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What about the seniors?

"It turns out that lots of older people are just sitting idly in hotel lobbies with nothing to do.”


Interview with Zohar, taken November 21, 2023

By Eli Lederhendler



Zohar, 23, is a medical student, but she has no courses to attend yet since the universities have all suspended classes this term. She decided to see what she might be able to do on behalf of the many senior citizens among the people evacuated from front-line areas in the south and north of the country. 

As a first step, Zohar is trying to assess general needs, to reach out to various hotels and other interested parties, including Jerusalem’s municipal authorities, to see if anything is being done to offer activities for senior citizens. 

“It turns out that lots of older people are just sitting idly in hotel lobbies with nothing to do,” she notes. The existing social, cultural, or educational programs offered by JCCC volunteers or by municipal authorities aren’t geared toward this demographic. “There seems to be a real dearth of age-appropriate, meaningful activities for these people. Ideally, we would need a committed core of volunteers willing to put in several hours each week to guarantee a steady routine, especially for the mid-morning hours.”

Some of the evacuees’ other needs, such as transport to and from medical appointments, are being met by other teams. But Zohar’s idea is to create a platform that would try to cope with their social needs over and above basic services. Social activity is essential for emotional and physical health, especially during stressful times, and especially for this demographic.

Zohar believes that the best volunteers to staff such a program could come from the senior age bracket itself. “We’re talking about people who are retired, with time to spare, with skills, and without young children of their own to raise. They might be the best people to run this kind of program.”

She’s hoping to float the concept to the JCCC, get the program approved, and begin recruiting people for the team.

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