Selfhelp Community Services

From our pioneering days supporting Holocaust survivors seeking refuge in America, throughout our distinguished 80 year history, Selfhelp has been dedicated to enabling the elderly and other at-risk populations to live in their own homes, independently and with dignity.

Today, as baby boomers age and seniors overall live longer, Selfhelp is a partner in developing and implementing personalized care strategies for your aging parents and your own later years.  Our progressive social services, innovative aging-in-place solutions, and cutting-edge client centered technologies ensure that our 20,000 clients will be independent, safe and secure.

In every area of service, our care providers are recognized for their compassion, expertise and effectiveness. Because everything we offer you is available under one Selfhelp roof, you can consider our professional staff your source for independent living.

 

History of the Virtual Senior Center (VSC)

It started with the NYC Department for the Aging asking Selfhelp if it knew of any innovative new services that could be developed with technology.  Knowing the plight of homebound elders, Selfhelp suggested serving isolated seniors.  Microsoft provided the initial funding that created what has become the Virtual Senior Center.

From a small pilot project to hundreds of people across the country, the VSC is transforming lives.  Recent research demonstrated that the VSC reduces isolation, increases feelings of companionship, increases a person’s social network, bridges the digital divide, and improves a participant’s health status (an important indicator on the amount of health services one consumes).

 The program provides each homebound participant with a special purpose “all-in-one” touch screen device, which includes a unique interface that Selfhelp created to simplify and streamline the way that participants easily use the service to attend interactive, video-based classes. These small classes are a critical component of the program providing the intimate, face-to-face connection with peers, creating a new social network and enabling a new relationship with family. The service also provides a simplified access to Skype, links that serve as a spring board to exploring the Internet, email, and games.

We couldn’t have gotten here without our supporters.  We, and our participants, sincerely appreciate their kindness and generosity.  They include:  the UJA Federation of New York, the Consumer Technology Association, AARP Foundation, Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and many others.

The VSC is available across the country, including Baltimore, Chicago, Long Island as well as New York.  It’s coming to Pittsburgh soon too. 

Partner Locations

New York Since 2010, Selfhelp has developed the Virtual Senior Center program throughout its 26 locations in the New York City area.  In addition to Selfhelp programs, other senior centers, such as Carter Burden Center on Aging, Education Alliance Sirovich Senior Center and the State Island Jewish Community Center are partners in delivering the Virtual Senior Center in New York.  Selfhelp is also partnering with the Kimmel Housing Development Foundation to deliver the Virtual Senior Center program in Long Island as well.

New York

Since 2010, Selfhelp has developed the Virtual Senior Center program throughout its 26 locations in the New York City area.  In addition to Selfhelp programs, other senior centers, such as Carter Burden Center on Aging, Education Alliance Sirovich Senior Center and the State Island Jewish Community Center are partners in delivering the Virtual Senior Center in New York.  Selfhelp is also partnering with the Kimmel Housing Development Foundation to deliver the Virtual Senior Center program in Long Island as well.

Chicago Since 2012 CJE SeniorLife has partnered with Selfhelp to deliver the Virtual Senior Center to the Chicagoland area.  Today CJE is the Virtual Senior Center Midwest distributor.  If you would live in the Midwest and would like to join the Virtual Senior Center, please contact CJE SeniorLife at 773-508-1168 or email us at  VirtualSeniorCenter@cje.net. 

Chicago

Since 2012 CJE SeniorLife has partnered with Selfhelp to deliver the Virtual Senior Center to the Chicagoland area.  Today CJE is the Virtual Senior Center Midwest distributor.  If you would live in the Midwest and would like to join the Virtual Senior Center, please contact CJE SeniorLife at 773-508-1168 or email us at  VirtualSeniorCenter@cje.net

Baltimore Since 2014, GEDCO has partnered with Selfhelp to deliver the Virtual Senior Center to older adults in Baltimore.  For more information about our Baltimore program, please contact Ted at 410.243.0188 or via email at tgross@gedco.org.

Baltimore

Since 2014, GEDCO has partnered with Selfhelp to deliver the Virtual Senior Center to older adults in Baltimore.  For more information about our Baltimore program, please contact Ted at 410.243.0188 or via email at tgross@gedco.org.

