Activities at the Geriatric Services Division during the Coronavirus Period
150 professional staff members
13 branches across the country
Thousands of dedicated volunteers
With the onset of the crisis, the entire Geriatric Services Division shifted to a mode of alternating home/office work. Authorization to work remote was given to 60 staff members who were provided technical support and computers, as needed.
During this period, the tremendous responsibility of the Geriatric Services division towards the highest-risk group in the world has doubled. This responsibility is reflected by work around the clock, with no breaks, in the division’s 2 primary areas of activity:
Mentoring and guidance of new seniors, their caregivers and family members in obtaining a geriatric services stipend from Bituach Leumi (the National Insurance Institute)
Placement of certified attendants in seniors’ homes
Guidance in the process of obtaining a foreign worker
Initiated phone calls every week to all the attendants, care recipients, caregiving family members (about 7500 calls a week)
Frontal and phone visits to 3000 seniors
Intensive work geared at giving the full number of hours of entitlement and care to the senior, in spite of attendants’ fear and concern of giving caregiving hours in the homes of seniors.
Operation of an active “Corona hotline” Sunday to Thursday from 8 AM to 10 PM and on Fridays and Erev Chag from 8 AM to 12 PM; Motzaei Shabbat and Motzaei Chag from 8 PM to 11 PM
The hotline provides a response to seniors, family members, and attendants in the following areas:
Calls for emotional support
Therapy calls with experienced professionals (social workers)
Calls to obtain information about entitlements and assistance in making them happen
Facilitating community and municipal services, especially hot meals!
Facilitating Ezer Mizion services: loan of medical equipment,
Arranging purchase of groceries, produce, home supplies and medicines and delivery via Ezer Mizion “Linked to Life” volunteers
Tapping in to connections for the purpose of obtaining service from different entities, in collaboration with the Home Front Command, kupat cholim, etc.
Activating volunteers to relieve loneliness via:
“Listening Ear” project — phone calls from volunteer emotional therapists
“Adopt a Bubby and Zeidy” — in collaboration with Discount Bank employee volunteers who are set up with seniors to allay their loneliness by phone.
Online physical exercise through a number of channels: website, online handbooks, etc.
Distribution of physical exercise kits to the homes of seniors by volunteers
Telephone guidance for active participants at the Senior Health Promotion Center by Center staff
Installation of Security Cameras
Tzipporah Fried Alzheimer Patient Support Center
Outgoing support calls initiated by the Center’s professional staff to caregiving families who were in touch with the center in the past
Online support groups via ZOOM
Phone calls initiated by staff to all Holocaust survivors who participate regularly in the Ezer Mizion activities
Provision of a full response to needs that arise in the conversations: cooked food, purchase of groceries and medicines, emotional support via therapeutic phone calls
Home visits, in keeping with all Health Department directives (remote, porch visits)
Establishment of a mobile library operated by means of a personal delivery from the municipal library to the Holocaust Survivor’s home – operated by the British Café staff
Online/telephone physical exercise guidance
Distribution of potted plants to 1100 Holocaust survivors across the country on Yom Hasho’ah
She looked lonely. Just sitting there on a park bench with her attendant day after day. I stopped for a moment on my way to work. We spoke. A brief chat each day that we both looked forward to. A warm spirit…an intelligent mind imprisoned in an eighty-two year old body. Erica needed more stimulation. Perhaps some board games to keep her mind active. A game partner who would love her and whom she could love.
I reached my office at Ezer Mizion Ashdod Branch. A message from a parent. The volunteer we had paired up for game therapy with her special needs child was not working out. I had had my doubts. Chagit was eager to volunteer and help others but I had not been sure as to how well she could relate to children. Her own childhood had been less than perfect and she was now living with a foster family. Hmmm. Perhaps…?
It was a perfect match. Chagit visits twice a week armed with games and professional advice from the Game Lending Library Division.a project of Ezer Mizion’s Geriatric Services Dept. Malka Hager Fitness Center. The foster family reports that Chagit is so much more fulfilled. The volunteering with Erica has worked wonders for her, boosting her confidence and self-image.
Companionship. A vital need at every stage of life. And especially essential for the holocaust survivor. Rivka is a typical survivor. She was born in 1930, in Lodz and grew up with her parents and three siblings in a warm, supportive family. But the war came crashing down on this idyllic family life and young Rivka was left all alone. Illness took the lives of her parents and her siblings perished in Auschwitz and Treblinka. Life as she had known it was no more and the future looked bleak indeed. But brick by brick, she rebuilt her life, marrying and raising a family. And now at 87 years old, she sits, absorbed in her memories, in need of the companionship of those who understand. Spending her days in a rocking chair by the window would be perfectly acceptable but she doesn’t want that. She wants to laugh. She wants to share. She wants to connect with others. And so Rivka became a member of Ezer Mizion’s ‘British Café Club’ and, for the past four years, has not missed an activity. Whatever the weather – cold, rainy, scorching hot – Rivka is there. Bright and bubbly and ever so grateful to the staff. Recently she fell and fractured her arm. But that didn’t stop her. Her arm ensconced in a cast, she surprised everyone at the next event, showering blessings upon each individual staff member. “I’m a holocaust survivor and my blessings have substantial weight in heaven,” she says as she moves on to the next person with her warm words of praise. Continue reading Holocaust Survivors in their Golden Years
Esty had absorbed the message that pervades every nook and cranny at Ezer Mizion: “What else can we do to help those in need?” Esty was hired as a Developmental Aide who met with special needs children several times a week, working to attain the goals set by the therapists. Being well trained in the field and blessed with a lot of initiative and great ideas, she developed a program using games to help meet those goals. A classic Candyland game could work wonders if utilized in the right way, she discovered. It was not long before she was heading Ezer Mizion’s newly founded Game Lending Library. Therapists would use the games to supplement their own supplies and families with special children would meet with her and borrow games based on her recommendation.
