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With the opening of Sosin Center for Rehabilitation and Michael’s Café last December, Project Transformation embarked on Phase II fundraising to expand the relationship-based small house model of care (The Green House) to JGS Lifecare’s long-term residents at the Leavitt Family Jewish Home. This past April, Phase II of our JGS Lifecare Project Transformation campaign received a wonderful endorsement with a $100,000 grant from the Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation.

Remarked Foundation President Bill Wagner, “The Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation was established in 2006 with a mission of supporting charitable causes that contribute to and enhance the quality of life for the people residing within the communities supported by the Foundation––with a particular interest in youth and elderly services. JGS has a history exceeding 100 years of providing exceptional care for the elderly in our communities. Over the years, we have witnessed JGS continually transform itself to respond to the changing needs of the elderly. We are extremely honored to be able to assist JGS Lifecare with its newest endeavor, to expand and enhance its facilities to further enhance the lives of elderly residing within our communities who suffer from dementia and other aging related health risks.”

On a site visit to Sosin Center this past May, Wagner was joined by James Hagan, Westfield Savings Bank President and CEO. They were impressed with what they saw and our commitment to help deinstitutionalize care for our elders.

Susan Kimball Halpern, vice president of Philanthropy, commented, “The Foundation’s commitment demonstrates its dedication to the elderly in our community. We are so grateful to the Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation for its generous support. It will help us deinstitutionalize and personalize the care we offer to our long-term residents who call JGS Lifecare their home.”

With last December’s opening of Sosin Center, we have had 10 months to implement this new model and experience its benefits. The outcomes have been impressive. We have witnessed a reduced length of stay, lower re-hospitalization rates, reduced medication use and more thorough returns to health. Resident and family satisfaction has been extremely high, due in large part to the person-centered, individualized approach to care and the opportunity to rehabilitate in an environment filled with camaraderie and the comforts of home.

As we turn to Phase II of Project Transformation, we will be presented with the challenge of renovating an aged building and working within an existing footprint. Although the Leavitt Home underwent significant renovations and upgrades in 1998 as a result of our Regeneration Campaign, the building is 45 years old and in need of significant mechanical and systems upgrades, structural enhancements and renovations. We have retained Phase Zero Architects to work with us to finalize our plans and help us implement our vision.

“As excited as we are about the very positive outcomes we are realizing in our Sosin Center for Rehabilitation, we are even more excited about extending the benefits of the person-centered approach of small house to our long-term residents at the nursing home,” commented Susan Kline, co-chair, Project Transformation. As people are living longer, we find that today’s nursing home resident is older and frailer and the great majority live with some form of dementia or memory impairment. This model is about knowing and treating the individual, and building personal relationships. It is about helping people live rich and rewarding lives.”

Project Transformation Capital Campaign

More than 175 supporters have contributed to the Project Transformation capital campaign. According to campaign chairs Stephen Krevalin and Susan Kline, over $9 million has been raised to date.

“The initial response is heartening,” said Krevalin. “It shows that many donors already understand the impact that our new facilities will have on quality of life.” Says Kline, “We’ve made great progress, but there remains much to be done and substantial funds to be raised to turn the ‘home,’ as it’s affectionately called, into a ‘Home,’ and we invite our community to join us as we transform and build JGS Lifecare for the future.”

Those interested in touring the Sosin Center or learning more about Project Transformation should contact Susan Kimball Halpern at 413-567-3949 ext. 1612 or shalpern@JGSLifecare.org.