Bookmark and Share

Ethel Freedman’s secret to long life? Her grandson says “Golda Meir House”

Posted: March 16, 2012

Ethel Freedman at 100 (photo credit: Michael J. Lutch)

In mid February, Ethel Freedman celebrated her 100th birthday. Her family planned a special party and included her six closest friends.  Ethel’s cherished relationship with five of these women was formed at Golda Meir House. Although Ethel no longer lives at Golda (after 14 years, when she was 97, Ethel moved to a nursing facility), the connection remains strong. So strong in fact that Ethel’s grandson Michael and his wife Nia made it a priority to pick up Natalie, Judy, Pat, Gertie and Fay at Golda the morning of the party and escort them 40 minutes west to Ethel’s current residence.

The party was wonderful. While enjoying cake, Ethel’s family and friends toasted her and roasted her.  The adjectives that were used repeatedly to describe her included kind, caring, good humored and wise.

The occasion gave Michael the opportunity to reflect on his grandmother’s life. What stands out as most significant is Ethel’s experience at Golda Meir House.

“My grandmother moved to Golda when she was in her early 80s. She was still managing well on her own, but when the unit became available, she decided not to pass it up. It was the best decision of her life,” said Michael.

“It made me think about the choices people make in their later years,” he continued. “If you stay in your own home past the point when you can manage by yourself, you run the risk of becoming very isolated and very lonely. You can go downhill quickly.”

Michael’s grandmother experience, however, could not be more different. Her life became fuller after moving to JCHE. “My grandmother had a great quality of life. She was engaged in programs that strengthened her mentally and physically.”

Michael believes that even though Ethel no longer lives at JCHE, its impact is still strong. “My grandmother had the good fortune to celebrate her 100th birthday because she had so many happy years at Golda. Throughout her life, it’s the friendships and community that she has most valued. She found each of these at Golda. In her 80s and 90s, my grandmother flourished.”

When asked whether Ethel still thinks about Golda, Michael is quick to answer. “Oh yes. On days when she isn’t feeling well, she’ll often announce that she is heading back to Golda. It was a time that she remembers fondly.”


Guests at Ethel's party (back row left to right) Judy Jelson, Natalie Chase, Gertie Epstein, Fay Gorfinkle. (front row left to right): Pat Cohen, Virginia, Ethel Freedman.  Photo credit: Michael J. Lutch

Go back

Add a comment

Comment by peal herrmann | 06/15/2012

dear ehtel, congratulations on your 100
bithday, and each day following.
you are a source of some of my fondestt
hope you keep well
fondly pearl