Dr. Andrew Kaufman has made his living using his hands to fix people’s brains, often saving their lives.
As a skilled neurosurgeon, he uses those same human tools to help older adults as a volunteer for Jewish Family Services Help@Home program.
Help@Home is designed to keep older adults living independently in their own homes with a little bit of assistance from volunteers to do minor chores and repairs. These volunteers also help with computer use issues.
Dr. Kaufman is among a cadre of volunteers who help others when it fits his schedule – and he loves the work.
“I find it immensely rewarding to help people,” he said. “I’ve always been handy and can fix just about anything. I get a real kick out of fixing something and seeing it work again.”
Dr. Kaufman first learned about the program from Zvi Feine of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee during a Kansas City visit. Help@Home is modeled after a similar JDC program in Israel. Kaufman and Feine knew each other through a JDC medical program the doctor is involved with in Ethiopia.
“We were chatting and I mentioned that my fantasy was to do repairs for elderly people,” Dr. Kaufman said. Knowing about the creation of JFS’ Help@Home, Feine hooked Dr. Kaufman up with JFS.
Once he went through Help@Home’s concise training, Dr. Kaufman started volunteering regularly. He’s fixed stuck doors and leaky faucets, moved furniture and repaired a toilet. “I’ll tackle almost anything – I like a challenge,” he said.
And it’s more than making repairs.
“I do chat with these folks,” he said. “I’ll tell them a little about my life and they tell me about theirs. It has a social aspect to it for some people.”’
Lending others a hand through Help@Home is convenient, too. Dr. Kaufman travels extensively, but when he’s home in Kansas City he’s able to volunteer through Help@Home.
“When I’m home it’s as often as once a week or every two to three weeks,” he said.
If you’re handy around the house or are computer savvy, Dr. Kaufman said hooking up with Help@Home provides the perfect volunteer opportunity.
“Anyone who does it would find it hugely rewarding, Dr. Kaufman said. “I think this is phenomenal and more people should use it.”
We salute Dr. Kaufman for his volunteer efforts.