Selfhelp’s VSC offers families with isolated older loved ones an easy, friendly, and unique way to reconnect through video-based experiences.

Participants in the VSC describe a transformative experience:

  • Yetta had surgery that left her unable to walk easily; she became homebound. Although she had family she could call, she felt isolated and lonely. Joining the VSC program transformed her life. She feels “alive again.”

  • John had never used a computer before. Now he attends online classes, Skypes with people around the world, orders from Fresh Direct, and explores the Internet. “It’s a new world for me.”
 

The Virtual Senior Center offers:

  • Simple, senior-friendly, touch screen computer
     
  • Technical Support at home, on the phone or remotely
  • Socialization, education, and recreation in a secure online environment

  • 25-35 weekly entertaining discussion-based classes where you can see, hear, and talk to each other

  • Easy access to online resources, games, email, and Skype

The Hardware

Selfhelp recommends an all-in-one computer, where the computer, touch-screen monitor, web-cam, microphone, and speakers are all integrated into one device.  The optional VSC device looks like a 21” flat screen TV with mouse & keyboard.  With the device, we also provide a large-print keyboard similar the one shown. However, since the device is touchscreen, the older adult simply has to touch the screen to navigate throughout the service.

The VSC can also operate on most modern computers. The minimum requirements are:

  • a device having the ability to display 1920x1080 pixel resolution
  • a sufficiently powerful processor to manage multiple simultaneous video streams
  • Internet connectivity
  • a webcam 

However, we don’t recommend tablets due to their size constraints. Their limited screen size can make it difficult to see the other participants in the class environment.  

 

The Software

The software is designed and built by Selfhelp.  As an agency caring for seniors for nearly 80 years, Selfhelp understands older adults and their needs.  Therefore, the software is  designed specifically for seniors and is “extremely easy to use.”  For example, we incorporate the concept of the “three finger touch” ensuring that the buttons are large enough to touch with three fingers if necessary – helpful for people who have arthritis in their hands.

The software as a service includes:

  • Ease of use
  • Access to an unlimited number of interactive, discussion-based live classes; 25-35 classes offered each week
  • Access to curated Internet links
  • Access to games which provide brain fitness activities
  • Technical support provided by phone, remotely and in home, if necessary
  • NEW: social games where you can see, hear and talk with the other players while playing virtual card games.

There is a fee for the service.  We call it a “Tuition Fee.”  It provides you with all the software as a services above.  The hardware and Internet connection are extra.  If you are interested, please contact us for more information and availability in your area.

Social Gaming

What could be more fun than playing games with your friends? Seeing your friends while playing them! 

Selfhelp’s new social games enable this.  You can play cards around a virtual table while seeing your friends.  You can see, hear and talk with them as if you were around a card table in your living room.  The first game to be available is Rummy.   Crazy 8s and Hearts are coming soon.

We also have traditional games, where you can plan solitaire, checkers, chess and do crossword puzzles.  All our games were selected to help you with brain fitness.  The games provide good challenges to keep your brain active and vibrant.

These games are part of the overall service.  We believe that having fun is the best way toward improved well-being. So, join us for a game with your peers.

 

 

Sample of our diverse class offering:

