Seniors Embrace Technology to Stay Together While Apart

Before the current COVID-19 heath crisis and recommended social isolation for seniors, Alpert JFS provided monthly “Eat & Schmooze” socialization events to connect our Holocaust clients. Prior to the pandemic, many of them might not have thought themselves as techno-savvy. Both of these situations, however, have changed with the times, as the socialization events are now virtual via Zoom, and have been fully adopted by our clients.

The new socialization format, appropriately titled “Zoom & Schmooze,” allows our clients to feel connected, cared for, and supported while being distant.

“The Holocaust team worked diligently to find inventive ways to engage our Holocaust survivors during the pandemic,” said Alpert JFS Director of Long Term Care Jennifer Weems-Escobar. “We have transformed our monthly events so every survivor knows and feels that they are not alone, and that Alpert JFS is here for them. ‘Zoom & Schmooze’ is very popular among the demographic; more than 50 participants have attended recent events!”

It should come as no surprise that our Holocaust clients were up to the challenge; like Julius Caesar, who said “Veni, vidi, vinci” – they came, they saw, they conquered!

“Nothing is better than seeing the smiles on the faces of isolated survivors, many of whom are in their ‘90s, when they figure out that they can use Zoom,” said Alpert JFS Holocaust Care Manager Eva Weiss. Her colleague Sara Zenlea added, “Clients light up when they first come onto the Zoom screen and realize that they can hear and see each other.”

Mind and Melody, an interactive music program that creatively stimulates participants’ minds, socially connecting them, and physically engaging them, hosted a “Zoom & Schmooze” recently. Each participant received a goody bag, including a snack, tea bags, and maraca to shake during the musical program. The interactive event, filled with smiles, singing along and applause, was just as lively as it would have been if everyone were in the same room!

Alpert JFS’ Holocaust Survivors Assistance Program is dedicated to identifying and addressing the distinct social welfare, health care, and emotional needs of Holocaust survivors with the utmost sensitivity. Learn more about the services and support provided to survivors of the Shoah, including assistance navigating the Reparations Benefit Process at www.AlpertJFS.org/for-seniors-holocaust-survivors-assistance/.

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