Las Vegas Senior Lifeline - Senior Spotlight
By Angela Budavari, Director Las Vegas Senior Lifeline
Las Vegas Senior Lifeline, a program sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, provides compassionate care and case management services to more than 400 low-income senior adults in our community. Senior Lifeline’s commitment is to help our senior adult clients “age in place” by remaining in their own homes and living independent lives. Senior Lifeline services include homemaker services, prescription assistance, transportation, Meals on Wheels, durable medical goods and other supportive measures.
Angela Budavari, Director of Las Vegas Senior Lifeline, writes about one of our precious “family members” who is a client of the program.
I’d like to introduce you to Connie. She’s a 70 year old woman who’s been a grateful recipient of Las Vegas Senior Lifeline services since the fall of 2012. Connie read about our agency in a senior guide and contacted us because she needed help getting to doctor appointments. She has a daughter and family in Las Vegas; but they work and she doesn’t want to be a bother to them. This is a story we hear often as the majority of our senior adult clients express the same concern. Connie however, is not like the majority.
Whenever we receive a donation to Las Vegas Senior Lifeline I welcome the opportunity to write a thank you letter to our donors. The note is a reminder of how important our services are to those who invest in our community as well as those we serve. With the generous help of donors we provide compassionate care that changes lives to the Greatest Generation and aging Baby Boomers; a group who are often ignored in today’s fast paced, technological age.
I realized that when I received Connie’s donation it came from a different place I’m not used to acknowledging. I felt a tug on my heart strings that opened feelings of admiration and inquisition. How can this little lady give us a $2donation from her meager Social Security check? How can she afford it? Why was she doing this? My administrative tendencies kicked in and I questioned her understanding of our policy with the hope she understood that our services are not based upon her ability to give to our organization. Eventually, it hit me. Connie gives because she wants to give back; even if it’s a humble donation to the Jewish Federation.
I realize that a regular thank you letter won’t do. I need to talk to this woman. I wanted the privilege of knowing her and what led her to contribute. Each of our donors sacrifices a portion of their hard money for a reason dear to their heart. So what was Connie’s?
Connie shared with me that she gives because her “heart leads her to do so.” This may seem like a typical response but it’s not for our target client population. Plain and simple, we work with senior adults who live in poverty. Las Vegas Senior Lifeline is accustomed to getting letters of gratitude, hugs of appreciation, and calls of recognition from clients, but rarely a check. So why did Connie decide that this small gesture was necessary?
Connie says she was raised by a “business minded mother” who emphasized giving back and not taking too much. Her mother was heavily involved in politics and she remembers going to the Jewish Home with her in Squirrel Hill, outside of Pittsburgh. Though they weren’t Jewish, her parents taught her to value and respect all people. Connie’s father served in World War II and shared his experiences with his daughter about the Holocaust. Connie is very aware of the persecution the Jewish people still suffer today. She admits not understanding why such cruelties still take place and feels it’s imperative, more than ever, to continue to support the Federation and Jewish people around the world with her donation.
“There are people overseas who have even less than I do. I hope people continue to contribute because people are still being persecuted and it takes more money to help our brothers and sisters. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t gamble and I don’t waste my money. I give because I get a warm feeling inside when I do; it comes from the heart. It has to come from the heart.”
I am very appreciative for Connie’s heart and all the other hearts who give to the Jewish Federation which supports Las Vegas Senior Lifeline. We are only able to do the work we do for our needy seniors because of the warm feeling they get inside knowing their dollars go to a worthy cause.
Las Vegas Senior Lifeline (LVSL) is a non-denominational program of the Jewish Federation, established in 2004 to provide resources and services for frail, low-income seniors age 60 and over. Las Vegas Senior Lifeline enables clients to "age in place", living independently in their own homes, rather than being forced into costly state funded institutional care. If you or anyone you know is in need of assistance contact our office at (702) 933-1191 or email Angela Budavari at Angela@Jewishlasvegas.com.