Under a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, HCA Education and Research (HCA E&R)* and Selfhelp Community Services are working together to build up capacity and expand access to Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center (VSC), so that all patients or clients served by home and community-based care providers can access this powerful platform in every region of New York State.
*HCA E&R is a 501c3 affiliate of the Home Care Association of New York State (HCA)
The VSC combats social isolation and the associated high-risks to health, by enabling homebound older adults to connect with peers, volunteers, professional caregivers and community members in virtual social sessions, educational and exercise classes, personal and cultural enrichment, health self-management and wellness activities. Most importantly, it helps older adults to maintain and expand their social network.
Participants can log into the VSC whenever they choose (24/7), review the weekly calendar, and join classes that interest them.
Independent evaluation has found that joining the VSC has multiple emotional and physical health benefits: it reduces isolation and loneliness and increases connectedness and self-reported health status.
Social isolation has long afflicted older adults, and it is linked to higher physical and mental health risks. With COVID-19, this kind of social isolation has intensified exponentially.
The VSC can help bridge this gap for patients who may be struggling with isolation.
Realizing the need, HCA E&R and Selfhelp have partnered on this initiative supported by the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to make this platform available to a greater number of providers and their patients or clients by expanding access to thousands of New Yorkers who receive care at home and could benefit from this service.
Individuals currently aged 60+ who:
- Are homebound or socially isolated
- Want to have social interaction/meet people
- Want to contribute in class discussions
- Are willing to learn or know how to use a computer
- Have access to the internet
- Have access to a computer, tablet or other device
To enroll your patients, please follow the referral procedures below:
- Contact Selfhelp with interest in enrolling your patients or clients. (Live demos are available.) You can call or use the online Community Partners form and a member of Selfhelp’s VSC will follow-up with further instructions.
- Assess your patients/clients for participation using Selfhelp’s Screening Form.
- Obtain a signed VSC Contract from patient/client.
- Make referrals to Selfhelp’s team.
- Selfhelp’s VSC team calls all referrals/participants to verify devices and internet service, teach participants how to login, and follow-up to navigate any issues.
‘It’s Like Having a Whole New Family’ (article in Jewish Week, May 2020)
Launch webinar: In July 2020, HCA E&R and Selfhelp Community Services held a webinar to show first-hand this powerful, interactive Virtual Senior Center (VSC) platform open for all home and community-based clients to enroll. You can watch an archive of the webinar by registering here.
Onboarding Webinar: In October 2020, HCA E&R and Selfhelp Community Services provided further background and a series of membership options for providers or plans to offer patients seeking to enroll in the VSC. You can watch an archive of the webinar on YouTube here.