A strong love of the arts – specifically theater – has carried through much of David Feldman’s life. The Syracuse man was once an Artistic Director and Producer at Armory Square Playhouse and Contemporary Theatre of Syracuse; his plays have been produced throughout the country. He is a professor emeritus at Onondaga Community College, a hospice volunteer and leads a Writer’s Workshop at the YMCA. As if that’s not enough to keep his dance card filled, Feldman travels extensively throughout the United States. Being active is important to this man, but he recently began to reflect on his situation. He has no family in the area.
“Most of us have raised families, had our jobs, done the things we had to do and all of those meant you had a degree of control over what you are doing the next day or week or month,” he says. “But as you get older, your choices get limited. You don’t want to drive outside in the winter and do some things that may not have bothered you years ago, but don’t appeal to you now.”
After witnessing a friend’s health problems, Feldman realized that something could easily go wrong.
“I know it doesn’t take a whole lot to fall and break a hip and all of a sudden, you find yourself in a place you don’t want…a rehab or a hospital and there’s no one there who knows you, who can tell you what’s going on. Often enough you can just end up going downhill,” he explains. “Before I get into a situation where other people are making decisions for me, I want to put myself in the position where I am making decisions for myself.”
So, Feldman joined Franciscan Companies’ Embracing Age program. He was assigned an Elder Life Specialist upon his initial meeting. She assessed his home for possible safety issues, made recommendations and referred Feldman to a professional contractor to make home improvements.
“As you get older, you want to be in control of your life. Sometimes everybody else wants to be in control of your life but you want to be able to make decisions for yourself,” he says. “To know there’s an organization that I can count on that will take care of things and make it easier to stay in my house longer is a wonderful thing. It gives me a sense of independence.”
Although Feldman gets around just fine now, he was curious about Lifeline, the medical alert system that alerts a caregiver if the user falls. His Elder Life Specialist arranged for him to meet with a representative of Franciscan Lifeline so Feldman could learn about it for future use.
“There are a lot of single agencies that do one or two things, but there is no one agency like Embracing Age that does a whole lot of things,” he says.
Not only does Feldman appreciate having a personal relationship with someone who can help him, Embracing Ages reassures his daughter.
“My daughter lives in LA there’s only so much I can ask her to do from 2,000 miles away. I’ve talked to her about Embracing Age and she’s reassured knowing the organization is here to help,” he says. “I have friends in the area but you don’t want to call up your friends for everything you need.”
To read more of Feldman’s story, visit www.EmbracingAge.org/David or call Embracing Age at 855-My-HELP-2.