Kitra Cahana, a filmmaker and photojournalist, has emerged as an effective and passionate community activist, providing much needed support to staff at the Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre during the pandemic. The Facebook group, which she recently launched now has more than 250 members, has joined forces with groups including Donald Berman Maimonides Foundation, Project Feel the Love and the Protection Collective to secure and deliver ear guards and face shields, meals and personal care items for staff. Her latest initiative aims to provide IT support to families who are experiencing technical difficulties in communicating with their loved.
Kitra’s father, the much-beloved Rabbi Ronnie Cahana, is a resident of Maimonides. She writes, “He is my collaborator in art and storytelling. He is a poet and a spiritual leader. He is witty and unapologetically himself. He is all of these things, and as a quadriplegic man with limited lung capacity, highly susceptible to dying if there’s an outbreak of COVID-19 at his long-term care facility.”
While continuing to provide much-needed support to the team at Maimonides, Kitra and her Facebook friends are now also focused on lobbying for better care for seniors. Kitra is urging artists to share artwork, photographs and stories about long-term care facilities on social media by using the hashtag #artists4longtermcare. “Also,” Kitra urges. “please sign our petition at change.org/longtermcare in order to remind our leaders that we need to do more for our elderly.”