Jewish Senior Living magazine   2016/2017


After hip replacement surgery in the fall of 2014, Toni Ann Secrest decided to check into the Jewish Home’s STARS (short-term and rehabilitation services) unit for rehabilitation. Although she is a practicing Catholic, she has always been interested in Judaism, so when she learned the Home was about to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, “that put me over the top,” Toni Ann recounts.

Toni Ann Secrest paid a visit to the Jewish Home (on her own two feet this time) to tout her stellar STARS team.

Last spring, during the Jewish Passover holidays, she returned to STARS for rehab after surgery on her left knee. And, according to the plan, she recovered in the STARS unit following surgery for her other knee, this time coinciding with the Jewish festival of Sukkot.

Jewish Senior Living connected with Toni Ann to find out about recovering and learning at the Jewish Home.

Why did you choose to do your rehab at the Jewish Home?

When I had my first surgery at St. Mary’s Medical Center, a friend there told me she’d heard good things about the STARS unit. As I live in Redwood City, I asked my Catholic friends in San Francisco what they knew about the Jewish Home and they raved about it. It has a good reputation. So I thought, I want to be there!

What was it like to participate in Jewish holiday celebrations?

I went to the on-site synagogue for Rosh Hashanah services in a wheelchair and I was wheeled right to the front. I was so touched when a resident came up to me and asked me if I wanted to wear a prayer shawl. It was thrilling to see the Ark of the Covenant and the scrolls being taken out of the ark. I’d wanted to see them my entire life. When the Jewish Home’s Rabbi Shelly Marder blew the shofar, it was electric. I also attended Shabbat services. Rabbi Marder is an incredible person. He taught us so much during each service and made me feel very welcome. It was marvelous for my soul, my heart, and my spirituality.

When I returned to STARS the second time during Passover, I was prepared to have unleavened bread. I was happily surprised to find out I didn’t have to give up dessert. They served unleavened ones!

What stood out about your care in the STARS unit?

My father was a cardiologist, so I have very high standards. My CNAs [certified nursing assistants] were just wonderful. They were compassionate, respectful, and professional. I always felt physically safe and well cared for. Even though they’re very busy, when a nurse gave me medicine, he or she would take the time to explain exactly what it was. The gyms are also wonderful. There are two on STARS, so if one was crowded I could use the other. I couldn’t have wanted more in medical care. I told my orthopedist she needs to recommend STARS to people.

Any final words?

I was so impressed with the hands-on care I received from the CNAs that I made a special gift to the Jewish Home, particularly to benefit them. I loved my “team.” They’re the people who helped me be where I am today.

Physical therapist Vanessa Garnett checks on Toni Ann’s progress.

A return stop at the synagogue and a private reading of the scrolls with the Home’s Rabbi Sheldon Marder.

Getting ready for a hug with certified nursing assistant Blanca Trinidad.

And in for the clinch with Juliana Damaso of environmental services.

Golf Tournament, Dinner and Auction
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Jewish Senior Living Magazine

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