New challenges bring change and opportunity

I’m delighted to have this chance to welcome you to my blog! I hope to share news about what’s happening at ASEB, keep you abreast of developments in elder care, and tell you about developments in the state and local government as it relates to caring for people with dementia. In particular, I want to let you know how we at ASEB affect people’s lives every day. I’m passionate about my work. I believe that what we do here at ASEB is of vital importance. My beliefs and values are not only professional, they’re deeply personal.

I grew up in the Bronx, in a neighborhood where it was a given that we were all responsible for each other. As children, we were responsible for the seniors around us. Any opportunity we had to serve them, to show them how much we honored them, to demonstrate how respectful we were of them, well—we knew we’d better not let that opportunity slip by. If the sidewalk in front of their houses needed shoveling, we did it without question. If my mother saw an elderly neighbor coming down the street with groceries, she sent us out to carry them. We helped the older members of our community up the stairs. We listened when they spoke. We were proud of our job, which was to make their lives easier for them.

Mural of tiles created by adult day health care participants
welcomes visitors to our Berkeley Center

These attitudes still inform my view of the world and my place in it. Sitting around the beauty parlor listening to my grandmother and her friends talk about their wealth of experience enriched my own life. It taught me that my journey would have been a lot harder if they hadn’t cleared the way for me. The reverence I have for elders goes beyond my professional knowledge about aging to what I learned in those New York brownstones. I am my brother’s keeper. We must take care of those who are less able than ourselves. People are not disposable. We are responsible for them. It is our job to make them as happy and comfortable as we can. I want my children to understand that they won’t be young forever. I try to teach them that we are not in this world alone, that we all want and need someone to care for us. The responsibility is ours.

This is a particularly challenging time—for our country, our communities, our neighborhoods, certainly for our seniors, and crucially for ASEB. The California state government has voted to eliminate adult day health care as we know it, and to replace it with a program yet to be defined with only half the current funding. But as the Executive Director of ASEB, I intend to embrace challenge and turn it into change. And from change will come innovation. This is our opportunity to turn ASEB upside down, to really look at the needs of our people and to create a model that fits exactly what they need within the financial parameters of what we’ve been given. I believe there are untapped resources for us to explore. I believe that there are creative ways to address our shortfalls. I believe in the spirit of innovation and the power of dedication to achieve our goals. But we need your help.

Since 1989 we have found ways to stay afloat so that we can give individuals with Alzheimer’s the services they so desperately need. But as number of people needing our help continues to grow and the funds we receive continue to diminish, we are reaching out to our community for support. Please give so that we can allot scholarships to people who can’t afford care on their own. So that we can continue to provide more than 63,000 nutritious meals and snacks a year, more than 34,000 van rides, more than 100 support groups sessions, and—perhaps most important of all—a safe, caring environment for people who rely on us for their well-being.

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