KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One of the many elements of Jewish Family Services in Kansas City that has taken off during the pandemic is their initiative to reduce senior isolation.
JFS' Tech Connect classes enroll senior citizens in courses to teach them how to use digital technology for everyday life.
"They wanted us to feel like we can stay connected and through this pandemic, we were literally shut-in and the program wanted us to be able to reach out to have help, to find help, and everything that we need, those things will be because we have technology," said Freddie Mae Slaughter, a JFS client in Kansas City.
Slaughter is grateful someone out there is thinking of people like her.
"They want to keep seniors engaged. They want to keep them engaged. They want them to know that just because you’re 65, 75, 85 or even 90. However old the senior is, we will be there for you. And I’m thankful for that and I’ve had a lot of help from Jewish Family Services, through many areas," she said.
It's been a learning experience for JFS instructors as well.
"We told Freddie and her classmates that we were all exploring together. We were all pioneers, this is something we wanted to learn together. We were teaching Miss Freddie and her cohort members how to use a tablet and how to navigate technology and they were teaching us what they wanted to know, they were teaching us how they interacted with that information," explained Rachel Ohlhausen, JFS' program operations manager.
JFS hopes to reach 120 seniors by the start of the New Year through this program, one of many offered by the organization. They've seen increased demand across the board.
"Our food pantry has gone from serving 150 to 200 families per month to almost 900 families per month. Our mental services, our counselors, have been seeing all of their clients 100% virtually. I want to say they’re seeing 80-90 per week in their counseling sessions," Ohlhausen said.
To learn more about what JFS can provide, visit its website.