Aimed at keeping the mind sharp and staving off loneliness, a new program
enables elderly homebound individuals to interact and participate in activities
taking place in a local day care center – virtually.
Launched two months
ago, the Virtual Day Care Center holds programs on Mondays and Wednesdays at the
Mandelbaum Day Care Center in Ramat Gan.
The program, which is still in
its pilot phase, enables seven elderly individuals to join in the twice-weekly
program via Online medium Skype, a software application that facilitates video
“Skype is very simple to use, they just have to know what button
to press when someone calls them,” Adina Shatz, director of the Mandelbaum
Center, told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday.
While only participants with
computers, cameras and a basic understanding of technology were selected for the
first phase of the program, Shatz says that there is already a waiting list and
plans to provide equipment to those who do not have access to it.
people might be confined to their homes but they are still intellectually
capable and this program aims to boost their connection with other people,” she
explained, pointing out that even those with families grow lonely because they
are not physically able to leave their homes and interact with the world around
“Loneliness can be very powerful and the goal is to provide these
people with the virtual contact to the world outside and also to give them some
of the services that are available for the elderly in our society,” she said,
adding that the program brings together “real” people who actually visit the day
care center and the seven at-home participants for lively discussions on a wide
range of topics and entertainment.
Shatz also said that outside of the
two weekly meetings, the participants have started to interact with each other
via Skype, and that they have formed strong bonds with each other.
idea for the Virtual Day Care Center, which is funded jointly by JDC-Eshel and
the Gertner Institute in Tel Hashomer for $92,000, was imported from a similar
program operated by Selfhelp Community Services in the US.
program between the UJA Federation of New York and JDC-Eshel in Israel helped
set the idea in motion here. The Mandelbaum Center, which provides wide-ranging
care and therapeutic programs for the elderly, was selected as the location for
Shatz said that in the coming weeks, virtual day care
participants in Israel would hold a joint program online with virtual day care
participants enrolled in its counterpart program in New York.
yet to set the date but it will be soon,” she said.