  • 60's Music: 12 Year Old Singer/Guitarist Evan
  • Alert & Alive
  • Arthritis w/Kathy-queens Library
  • Beginning Conversational Spanish
  • Being a successful Patient w/Drs. Raik & Ayres
  • Brain Aerobics w/Nicole
  • Cave Paintings: A Tour of Mankind's Earliest Art
  • Chagall, Part 2 with Nelly @ the Jewish Museum
  • Computer Skills w/John
  • Conversational Spanish w/Masiel
  • Coping well w/Arthritis: Drs. Raik & Hennon
  • Current Events
  • Gentle Exercise with Carmen
  • Gentle Stretching & Relaxation w/Carolyn
  • High Holiday Prayers: What is their Significance? Abe K.
  • History of Jewish Prayer w/Abe
  • History of the Middle East with Matt
  • Images of Nature: Poetry of Robert Frost from the New School
  • Impressionist & Post -Van Gogh w/Andrea
  • Influences in our Lives w/Theatre Artist Susan W
  • Interactive Storytelling: Treasured Objects w/Susan
  • Interactive Storytelling: How did you get your name
  • Interactive Storytelling: What Stories do your Photos Tell?
  • Jewish Heritage Museum: Every Object Tells a Story
  • Jewish History -Prayer in the Bible w/ Abe
  • Jewish Museum-Chagall: the Early Years
  • Jewish Wedding Ceremony, Pt 2 w/Abe
  • Khaya Cohen: X-Factor finalist!
  • Laughter Yoga
  • Local and National Political Review w/Paul
  • Memorial Service for Rosie
  • Modern Art in NYC: New School w/Nick A
  • MOMA: Neo-Dada w/Diana
  • MOMA: Objects of Design
  • Money Saving Benefits for Seniors
  • Movie Review - "Billy Elliot" the Dancer w/Jeane
  • Movie Review w/Jeane: "The Talented Mr. Ripley"
  • Movie Review: Scent of A Woman w/ Jeane
  • Movie: "the Kids are Alright" w/Jeane
  • Museum of Jewish Heritage: Jewish Defiance during the Holocaust
  • Museum of Jewish Heritage: Making History w/Everyday Experiences
  • Museum of Jewish Heritage: Jewish Lifecycle Events
  • Museum of Tolerance: Power of Words and Images
  • Music with Les
  • Music, Music and more Music w/Dee
  • Musicians On Call: Folk, Jazz by Singer "Morley"
  • Musicians on Call: Jazz & Funk
  • New School: Part 2: 20th Century Photography w/Peter
  • New School: Where Words Come From II w/Marcia
  • New School: King David - a Hero of the Bible w/Ivy B.
  • New School: Photographer Dorothea Lange w//Peter H
  • New School: Poetry (Boundless Moments) w/Eileen
  • New School: Talking about Folk Art w/Carol
  • New School: Myth of Icarus in Art & Poetry w/Carol
  • New School: Short Poems w/Mireya
  • NY Hall of Science: Mathematica Beyond Numbers
  • NY Historical Society: Civil War in Images w/Katie
  • NY Historical Society: Exploring NY through Narrative Art w/Paintings & Sculpture
  • NY Historical Society: NY from Colony to Capital
  • NY Historical Society: Slavery in NY
  • NY Historical Society-Hudson River Painters
  • NY History: Deciphering Manhattan w/Peter L.
  • NYPL: Computer Training w/Steven
  • NYPL: Email for Beginners w/Steven at NYPL
  • Queens Museum of Art: NY Street Stories
  • Remember the 50's:Interactive Storytelling w/Susan W.
  • Reminiscence
  • Reviewing General Email principles w/Yukiko
  • Roman Vishniac's photographs of East European Jewish culture before the Holocaust
  • Romeo & Juliet w/Lionel
  • Rosh Hashanah w/Rabbi Kogan!
  • Senior Issues in the News w/Lauren
  • Sleeping Well & Aging w/Drs. Raik & Lien
  • Spanish Conversation w/Masiel
  • Story Circle w/Robin Bady
  • Sugar and your Diet w/Minh
  • Supreme Court Case Review
  • Talking about Computers with Howard
  • Taming of the Shrew: Shakespeare's Comedy w/Lionel
  • Tech Innovations: Airplanes w/Stephanie
  • Tech Innovations: Solving the Meat Crisis w/Lab Grown Food
  • Tech Innovations: The Hearing Aid
  • Tech Innovations: VCR to DVD to Bluray w/Stephanie
  • Tech Innovations: X-Rays-What is their History?
  • Tech Innovations-Bar Codes
  • Tech Innovations-The Microwave w/Stephanie
  • The Custom of the High Holidays- Abe K.
  • The Invention of Photography: w/Elisabeth
  • The Story of Jewish Charity w/Hanan
  • Virtual Lounge Open Chat - No Facilitator
  • Washington This Week w/RyanYou Be The Judge with Cathy
  • Your Diet: w/Nutritionist Minh