A busy mother, at her wits end, is told that her child will grow so much more if Mommy does ‘homework’ with him each day. It’s not that she doesn’t want to obey the therapists’ instructions. It’s not that she doesn’t care about her child reaching his potential. Continue reading It’s Only a Game…or Is it?
“Hello, Ezer Mizion, this is the medical transport division…”
“Thank you, this is T. Would it be possible please to have a transport for tomorrow morning, going at 10:00 a.m. and returning at 1:00 p.m.?” – “Certainly, with pleasure. Please call and confirm again tonight.”
That is the pleasantness and good feeling that we witness again and again at Ezer Mizion, an organization that has long ago become a model of exceptional public service, especially for the ill and disabled. The service is wonderful, reliable, and punctual, and they maintain full confidentiality.
In the evening, when we call to confirm, we again feel the radiating pleasantness and empathy. The actual transport staff also gives such a good feeling. They are friendly and upbeat and do their work with their entire heart.
Thank you to all those involved, and especially to Mrs. Dassy, who orchestrates the entire network.
Wishing you continued strength to do your work with joy!
Ezer Mizion, the Caller ID reads.
“Are you available to drive a patient to the hospital today at four?” Eli’s forehead wrinkles in thought and he makes the calculations. “I’ll take it.”
His cell phone vibrates. “This is Dr. Kluger’s secretary,” You have an appointment in another two weeks but a slot became available today at four. Interested?”
Yes, very interested. His foot has been waiting for over a month to be seen by the overbooked, expert orthopedist. True, it’s nothing critical but the nagging pain… Perhaps he should cancel the volunteer trip? Just this once…
“No,” he heard himself say. “I’m booked this afternoon.”
A soldier in the Ezer Mizion army does not go AWOL. Continue reading Ezer Mizion Elad Troops in Action
I always knew that walking was important for your health, but after trying it, I discovered that it has a lot of other benefits as well, such as a positive effect on one’s mood and optimism, improved quality of sleep, increased limberness, and more.
All these benefits come into expression in Ezer Mizion’s weekly walking clubs for women aged 60 and up. The members of the group enjoy health and social benefits alike. One of the special things about the club is that it is led by a certified walking coach, who gives us tips for proper walking and teaches us how to derive the maximum benefit from the experience, while imbuing the group with a warm, friendly atmosphere. Access to the group is handy and convenient, thanks to a special bus that picks up walkers at set stations around the city.
In light of my very positive experience, I highly recommend to anyone who cares about her health to sign up for this walking club. To register, call Ezer Mizion’s Malka Hager Fitness Center, at: 073-3956317.
With the goal of efficiently dealing with anticipated changes in the lives of senior citizens and with the rise in life expectancy, the Rehovot Senior Citizens’ Department, a department of its Social Services Division, recently set up a municipal “Round Table” to discuss issues related to the senior population and provide a response for new needs as they arise. Continue reading Round Table
The prestigious Journal of Intergenerational Relationships (JIR) has published an article prepared by Ezer Mizion’s Geriatric Services. JIR is published by Taylor & Francis, an international publisher whose headquarters are in Philadelphia and London. The article appeared in the recent special issue, “Intergenerational Family Relations in the Multi-Cultural Society of Israel,” guest edited by Ariela Lowenstein and Ruth Katz and is titled “Bonding through Motion: A Physical Activity-Based Approach for Strengthening Relationships between Elderly People and their Caregivers”. The article explains the Bonding through Motion project that was created by Ezer Mizion’s Geriatric Services professional staff which has been successfully implemented in hundreds of families caring for an elderly, homebound loved one. The article is available at
When the doctor made his diagnosis and informed us that all the phenomena we had noticed recently in my mother were symptoms of Alzheimer’s, I was at a real loss.
I am an only daughter, my two brothers live abroad, and I just did not know how I would be able to deal with this distressing diagnosis.
Baruch Hashem, my neighbor told me that in Rosh Ha’ayin the city where I live, , there is a branch of the Ezer Mizion Tzipporah Fried Alzheimer Support Center, established specifically to offer a response to this kind of problem.
The pleasant demeanor and warm smile with which they greeted me at the center were like a breath of fresh air. I received an efficient, professional response. They set up a meeting for me with a social worker, and she helped me understand the meaning of my mother’s illness and what I need to do about it. She also guided me through the maze of bureaucracy, so that I could get the Home Attendant Law allowance from the National Insurance Institute for my mother. She did not leave me alone until everything was arranged in the best possible way.
Afterwards I kept up my connections with the Center. Whenever I come across a problem or question, I call them and always receive a sensitive, professional response. It’s no wonder that I feel they are my second family. They enable me to continue to honor my mother even during her illness.
For the benefit of others who may need the Center’s services, I am listing their information: The Shi”l House, 120 Rashi Street Rosh Ha’ayin, Tel: 03-574-5817