Volunteer of the Month: Abby Rosenthal
Abby Rosenthal’s career has taken her to many places. The native New Yorker has lived in various cities across the country and worked for prestigious organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control, City of Detroit Health Department and the University of Michigan. Before beginning a career in public health, Abby was a physical therapist and had the opportunity to work closely with older adults. She also was a caregiver for both of her parents as they were aging and used her professional knowledge to provide them with the best possible care. When she decided to retire two and a half years ago, she knew she wanted to make sure her expertise would be put to good use. Once she heard about Aviv Older Adult Services – Tools for Aging, she gave JF&CS a call to find out how she could become involved.
“My mission is to improve the lives of older adults,” Abby said. “The aging population is going to more than double in the next 15 years, which is helpful for service providers to understand as they develop policy for older adults. A lot of what we are trying to do is keep people healthy.”
This has meant working with Connie White, Director of Tools for Aging, to look at program outcomes and provide guidance on how to design more measurable outcomes both quantitatively and qualitatively. Abby also is exploring simple health and nutrition guidelines that can be shared with all clients who receive services in Tools for Aging. Her interest and knowledge in public health led her to develop a presentationfor the Aviv Advisory Committee to educate the members about statistical data on aging and morbidity. The committee members listened enthusiastically to information on the high number of chronic diseases Americans have and the need to educate older adults on simple ways they can improve their health. For example, are they getting all of their immunizations? Abby even arranged to bring in a speaker to talk with the committee about how older adults can best prepare for emergencies, like having a supply kit on hand during severe weather.
“When Abby approached us about volunteering, she said, ‘I don’t want to file. I want to use my skill set to best help older adults,” said Connie. “She wants all of the knowledge she has accumulated throughout the years to be used in the best possible way.”
To Abby, this means her public health experience in older adult care ultimately will benefit the population as a whole. “By keeping people healthy, the period of morbidity is considerably shortened. This means we will be able to be in a place where people are healthy and can contribute to society.”
For more information on volunteering with these programs, please contact 770.677.9448 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.