An Extraordinary, Yet Ordinary Day at JAA

December 25, 2020

Every year since she became President & CEO of JAA, Debbie Winn-Horvitz performs rounds on Christmas Day.  Despite this being a year like no other, what Debbie experienced was what she calls “AN EXTRAORDINARY, YET ORDINARY DAY AT JAA”

Today is Christmas Day.  As I have done for the past nine years, I spend the day rounding, checking on staff and residents, and thanking all of our staff for being here, especially those who celebrate Christmas.

As I entered the building, I ran into Char who works in dietary and has been here a long time.  She was wearing a Santa hat and I thanked her for being here, and asked how her day was going.  Char proceeded to tell me that she got stuck coming into work this morning and her husband had to tow her out.  Another JAA employee came to pick her up and drive her to work.  She then told me she needed to be here because one of her twin brothers passed away yesterday and, if she stayed home, she would be crying all day.  AMAZING.

As I rounded on the Allderdice unit, I visited with a resident who started crying uncontrollably when she was talking about missing her family and not being able to see them.  I tried to console her as much as I could, but then in came Danielle from Housekeeping, who started talking to the resident who she referred to as her “friend Gerry,” and, while mopping her floor, was able to change the subject and calm her down.  AMAZING.

On Darlington wing, I ran into Barb, a CNA with 35 years of service to JAA.  Today is her last day – Barb is retiring.  She thanked me for the opportunity to work at JAA, told me some stories of how things were “in the old days” and then shared she would now be caring for her sick brother. AMAZING.

At Ahava Memory Care, two residents were visiting with each other in the living room; one very proudly pulled out a photo album of her new great-grandson, a beautiful baby.  We looked at each picture and she lovingly described in great detail who was in the picture and what was going on.  AMAZING.

While walking back to my office I ran into Sharyn Rubin, and we discussed the residents who had already moved from Charles Morris to new facilities.  Sharyn has been in touch with all of them and their families, trying to make sure things are going well, which, for the most part, they are.  While speaking with Sharyn, our Mollies Meals driver stopped by to tell Sharyn he was finished with his route.  He proudly shared with me he has four-wheel drive so he had no problem delivering our Mollies Meals on this snowy, winter day.  By the way, did I mention he is deaf?  AMAZING. 

Finally, I visited with one of our residents who was among our early COVID-positive cases.  This person had very few symptoms and is now fully recovered.  Just in time to celebrate a milestone birthday, 100 years!  AMAZING.

If I were to experience ANY one of these things, it would be impressive.  But all of this happened in just one typical day at JAA.  This place is quite simply, AMAZING.