Technology innovators in Israel help elderly people to overcome social isolation by establishing free online lessons on how they can communicate with their loved ones in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Course founders Gabi Arnovitz, Uriel Shuraki and David Suraqui narrate how WhatsApp video and the video-conferencing application Zoom can be operated with the use of smartphones.
In an interview with The Times of Israel, Arnovitz and Shuraki said they have been physically conducting technical classes even before the pandemic hit. They later decided to collaborate with Shuraki’s cousin, David, to devise an online course to help more people virtually reunite using the two in-demand applications as several nations are placed under lockdown.
“Shuraki deals with the technical side of the project, while Suraqui oversees business development. Arnovitz narrates the videos,” the article read.
The trio, who separately work from their homes, produce five videos per week. Each clip, which runs for three to seven minutes, features demonstrations delivered in Hebrew. These are posted on YouTube and the links are shared via WhatsApp.
To see the effectiveness of the lessons, the team tried to launch video conferences via Zoom and around 90 people have successfully joined.
“We talked and it was incredible! This is creating a community – people are saying they’d like to meet when they finish, ” Arnovitz said referring to the pensioners who wish to meet each other in person once the lockdown has been lifted.
Meanwhile, Euronews reported that young people can send letters to the isolated elderlies across France and Belgium through the website “One Letter, One Smile” (https://1lettre1sourire.org/).
“It’s a very simple interface, where anybody can log in and write a letter, and this letter we send it to elderly people who are isolated, in retirement homes,” said Alienor Duron, one of the program’s founders.
The application currently doesn’t have features that allow the receivers to directly respond. However, the isolated senior citizens who wish to send replies to the letter senders may still do so by accessing their emails.