Some 20,000 elderly Israelis who live alone will receive emergency alert buttons and sensors from the Yad Sarah organization, after multiple elderly people were found dead alone in their homes.
The Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services will provide the buttons and sensors to those 75-years-old and older who live alone, don't have children, are living on an old-age pension and supplemented income, are recognized in social services departments by local authorities and do not have a distress button funded by another source. The installation will cost NIS 20.
Elderly Israelis who do not meet all of these conditions, but still want to receive the system can have it installed through an agreement between the ministry and Yad Sarah.
"The ministry I head is committed to the well-being and security of veteran citizens in general and particularly those who are alone," said Labor and Welfare Minister Ofir Akunis. "We were all appalled by the sad cases of elderly people who passed away in their homes and nobody knew about it. We are doing everything we can to prevent such situations."
The buttons provided by Yad Sarah allow the elderly to contact the organization's call center 24/7 in the case of an emergency. The person's information appears on a screen at the call center with all relevant contact information and medical information allowing the relevant aid to be sent. A sensor worn around the neck notifies the organization automatically if the person wearing it falls, even if they don't press the button.
On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the decaying body of an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor was found in her Beersheba home after she fell and died on the eve of Passover over a week beforehand.
In Petah Tikva, ZAKA volunteers were called to an apartment where a woman suffering from mental illness was trying to comfort and feed her 70-year-old mother who had passed away over a week before.
ZAKA volunteers have handled 35 incidents so far in 2020 in which those living alone have died alone. In 2019, 130 people died alone.