People Are Grieving. It’s Our Job to Help.

By Mauri Malka, Senior Director of Programs

I want to give you a snapshot of what Jewish Family & Career Services clients are experiencing as they navigate through these new and uncertain times.

People are grieving — grieving the loss of social contact, grieving the loss of general safety, grieving the certainty they knew. Our job has been to help them build their tolerance to manage these losses.

Refugees and immigrants are fearful on two fronts. Some are terrified because they don’t want to go to work due to health concerns but feel they must to retain their jobs. Others are terrified because they have lost their jobs and now live with uncertainty about their future.

We are noticing a significant increase of anxiety with our older adult clients. They are in a higher risk population. There is a lot of fear about catching the virus and their loved ones catching the virus. There are fears of the economic impact and coping with confinement. As one client told her counselor, “I am going stir crazy not being able to get out of my apartment.”

For our oldest clients — especially our Jewish elders — this experience is triggering trauma memories from World War II: shortages of food and supplies; persistent feelings of being unsafe; fear of potential loss of loved ones; facing an uncontrollable, pervasive enemy.

Caregivers are feeling stress about visiting prohibitions and not seeing loved ones in nursing homes or assisted living situations. Others are finding themselves more isolated than before, without normal outlets for self-care and time away. Some caregivers have been forced to have older family members move in with them to adequately monitor their care.

Our counseling clients are also experiencing an increase in anxiety, uncertainty about the future, fear for economic stability, health concerns for themselves and family members. One client said, “The virus has made me think about my life, what it means to get older, to get sick and to be alone.”

One of our family strengthening clients was set to get a housing voucher before COVID hit. The search for housing has stalled, and this single mom with teenagers is forced to remain in a shelter. She is doing her best to keep the teenagers busy with activities, stay on top of their school work and keep them safe from the virus.

People are grieving. It’s our job to help.

  • If you or someone you know needs help, please contact us: 502-452-6341 x 153
  • Learn more about group conversations for mutual support.
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