Hina is a petite, tremendously resilient 92-year-old Japanese woman, who came to the United States after marrying an American Army serviceman following World War II. After her husband passed away, she continued to maintain a happy, modest living in South Florida, working the same blue-collar job for nearly 50 years. She lives alone and loves tending to her flower beds and small vegetable garden.

Unfortunately, scammers took advantage of Hina’s open, friendly, and caring personality, exploiting her financially, and eventually draining her life savings. A close friend of Hina’s called 211, who then referred her to Alpert Jewish Family Service. After some discussion, Hina agreed to become a voluntary ward of the Alpert JFS Guardianship Program. Still court-appointed, the program only manages her finances and personal property.

“We manage her expenses, and she receives an allowance. The ultimate goal is to make sure she is in good financial shape to pay her rent, and other bills, so she can continue to live within her means,” says Pam Wiener, RG, Ph.D., who directs the Guardianship Program at Alpert JFS. “We can provide case management services if she requests them.”

When Hina’s landlord attempted to double her rent recently, Alpert JFS stepped in to help negotiate a rent increase that she could afford.

Currently, Guardianship Program staff are helping Hina realize a dream of hers—to travel to Japan to visit her younger brother. They are the last living siblings of their family of eight children, and she would like to see him before either of them passes.

Hina’s amazing love of life inspires Pam and her team. “She’s fiercely independent, gracious, and has such a great outlook on life. It’s something we should all aspire to.”

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