HomeMay 2011Lives Well Lived

Lives Well Lived

Since 1998 Bubbe & Zayde’s Place has been caring for both the soul and the body of its senior residents in Orange County.  The Santa Ana senior assisted living community, which has five houses, keeps tracks of residents’ medical issues while addressing their need for social, intellectual and spiritual attention as well.

Unlike other larger care facilities, residents maintain their own independence at Bubbe & Zayde’s Place.  With only six residents per house, seniors can keep their own schedules, habits, and routines – while receiving the individual attention and support they require.

“We believe that all seniors should be treated with love, respect and dignity,” said Bonnie Curkin, who had 18 years of prior experience in the healthcare field when she started Bubbe & Zayde’s Place.  “We combine Jewish culture and tradition with premiere senior services in a family setting that our residents call home.”

Bubbe & Zayde’s Place has two live-in caregivers, a nurse on call around the clock and doctors who visit to address healthcare needs.  While Bubbe & Zayde’s Place is a non-medical facility, there are in-home medical services including: podiatry, mobile x-ray and laboratory, medication supervision and regular doctor visits.  There is also a dementia waiver and a hospice waiver, so that residents can live at Bubbe & Zayde’s for as long as they wish.

Residents stay as active as possible.  Bubbe & Zayde’s offers Sunday barbeques, and volunteers participate in singing, crafts and maintenance activities.  Every week there are trips to a local restaurant, music and physical therapy and Beauty Day.

Residents enjoy in-room and on-site amenities designed to help them feel at home.  There are full kitchens with resident involvement in cooking, garden patios and a secure setting with private and shared rooms in which personal belongings are welcomed.  In addition there is on-site laundry.

Residents celebrate Shabbat and Jewish holidays.  In addition to having visitors who lead Sabbath and holidays services in a well-appointed on-site synagogue, the residents have been attending services on the second day of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur afternoon at nearby Temple Beth Sholom.  There are history and discussion groups and intergenerational programs.  All meals are kosher, and Jewish customs and rituals are observed.  Incorporated into all facets of the home, the emphasis on faith enables residents to preserve their identity of Jewish spirituality and culture.  Bubbe & Zayde’s Place gives residents the continuity to continue and strengthen their faith.

Curkin concluded, “As loved ones age, their needs change. Some needs, however, remain constant.  A sense of independence is one – a sense of belonging within their own community, another.  We strive to make life at Bubbe & Zayde’s Place no different than life as before.”

In 2005 Curkin’s daughter and her husband opened Bubbe & Zayde’s Place in Los Angeles.  As the Yiddish expression goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

For more information, please call:

Bonnie Curkin / Orange County
(714) 928-5030

Mettia Cagan / Los Angeles
(310) 415-8033


A Tribute to Eli Litsky

Just a few short months ago, in November, Holocaust survivor and Bubbe & Zayde’s resident Eli Litsky, was feted at an event hosted by Chabad of Irvine when he turned 100.  Nearly 200 people from all walks of Judaism turned out to celebrate the big birthday of the small white-haired man with the vibrant blue-gray eyes and the heavy Polish accent.

In paying tribute to Litsky, people commented on how much he had withstood and how ironic it was that he had long outlived the people who tormented him.  He survived Auschwitz, losing his wife and infant son, withstanding brutal beatings and nearly starving to death, weighing only 70 pounds at one point.  He lived through a death march to Mauthausen, eventually got liberated and went back to his hometown, only to find that nobody in his family had survived.  Eventually, Litsky emigrated to the U.S., settling in the Bronx, getting married and having a daughter.

Litsky was in his element, thoroughly enjoying every moment of his big occasion.  He sang, danced, drank a toast with Scotch, blew kisses and embraced everyone who came to share the occasion with him – including this writer.  He offered a prayer in Yiddish, “May we all come together again next year.”

But it was not to be.  Eli Litsky, who davened daily with his Art Scroll siddur, who remained alert and vital until the end, who charmed everyone he met, died in March.  The world has lost a truly remarkable human being.

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