On a snowy winter’s day an elderly man arrived shaking at our Senior Care Centre. With his little remaining strength, he raised his finger to the buzzer to call for help. Our staff took one look at Ivan, a Holocaust survivor, and immediately rushed him inside. “I need hot soup and warm blankets NOW!”, cried Mila who is in charge of the centre. Our staff frantically replaced his cold, wet clothing with hot blankets.

Tears rolled down Ivan’s face as he revealed the love of his life, his wife and best friend of 49 years, recently died.

“I decided to give up and end my life so that I could be with my darling Olga”, says Ivan. “I have lain in my bed for two days, without eating or sleeping much. This morning as I grew weaker, I recalled the words that she told me to carry forever with me in my heart. She said, ‘Our love is the strongest bond that two could ever have. I will always be with you, every day and every night. Just think of me and I will be there…’.”

These loving words motivated Ivan to use all his remaining strength to come to our Senior Care Centre for help.

Nine months later, Ivan is a different man. Every day at our centre he eats healthy meals, works with our psychologists, participates in classes and is reconnecting to his Jewish heritage. We can’t replace the loss in Ivan’s life, but we can keep him healthy, feeling loved and needed.

In one of our art therapy classes, Ivan learned how to make paper flowers. Upon finishing his flower, the teacher asked, “Who is the flower for?” Ivan replied quietly,

“For my wife… she would have loved it.”

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