Our response to COVID-19 >>

Malcolm Lazarus cuts ribbon for Willow Gardens at United Hebrew expansion.

Why I Serve, and Why Serving the Elderly Matters

by Malcolm Lazarus

As I approach the 40-year mark of my involvement with United Hebrew, I find myself reflecting on the journey that brought me to this point. It’s a path defined by a deep-seated commitment to serving the elderly in our community.

For nearly four decades, I have had the privilege of being a part of the United Hebrew family, serving as a volunteer and officer of the board of directors. It has been a journey marked by moments of joy, challenges, and above all, a profound sense of purpose.

The importance of the work we are doing at United Hebrew cannot be overstated. Together with my fellow board members, I have had the opportunity to shape the organization into what it is today—a model of excellence in senior care. From its humble beginnings as a home for the aged, United Hebrew has evolved into a model senior living community offering a full continuum of services and vibrant way of life. From short-term rehab and long-term skilled nursing to memory care, assisted living, and independent living, we strive to provide our residents with the dignity, respect, and quality of life they deserve.

This journey, however, isn’t just mine. It’s a call to action for all of us. The need for quality senior care is at an all-time high, and there’s no better time than now to consider how you can make a difference.

Too often, older adults are seen solely through the lens of their needs – healthcare, disability, or illness. But their wealth of experience and wisdom is a treasure we risk losing if we neglect them. Volunteering offers the chance to rewrite this narrative.

According to the results of a 2023 University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging, one in three older adults aged 50-80 reported feeling isolated and more than one in three reported feeling a lack of companionship. This highlights a significant need for social connection among seniors.

Imagine the impact of simply spending time with a resident, listening to their stories, and offering companionship. These seemingly small acts can make a world of difference, fostering a sense of connection and reminding them they’re valued members of our community.

Throughout the years, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the impact of dedicated service to our senior community. In 2020, my wife, Patricia, and I made a major gift in support of Willow Gardens at United Hebrew, our memory care residence dedicated exclusively to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. This gift was not just a financial contribution but a reaffirmation of our commitment to providing specialized care for those in need. My beloved late wife was not here to see the 2022 opening of this expanded community, which now stands as a beacon of our passion and support of those in need.

Yet, as we recognize the importance of our ongoing efforts, it’s crucial to remember that the task of caring for our elderly is not one borne solely by institutions like United Hebrew. It’s a responsibility shared by all members of our community.

As we honor National Volunteer Week, I urge each of you to consider how you can contribute to the well-being of our elderly population. Let’s celebrate our elders by dedicating some of ourselves to them. Contact your local senior center, nursing home, or assisted living community. There’s a place for you, and the impact you can make will resonate for years to come.

Let us seize this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to serving the elderly and ensuring that they are seen, heard, and valued as integral members of our community. Together, we can create a future where every individual, regardless of age, can age with grace, dignity, and the support they deserve.

Malcolm Lazarus (seen cutting ribbon in photo) has been a dedicated supporter of United Hebrew for nearly 40 years, serving as chair of the board five times and completing subsequent stints as senior chair of the board.