Who doesn’t love those videos of silver-haired, wizened old folks running marathons and lifting weights? I think they appeal to that part of us that is in denial about our own aging prospects—and besides, don’t we all aspire to be among those select non-aging nonagenarians?!
Genes notwithstanding, no one knows what lies in store for them in the future. And whether you belong to the elite club of golden agers or are close to anyone in this category, the introspection that generally accompanies the new year takes on a greater sense of urgency as we prepare for our second Rosh Hashanah under the cloud of COVID.
Mira McEwan, a geriatric nurse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was dismayed by the effects of COVID-19 on her patients, many of whom had been living independently at the onset of the pandemic. “In my work, I observe firsthand the importance of community support within the older adult population. Following the enforcement of COVID restrictions and the loneliness that it caused, I saw many seniors languish. Lacking a framework, their nutrition, mobility and cognitive ability suffered irrevocably.”
Here in Israel, older members of the Anglo community are expressing interest in a unique concept for senior living in the Greater Jerusalem area, called Beresheet.
“Longer life expectancy and the desire to do something meaningful after retirement have created a new generation of seniors who wish to make the most of the present, yet still want security for the future,” said founder Avi Lichak.
“Our idea was to create a safe environment for residents to enjoy an unmatched quality of life as they pursue the interests and hobbies that they love or that they always dreamed of—all on their own terms.With an array of trips and social and cultural events to choose from, everyone will be able to find their niche, in the manner that suits them best,” he said.
According to McEwan, “Older people really like to be with their peers. A senior community environment can provide the stimulation and positive environment that they would otherwise not have in an independent setting.”
Beresheet’s luxury apartments are situated in a sprawling, 4.5-acre forested campus. Surrounded by greenery and adjacent to an archeological park and nature reserve, it is not only a feast for the eyes and spirit; it’s a walker’s paradise. The feeling is decidedly rural, although in true Israeli style, it is just minutes away from the bustling center of Jerusalem.
Behind Beresheet’s revolutionary concept is Avi Lichak and his siblings. The owners of a chain of nursing homes with a sterling reputation, these three brothers and one sister are not your typical entrepreneurs. “When our mother became widowed at a young age, she supported us by working as a cook in an old age home, which became our second home. Years later, when our mother declined, we were unable to find accommodations that met our standards. That was when we decided to open our own facility, and since then, we’ve been catering to the senior population with the same care and devotion that we wanted for our own mother.”
With occupancy slated for August 2023, the Lichaks invite Anglo seniors to join at the founding stage and enjoy the best years of their lives.