Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Online Classes That Help the Homebound Connect - Beth Baker, Next Avenue

Each week, the Virtual Senior Center offers some 30 online classes to homebound clients, from tai chi and exercise to contemporary history discussions and gallery talks with museum curators, as well as music appreciation and singing — even Mandarin. Participants use a simple touch-screen computer to join in, as well as to Skype, play games or use the Internet. Selfhelp partnered with Microsoft and the City of New York to develop the center. “The whole point is to marry technology with homebound seniors, to alleviate loneliness and depression,” explains Carmella Chessen, Selfhelp’s outreach/volunteer coordinator. “We want them to join four classes a week as a minimum. They have to want to be social and to learn the computer.” They also cannot have cognitive issues, she adds.

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