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Not Letting Israel’s Elderly Fall Through The Cracks
On Monday afternoon, United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Talia Asher from Mevaseret Zion visited an elderly woman as part of the organization’s Ten Kavod project. Talia went to check on the woman’s vital signs and spend some time with her in order to alleviate the woman’s feelings of loneliness that many elderly people who live alone tend to feel. This was the first time that Talia had visited the woman, as the woman was a new participant in the Ten Kavod project.
Upon arriving at the address, Talia noted that the building in which the woman lives is very old. Talia entered the building and knocked on the woman’s door. The elderly woman opened the door and welcomed Talia into her apartment. Talia was shocked by what she saw.
The walls of the apartment were cracked so badly and in so many places that Talia thought they might endanger the structural integrity of the entire building itself. Talia photographed the walls and sent the pictures to the coordinators of the “Ten Kavod” project to see what could be done to help. The coordinators immediately transferred the photographs to The Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs, who sent an engineer to visit the apartment for further inspection.
Upon his arrival and inspection of the building, the engineer decided that all of the residents of the building, including the woman whom Talia went to visit, needed to be evacuated immediately until the building could be repaired and once again deemed safe for occupancy.
According to the engineer, the building was at risk of imminent collapse and should have been renovated and strengthened sooner. That evening, the elderly woman who Talia visited was taken to a nearby hotel to stay, at the expense of the government, and will be residing there until it is safe for her to return to her apartment. The elderly woman was incredibly thankful and moved to tears by the kindness and concern shown to her by Talia and the coordinators of the “Ten Kavod” project who accompanied her throughout the process.
“Our mission is to care for Israel’s elderly who live on their own. This woman is 75-years-old and has no one else to care for her. As a volunteer in the project, I aim to help alleviate her sense of loneliness, give her a free medical check-up to make sure her basic health is okay, and make sure that her living conditions are viable. We do all this to help make her happy,” said Talia who’s Ten Kavod training was enabled by a grant from The Slomo and Cindy Silvian Foundation, Inc.,
“When I walked in and saw that her apartment was dangerous to live in, especially as she was recently confined to a wheelchair, I knew I had to help. I feel very strongly that the Ten Kavod project is so important in particular as it helps those who cannot necessarily help themselves. With no one looking after this woman, no one knew that her living conditions had gotten this bad, bad enough to endanger her entire building. Thanks to this special program, we were able to get her and the other residents the help they needed and prevent a large-scale tragedy from occurring.”
Talia concluded by saying, “It is so important for us as a society to prevent these kinds of situations and give our seniors and veterans the respect that they deserve and the proper care that they have the right to receive. I am thankful to be a part of the Ten Kavod project which does exactly that. ”
About the Ten Kavod project:
United Hatzalah’s national “Ten Kavod” project sends trained medical volunteers to visit senior citizens across Israel at least once a week. The volunteer is tasked with measuring the participant’s blood pressure, pulse and heart rate, sugar levels, oxygen saturation levels, and making sure that the person is eating well and that their house is clean. The volunteer spends time with the elderly participants to alleviate their sense of loneliness and to make sure that nothing G-d forbid happened to them. This provides the elderly person with the feeling that someone cares for them and knows what is going on in their lives. Quite often the volunteers and the elderly participants build close friendships. Over the years that the project has been in operation it has been shown to help prevent depression and the deterioration of the participant’s medical condition.
Many of the senior citizens involved in the “Ten Kavod” project are Holocaust survivors. The senior citizens who participate in the program live by themselves and often don’t have anyone else to care for them.
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