JFS Perspectives

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Seidah Muhammad-Green: A Vision of Happiness and Joy

Seidah Muhammad-Green: A Vision of Happiness and Joy

Seidah Muhammad-Green is a longtime client of JFS’s Senior Solutions department. At 84 years old, she is completely blind. She has some additional health challenges and needs extra support to live safely and comfortably in her home. The support that JFS provides has been invaluable.

Seidah is a Muslim name that means happiness and joy. Her kind demeanor and quick wit exemplify the name. Everyone who meets her agrees: she is a joy to be around.

JFS first helped Seidah with kosher meals, which were delivered daily to her door. The agency has assisted her with navigating health care services and helped cover some medical bills that were more than she could afford on her fixed income. A homemaker also visits every two weeks and helps clean her apartment, change her sheets, organize her clothes, and whatever else she needs. “It’s an enormous help to me,” she says.

In addition, JFS has provided Seidah with a driver and Friendly Visitor volunteer, who takes her to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, and other errands. AmeriCorps member and JFS volunteer Maryann Touitou has developed a wonderful friendship with Seidah, who she calls a friend. “I’ve had four different Friendly Visitors over the years and all are beautiful people,” says Seidah. “I get around much better when others guide me, and all have been a huge help in that way.”

Seidah continues to work with her JFS care manager, Jillian Kelly, who first met with her in 2012 to assess her needs. Jillian quickly responded with a variety of support services. “Jillian is a lifeline,” declares Seidah. She’s a beautiful person who listens and is very understanding.”

Seidah Muhammed-GreenSeidah wasn’t born blind. Her vision started to deteriorate when she was a young woman and progressed over many years. In the early 1950s she worked in a lab at Mercy Hospital as a histologist. She started experiencing severe migraine headaches and was later diagnosed with glaucoma. Over the course of several years, she slowly lost her sight and eventually had to stop working. By the 1980s she was legally blind. She attended the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind in Colorado Springs and studied business enterprise. She then worked at the Colorado State Capitol, where she managed the gift shop and cafeteria. She was beloved by legislators and visitors alike before retiring in 1993.

Seidah suffers from an odd condition related to her blindness. Charles Bonnet Syndrome affects a significant percentage of blind people, who experience vivid hallucinations. For Seidah, it’s almost constant. “It’s like watching a movie with visions flashing in front of my face,” says Seidah. “I see old school work, trees, houses, cartoons, and a variety of objects,” she says. “It can be entertaining, but most of the time it’s annoying and sometimes frightening. “To date, there is no medical treatment,” she laments.

JFS had had a big impact on Seidah’s life. “Jewish Family Service has been a lifesaver for me,” she says. “Without the help of the caring staff and volunteers, I don’t know what I would do. They came to my aid five years ago and I’m blessed they are still there for me today."

Header photo: Maryann Touitou with Seidah Muhammed-Green



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