and significant life as one ages. 


It is with great sadness that the CJSA family bids farewell to Social Worker Melanie van Emmeness and her husband William who are leaving South Africa to live with their son and his family in Connecticut, USA. Melanie has been instrumental in starting the West Coast Branch of CJSA and nurturing its maturing to a viable branch for the last 51/2 years. Special thanks and mention must also go to William who has always been there to support and assist Mel every step of the way. We will miss you both dearly and wish you all the happiness you deserve in your new home.

Diana Sochen Executive Director 



Charlotte Berson — great granddaughter

Wolfie and Glickie Bloom — great granddaughter

Ettie Buch — great granddaughter

Reina Hurwitz— great granddaughter

Alan and Pauline Sevitz — granddaughter


Vivienne and Nigel Brooker — daughter

Steven and Jos Horwitz — son


Maureen and Roy Summerfield 60 


Sonja Keschner — 90

Judith Resnick — 92 

We extend our sincere condolences to our members those who have lost family members:

Rabbi Malcolm Mattitiani — father

Monique Nieuwenhys — grandmother

Seymour and Jocelyn Stoch — mother

We extend condolences to the family of members who have recently passed away

Rebbetzin Bertha Sherman

We welcome New Members to the CJSA family:

Cecilia Rogut

Special Events June
booking essential for all functions

Twilight Suppers 

Sea Point 18 June Rolene Miller, founder
of Mosaic R60

Milnerton 27 Dr Anastasia Tomson on
diversity and compassion R70 

Wynberg 19 Stefanie Shulter of Two
Oceans Marathon R60 


Southern Suburbs 3 Durbanville Ceramics
Exhibition R40

24 Boere Sjiek R40

Milnerton 4 Wheel at the Waterfront R85

25 Rupert Museum in
Stellenbosch R40

Sea Point 19 Big Wheel at the Waterfront

West Coast 18 District 6 Museum R30


Milnerton 7 June Gilad Stern speaks on ‘Is it
racist to think the Jews are the
chosen people?’ R10

Wynberg 12 Gilad Stern (topic above) R10

Sea Point 28 Gilad Stern (topic above) R10

SHABBAT SUPPER 21 June Shabbat Supper in Sea Point at our Centre R80 for members R100 non-members. Booking Essential 

OT AZEY Sea Point. 2-4 September with special guest presenter Shane Baker from New York. Booking Essential.


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