Making an Impact: Elderly Russian-Speaking Couple Find the Help They Need

In the Making an Impact series, clients and services are featured to expand awareness of the wide array of help available at JFS and to ensure donors understand the lives they touch and the difference they make throughout the community. Names have been changed to protect privacy.

Elderly married couple Tanya and Michael came to JFS recently as new clients. They had an assessment completed previously with the county, but there was no follow through and they were not placed on an elderly waiver and no services were put in place, making the initial assessment void. Unfortunately, this happens with county government and other agencies.

The JFS case worker completed her initial assessment. Tanya and Michael are new to the community without any support. They speak only Russian. They have one daughter who was helping them interpret mail and forms, but she recently had a baby and was focused on caring for her infant.

Tanya and Michael presented with many concerns. They both deal with spinal pain that limits their range of motion and hinders their ability to complete daily tasks at home. They both described significant depression and isolation. Michael reported that his depression causes him to become withdrawn and apathetic. During a recent grocery shopping trip, they were unable to understand the price of an item and created a great deal of confusion with the clerk. They were embarrassed and ashamed of their inability to understand English which only reinforced their isolation.

The case worker opened their elderly waiver and set up several services including daily help with housekeeping, cooking and translating mail. The case worker also recommended several Russian adult day centers that offer meals, exercise and interaction with others from their culture to address their isolation. They were both so excited about the prospect of making friends and connection with people in their community who speak their language.

After just one assessment with JFS, Michael and Tanya now have a Russian speaking personal care aide who helps them at home. They both attend an adult day center with other Russian-speaking seniors.

JFS uses a client centered approach with each client and offers help at the micro, mezzo and macro level, addressing physical and mental health and community engagement. Michael recently told the case worker that they are both doing so well. He loves the food at the center. He ended the call by enthusiastically saying in broken English, “We appreciate you!”