Updated: May 2
A simple visit to your neighbors could save a life.
In light of the pandemic of loneliness facing senior citizens during the COVID-19 lockdowns, the students of Dror's Social High School in Kiryat Atta near Haifa decided to do what they could to help together with the Welfare Department of Haifa.
The students visited the homes of elderly residents in the Hadar neighborhood in order to check up on them, identify needs and assist if necessary. The students and their teachers have helped with buying food, medicine, transportation to clinics and of course simply talking to the elderly and trying to alleviate even a little of their loneliness.
"It took a while to find the apartment, but the students wouldn’t give up until we found it. They insisted on staying to talk for about half an hour with a woman who they visited. It was obvious that the woman had not talked to anyone for a long time. After a brief moment of awkwardness, she went inside her apartment to get a chair so she could sit in the doorway and keep chatting. One of the girls realized that they were born it the same city in Russia! When it was time to go, it was very hard for the students to say goodbye and leave the woman all alone. They realized that it was too far for them to visit regularly, so one of the students found a friend who lives in the neighborhood who said she would make sure to visit often, and they would also stay in touch via phone," says a Social High School educator.
Meital Rot, coordinator of the social project in Haifa’s Hadar neighborhood and an educator in Dror Israel, says of the project: "Our job is to protect the senior citizens in the neighborhood. That is an important part of being a community that cares for one another.”
Though seniors are taking care of themselves by staying in their homes during the pandemic, this situation has exacerbated the epidemic of loneliness. Dror Israel is working to alleviate this critical societal issue in many ways, including student volunteer projects like this one, organizing and facilitating groups for seniors both in person and online, pairing seniors living alone with younger neighbors, and more.