CareOne Teaneck: A Kosher Option for Quality Therapy and Nursing
Thursday, August 15, 2015
By: Ilan Brownstein
Every child wants the best for their parents. Especially when parents start to reach a point in their health when they need extra care and more frequent assistance, children want to ensure that their parents will be taken care of in a safe and comfortable environment. However, because nursing homes are often associated with hospitals, with cramped quarters, little freedom, mediocre food and minimal attention, children rarely want to put their parents in one.
However, just down Teaneck Road, CareOne Teaneck breaks all the preconceived stereotypes and assumptions one might have about a nursing home. Out of the 29 CareOne nursing facilities throughout New Jersey, CareOne Teaneck is the only fully kosher and Shomer Shabbos branch, making it a convenient and reliable way to guarantee your loved ones will receive the support they need in the later years of their lives.
CareOne Teaneck is not an average nursing home. When you walk through its lush courtyards, spacious bedrooms, a restaurant-style dining room and modern living accommodations for 128 residents, it’s clear that CareOne goes above and beyond ordinary health care centers.
“We don’t want them to feel like they are in a hospital; we want them to feel like they are in a hotel,” explains Jessica Hoffman, a Teaneck local who serves as CareOne Teaneck’s assistant administrator and Jewish-community liaison.
A lot of resources, time and attention are put into making sure that every patient is comfortable at CareOne. They are constantly renovating, fixing and improving the building. “When you take the money to make it a nicer environment, they can tell and will appreciate it,” says Hoffman.
Beyond the facility itself, the staff of CareOne Teaneck give exceptional care and attention to every patient who walks through the doors. One of the ways they monitor their patients is by doing “walking rounds,” where department heads check in with every single patient, to make sure they are doing OK and if anything can be done to make their stay more comfortable. “It’s a family, and we care about each other, our patients and their families,” says administrator Jean Monnecka.
Another aspect of CareOne Teaneck that is unique from other nursing homes is its specialized short-term care, helping residents recover from surgery or physical trauma. Monnecka explains how CareOne’s physical therapists work to recreate real-life situations that the patients might find themselves in once they recover from their injury. “CareOne sets goals to ensure discharge is safe and patients are prepared once they return to their homes,” she says.
Often, an accident or injury will leave patients needing to re-learn “functional maintenance,” like getting in and out of a car, or opening and closing windows and doors. It’s not uncommon to see a mock-grocery store set up in the physical therapy room, put together to help a person in rehab rebuild their ability to take items off a supermarket shelf and put them into a cart. Other examples of recreating life experiences would be re-teaching a patient how to care for a pet, cook and clean. This experiential therapy really prepares those in rehab for the next step in their recovery. “We focus on function or life skills for home,” says Monnecka.
Even with its beautiful facilities, a caring staff, a thorough physical therapy program and personalized elder care, a truly distinguishing feature is CareOne Teaneck’s appeal to the Jewish community. As a glatt kosher and Shomer Shabbos location, many come specifically to this CareOne branch because of the convenience of living in a Jewish environment where all of a patient’s religious needs are taken care of.
As the owners of the CareOne facilities, the Straus family, a religious Jewish family from Englewood, felt that it was important to have one home open and welcoming to the needs of the Jewish community.
With daily minyanim in CareOne’s synagogue, a mezuzah on every doorway, Glatt kosher food, weekly Shabbos services and Kiddush and special programming for every Jewish holiday, CareOne attracts many people who are looking for a warm and comfortable Jewish environment, which simply does not exist at a non-Jewish nursing home. “There are even people here who aren’t strictly kosher, but still come because they appreciate the Jewish atmosphere,” explains Hoffman.
On Shabbos, residents’ families are invited to spend Shabbos with their family members in the facility. Hoffman feels that more people in the community should take advantage of the nursing facility right in the neighborhood, instead of having their parents stay in a home in an entirely different city. “Visit your mom on Shabbos,” she says. “Walk over, it’s that close!”
Serving as an administrator and Jewish community liaison for the past two months, Hoffman has recognized how important the surrounding Jewish community is for CareOne, and similarly how important CareOne is to the local Jewish community. CareOne has not only been the home to special occasions like bar mitzvahs and bris milahs, but also many schools have come to help celebrate holidays throughout the year with the CareOne residents. RYNJ, Yeshivat Noam, TABC, Mayanot and local daycares are some of the schools which have visited CareOne. Monnecka explains that CareOne does something special for every holiday. “During Sukkos there is big sukkah outside, and kids from the area come and decorate it,” she says.
Both Monnecka and Hoffman hope that more Bergen County residents will recognize the convenience and comfort in having a nursing facility so close to home, and are excited to see CareOne Teaneck continue to be a vital and important part of the Jewish community.