After 274 years, we have no other choice

Jewish Choice residents (Via Jewish News)
Jewish Choice residents (Via Jewish News)

When you’re part of the Jewish Choice family, it’s an inspiring environment to come in to. You’ll experience the extraordinary care for residents, the close interaction with relatives and the sound of music or activities filling the lounges.  

Those who work here have built up the utmost empathy and respect for residents. They don’t just imagine walking in their shoes, but experience their daily lives alongside them, always remembering they have not only lived lives well, but have some living well yet to be done. 

This is the backdrop to the care and compassion that have always been at a constantly high level at Jewish Choice and
for which the charity is well known. 

So it has been all the more galling to deliver news of the home’s closure, later this year, to relatives of residents and to tenants in the independent living apartments. 

It’s a cruel irony that the charity has provided choice for those cared for throughout its rich history, but now, after 274 years of uninterrupted care for the community as an independent charity, circumstances have dictated that it’s been given little choice but to prepare to close. 

While Jewish Choice has been Covid-free since March of last year, the knock-
on effect of the pandemic has had such an impact on the charity’s finances that it is no longer viable. 

In the wider community, there is an understandable reluctance for relatives to place their loved ones in a care home during the pandemic and, in common with many other elderly care facilities, there have become too many vacant rooms. Compounding this, the Jewish Choice building in Wembley is more than 50 years old, with repairs increasingly becoming a drain on reserves. 

The reaction of relatives has naturally been one of shock and sadness but, equally, there have been many plaudits similar to: “You’ve set the bar so high, it’ll be difficult to find comparable care.” 

There’s been a similar reaction from staff. Jewish Choice has retained its unique atmosphere, not least by not using agency carers. Many have been employed for decades, so emotionally the impact will be immeasurable as they say goodbye to residents in the coming months. The personnel are a part of the Jewish Choice family and many feel privileged to be considered part of residents’ families, too, such is the deeper level at which they have also got to know them. So, the closure will be hard felt by all. 

Nevertheless, no one is being asked to leave immediately. It is anticipated that the doors of Jewish Choice will close for the final time this autumn. So, in continuing to provide best advice to families, the charity is recommending they take this time to find the home that is right for their loved ones. 

At the very least, it is advised that residents stay at Jewish Choice until they have a second dose of the vaccine and until lockdown is lifted. 

In this way, residents can be thoroughly supported in their move, with the charity’s minibus transporting them, accompanied by a Jewish Choice carer who, when there are no longer Covid restrictions, can take them into their new home, stay with them for a few hours to make sure they are supported by a friendly, familiar face and they settle in. 

Because at Jewish Choice, all we’ve ever wanted for our residents is to be settled, to
be cared for and to live their lives well.

About the Author
Paul Weinstein is head of Marketing and Communications for Jewish Choice, a social care home in London
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