A year after her mother’s death from dementia-related causes, Nancy Epstein enrolled in JFCS' Palliative and End of Life Care training through the agency’s Seniors At Home division, which prepares lay people to offer practical, emotional, and spiritual support to clients with chronic or life-limiting conditions.
Volunteering in this program has been nothing short of life-transforming.
Of her relationship with her client, 86-year-old Anna, a Holocaust survivor with Alzheimer’s disease, Nancy says, "She lives in a world with two time frames: this moment and a very painful long-ago past. I get to be with her in the moment, which is joyful for both of us, And, I honor her by hearing her versions of the past. I'm learning every second I'm with her.
"For me," Nancy continues, "the real gift is that this is my 'do-over.' I get to do for Anna what i couldn't do for my own mother."
Nancy has been so moved by her volunteer work that she recently created an endowment at JFCS to benefit the Palliative / End of Life Care program. “If social services exist to provide quality of life for clients, being witnessed at the end of life or when in transition is as important as food and shelter," says Nancy. "It's imperative that people have companionship at the end of life."
Rachel Kesselman, Director of Volunteer Services; 415-449-1288;