ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ will pilot a five-month program to combat social isolation utilizing Selfhelp Community Services’ Virtual Senior Center. Launched in 2010, the VSC engages homebound older adults in live and interactive classes on a range of topics and activities. The program has been shown to break down barriers of digital literacy, reduce social isolation by up to 85 percent and improve participants’ quality of life by 97 percent. The robust class offerings available, as well as opportunities for group chats, will positively impact older adults in our service area.
“We have seen many of our older adult clients struggle with social isolation since the pandemic began and are hopeful that participation in the VSC will decrease their feelings of loneliness and help them to feel a part of a community,” said Amanda Kielbania, coordinator of older adult services at Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ.
“We are pleased to be expanding our Virtual Senior Center through this pilot program with Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ,” Selfhelp CEO Stuart Kaplan said. “Our VSC is a lifeline for homebound older adults who participate in live and interactive virtual classes every week. We know that joining the VSC has emotional and physical health benefits: It reduces social isolation and loneliness and promotes social inclusion. Since COVID, we all have a deeper understanding of the impact of isolation, and know the importance of programs that keep people connected despite distance or ability.”
Twenty older adult clients will participate in Selfhelp Community Services thanks to an Emergency COVID-19 Response grant from The Grotta Fund for Senior Care of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ. In addition, five Holocaust survivor clients will participate in Selfhelp Community Services, made possible by funding from The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany; social services for Nazi victims is supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
For more information, call 973-765-9050 or visit www.jfsmetrowest.org.