The VSC in the News

  • NY 1 reports on Selfhelp's new Chinese version of the VSC (9/8/2016)
    This report includes a video of the press conference held announcing the new Chinese Language Version.

  • Queens Chronicle writes about a world of benefits, including the Virtual Senior Center program (3/17/2016)
    Victoria Zunitich describes the ways that people can gain access to benefits and services in Queens.  The VSC is mentioned as one offering interactive experiences. 

  • HP Case Study on Selfhelp's Virtual Senior Center Program (3/8/2016) HP writes about how the VSC program uses HP technology to make the service easy to use and the power of the VSC to improve the quality of life among socially isolated seniors.

  • Senior Housing Forum Article (3/3/16)
    Pam McDonald wrote "Going Nowhere Yet Accessing Everything" about how Selfhelp's Virtual Senior Center enables participants to access travel, community and discussions from their homes.

  • Radio Interview: Technology to lighten the caregiving role (2/23/16)
    David Dring was interviewed on Alzheimer's Speaks Radio about the Virtual Senior Center program.

  • Long Island Herald of the Five Towns (2/17/16)
    Golden Notes Senior Choir, including VSC facilitator Joe Margolin, performs for VSC participants.  Joe comments that this event brought two of his favorite activities together.

  • JHF's WINDOW Newsletter (2/2/16)
    Announces the Virtual Senior Center program coming to Pittsburgh with the support of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation.

  • Next Avenue   (1/26/16)
    Beth Baker describes Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center program

  • LeadingAge CAST Newsroom   (1/20/16)
    Describes Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center expansion into Pittsburgh, PA, where Selfhelp intends to engage 100 additional participants into the program.

  • Pittsburgh NPR (1/4/2016)  
    Announces Selfhelp's Virtual Senior Center expansion to Pittsburgh. 

  • LeadingAge Magazine  (Jan/Feb 2016)
    In this article, David Tobenkin, discusses multiple strategies where technology is used to reduce social isolation.  Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center program is used as one of the examples.

  • News Day   (4/30/15)
    Cara Trager writes about Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center expansion into Long Island.  It includes an excellent video.     (requires registration to News Day). View PDF of article.
  • BroadwayWorld  (5/1/15)
    The Museum of Modern Art launches Prime Time, an initiative offering an array of gallery conversations, film screenings, online courses, and more, designed to enhance cultural participation and provide opportunities for older adults to engage with modern and contemporary art.  Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center is mentioned as a partner organization.

  • Long Island News Day   (Oct 2014)
    Lisa Irizarry writes about the opening of the Long Island program of Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center initiative. 
  • Roslyn News   (10/17/14)
    Justin Hopper writes about the Sid Jacob Jewish Community Center is part of Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center program expansion to Long Island.

  • Non-for-profit Times   (10/16/14)
    Article describes how Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center program is expanding to Long Island.

  • LongIsland.com   (10/12/14)
    Article describes how Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center program is coming to Nassau County Long Island.

  • LeadingAge New York   (Oct  2014)
    Presents Selfhelp’s press release on the $100,000 award from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock on Long Island.

  • UUCSR.org   (10/7/14)
    Announces the presentation of Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center large grant award from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock.

  • LeadingAge Magazine (Jul/Aug 2014)
    Linda Barbarotta writes about how Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center program is fighting isolation. 

  • WSJ SmartMoney   (10/14/13)
    Anne Tergesen writes about the early stages of the Virtual Senor Center Program.

  • Fox Video   (7/17/12)
    Fox News interviews John Shalam of the Consumer Technology Association Foundation about their grant to Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center program. 

  • Village Voice   (4/4/12)
    Sam Levin writes about Mayor Bloomberg’s visit to Selfhelp Innovative Senior center and his participation in Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center program. 

  • WSJ Video   (6/10/11)
    Andy Jordan presents a story about Milton, a participant of Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center program.

  • New York Daily News   (12/20/11)
    Clare Trapasso writes about how Selfhelp’s Virtual Senior Center program “beams” Chanukah celebrations into homebound people’s computers. 

  • NYTimes Blog   (8/3/10)
    Paula Span writes about Selfhelp’s new program, the Virtual Senior Center.