In order to help combat the spreading loneliness and anxiety brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, which has become a distinct issue among the elderly, an Israeli start-up has developed a social platform which allows an elderly person to replace their smart phone with a TV remote, allowing them to interact with others through their television sets. Sparko, which currently focuses its endeavors in Britain, has launched its platform early to try to provide a solution for those who need it in these times. It is particularly suited to the needs of those who are most vulnerable to the virus, as they are the least likely to go outside and socialize. Using the app, the person can stay at home and interact with others in ways that are convenient for them, using their home's television. The program, called Sparko Virtual Retirement Community, was developed by the company with the intent of letting older people gain access to the newest technologies and allowing them to use it in easier ways. The Sparko system has several functions including calling for tech support, planning a routine, and watching videos ranging from exercise to cooking to language learning. The app was developed with the help of Anagal next, a cooperative of 120 IT specialists who help companies develop their technologies and business models. The group currently serves more than 500 companies in Israel and globally. "This difficult time makes it our duty to keep the Golden Age people of Israel connected to the outside world, as well as keeping them mentally active and strong," said Motti Bar, CEO of Sparko Israel. "Data from the Ofakim company shows that up to 80% of people over the age of 75 are not exposed to the most recent technology. They don't know how to accept video calls and cannot initiate contact by themselves, or receive information from local groups and communities," Bar said. "The availability of these smartphone technologies for the elderly is not enough, since most of them can't use this advanced technology themselves, and they're always dependent on a third party who is not always available. SparkoTV offers them a service which does not depend on outside help," he said."Thanks to Sparkos, the social network we developed at Anagal next, an elderly person may have a video call with his family without limit," said Nadav Mankerman, Deputy of technology at Anagal next. "They can sign up for classes which are held online, family members can put up video which will appear on the TV and can put in reminders to take medications or go to the doctor, which will appear on the TV screen even if the elder is watching it, among many other apps."