‘Dedicated’ –a word found in almost every dinner journal. It’s overused, almost trite. But since the English language hasn’t produced a better word, it will have to suffice to describe Yitzchok and his wife.
Yitzchok was a dedicated Ezer Mizion volunteer. He had been a part of the Ezer Mizion family for many years offering rides to cancer patients and their family members, picking up items vital to the well-being of the ill and the elderly. His ‘Sure. I can do it.’ was a pleasure to hear. It was the Friday morning before Purim, the week before the Corona craziness took over our lives. A request came in for a pickup of salads and side dishes to be delivered to a family who was battling serious illness. The delivery had to be made before Shabbos. Yitzchok was available and took the call. He picked up the food, beautifully packaged and neatly labeled, and began making his way to the recipient’s home.
In an effort to ease the loneliness and solitude of Israel’s seniors who are homebound due to fragile health and corona regulations and precautions, Ezer Mizion is shifting its live activity clubs to virtual platforms. Many of the seniors that we are targeting had been attending activity clubs, fitness programs, lectures and various programs at Ezer Mizion, filling their time with stimulating, enjoyable social activities. The virtual clubs will include seniors who participated in the clubs before corona as well as additional new members.
Stuck at home now, lacking ways to fill their time, missing social interactions and needing cognitive stimulus, many elders are suffering greatly. They will be happy for opportunities to safely connect with others and participate remotely in activities that will stimulate them cognitively, physically and emotionally.
To ease the transition to the virtual platform and ensure ease of use for the seniors, we will be using tablets that have been adapted specifically for the senior population with the most simple user formats possible. The cost of each tablet is $415. The tablet, which includes adapted hardware, software and technical support will be provided by Ezer Mizion for free as a precondition for participating in the clubs.
Ezer Mizion has chosen 50 seniors for this pilot project. They will be meeting in groups of 12 to 15 participants twice weekly for exercise, lectures, activities, sing-alongs, laughing yoga and more. They will also be able to make use of the device to interact socially with their peers and family throughout the week as well as keeping in touch with their doctor and kupat cholim (HMO) for health maintenance. The next phase of the project will expand the virtual activity club to 150 homebound seniors who are being serviced by Ezer Mizion homecare attendants.
Project Goals Include:
Strengthening sense of belonging to a social group
Easing feelings of loneliness and isolation
Reinforcing a sense of return to something familiar
Tension and anxiety relief, increasing motivation
Preservation and enhancement of cognitive capabilities
Maintaining connection, improving function
Promoting positive, healthy routine
At Ezer Mizion, we view this project as life giving! Reigniting our precious seniors with the will to live, proving to them their essential value as a person and their importance to the group and our team, easing their loneliness, enhancing their cognition, their social interaction and their quality of life. To check out the tablets watch this clip: https://youtu.be/_fgoJRajDVo
Year 1 Project Costs
Cost of each tablet: $415 (C$545)
Cost of 50 tablets for pilot phase: $20,800 (C$16,900)
One year operating cost: $30,000 Your tablet sponsorship and project support will enable Ezer Mizion to infuse the lives of these seniors with hope, with renewal, with a will to live, enriching the fabric of our society. Donor recognition available with a dedication on each tablet sponsored.
Your gift will that smile to our precious seniors. Please donate with ‘tablets for seniors’ in memo.
Most of us will help another person when needed. It’s called chessed. Something we were taught when we were tiny tots. But chessed comes in two very distinct packages. One is doing as much as was requested. “Ok, I’m done? Great! Now I can get back to my regular life.” And then there’s the other kind. The person who looks around when the job is done, thinking, “What else can I do for him?” Two varieties. So very different.
The strength of a few words, softly whispered, carefully transported on the beams of a gentle smile. They bring a surge of vigor — vigor with the power of a tsunami! That was Mayan. Only nine years old but with the ability to imbue others with her profound strength. Mayan had been stricken with leukemia. While her friends were learning to jump rope, she was spending weeks at a time in a scary hospital witnessing what no child should ever see. Ezer Mizion staff and volunteers supported her and her family emotionally, psychologically and practically with a broad range of programs. All those who met her commented on her strong will to fight this battle and win. Mayan spent a great deal of time at Ezer Mizion’s Oranit, a guest home for cancer patients and their families to live during the duration of treatment. It was a fun, cheery place to be after the morning ordeal of chemo. She could try her hand at a musical instrument, do crafts, climb the monkey bars at the playground or feed a rabbit at the Petting Zoo. Happy and upbeat, on her way to her next activity, she heard a discordant note. Several women were discussing their illness. “I have no strength!” said one. Our nine-year-old giant headed toward the group. In a powerful embrace, she sent sparks of potent vitality to the woman who had spoken. “What do you mean you have no strength? G-d only sends cancer to people who are heroes!”
Some people my age are still kids but I was forced to grow up fast. It hasn’t been an easy life. Until fourteen, I was like everyone else. You know. Playing ball, studying for tests, doing pretty well in school except for math. I had a lot of friends and life was great. Until it wasn’t. Until I found myself alone in the hospital. My friends weren’t allowed to visit and even if they had been, they were probably too scared. I know I would have been if it had been someone else lying there attached to tubes and sick with a disease that people didn’t even like to mention. I got chemo treatment. I couldn’t even dream of a ballgame. Every time I pictured the ball flying through the air, I got more nauseous and had to grab that basin fast. But the chemo did the trick, at least for a while. And the cancer seemed to disappear. Then at nineteen, the monster was back again. This time there were no triumphant handshakes from the medical staff. No banter like “We never want to see you here again.” This time, they weren’t sure. I got a bone marrow transplant, the kind where they use your own cells. It was grueling and the ‘maybe it will work, maybe it won’t’ I was hearing was no comfort.
Hours: 9-5. A perfectly acceptable job description, wouldn’t you say? True, but one an Ezer Mizion employee cannot relate to. Don’t get me wrong. Ezer Mizion employees have specific work hours like those of any other entity. But the difference is seen at 5:00 PM when the average office employee locks the door to her office, to her mind and to her heart until the next day at nine. The Ezer Mizion employee doesn’t know how to do that. Her typical evening will be interspersed with phone calls. Did the desperately needed wheelchair ordered at ten-to-five arrive? Did her suggestion for the Alzeimer’s patient work? How is the K family whose mother was just diagnosed with cancer doing?
Let me introduce you to David. He’ll tell you his story.
A garbage truck stops and its driver jumps out. He had noticed a familiar car on the road. He reaches into his pocket, pulls out a generous bill he had been saving, hands it to Maor Cohen and, in seconds he is back at his job. “What’ s this?” Maor call s out.
“For the children. The children with cancer at Ezer Mizion. To buy them a lego set.”