Some 200 employees of the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality have joined forces in recent days to ensure the welfare of the city’s 70,000 elderly residents.
The senior population has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis and the second national lockdown, which has led to increased feelings of distress, loneliness, and anxiety. Such feelings have been compounded by the forced closure of adult daycare centers due to strict lockdown restrictions.
Recognizing the situation, the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality has launched an initiative to call all of the city’s elderly residents, checking their wellbeing and identifying any needs resulting from the current lockdown. Problems detected in these conversations are transferred to social workers employed by the municipality’s social services department.
Workers from all municipal departments are participating in the effort and conducted more than 37,000 phone calls to date. They’ve been receiving warm responses from senior residents, who have often found themselves isolated from family members.
Tel Aviv-Yafo Mayor Ron Huldai said in a statement: “Nobody is left behind in Tel Aviv-Yafo! During this time of uncertainty, anxiety, and confusion, a phone call from a municipal representative is sometimes the only human connection to the outside world that is available to senior residents. I am proud of the municipal workers who mobilized themselves to assist in the battle against COVID-19 and ensure the continued proper functioning of the city.”
This is the latest initiative in a long list of activities launched by the municipality in recent months to benefit the city’s elderly population, including hundreds of outdoor events in accordance with Health Ministry guidelines; providing increased content for elderly DigiTel Resident Cardholders; establishing support groups via WhatsApp and Zoom; distributing tablet computers to elderly residents to facilitate contact with family members; distributing meals; and operating a social worker hotline for elderly residents.
At the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, the municipality launched a panic button via the 106+ smartphone app, enabling elderly residents to call for assistance with food and medication delivery or to receive important information or general assistance from municipal welfare services. In addition, residents were also able to call for assistance for elderly neighbors.
Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality will continue to assist the city’s elderly population and their families and provide a wide range of support and services, especially during this difficult and challenging period.