Supportive Communities support the idea of aging in place, a concept that promotes the ability of older adults to stay in their homes and communities safely, independently, and comfortably regardless of income, age, or ability. Research has shown a positive correlation between social networks and the wellbeing of older adults. Congruently, remaining in one's community helps to maintain independence and develop social networks.
Due to the aging of our societies and its impact on the health and social systems, there is the need to develop cost-effective community-based programs. Older adults, who prefer to continue to live in their homes in their communities, need support to maintain quality of life and independence. This support must cater to needs not met by any other community services.
The supportive community program creates a neighborhood cooperative structure that provides older adults with security and facilitates access to health and social services. This provides them with a friendly and reliable system to address any problem that emerges. Each supportive community offers a diverse basket of services to help older adults maintain a safe and accommodating environment. The services range from social activities to medical care. All of the services enable older adults to cope with loneliness, home maintenance, day-to-day assistance, counseling and informational services.
Each supportive community has a community "parent" for on-call support and guidance. The parent knows all members of the community and is in constant contact with them. They are the first to address issues regarding the daily needs of the community members. In case of mishaps in apartments, they make minor repairs or arrange for technicians. They also provide support and function as an effective and vital advocate in emergencies.
The supportive community also provides two types of medical services, emergency and primary care. Emergency ambulance services are free of charge. Members have the option of wearing a "panic button" used as a call button and alarm in case of an emergency. In one click, they can contact the emergency center of the supportive community, which immediately contacts a medical center, ambulance service, police, fire department and family members, as needed. For primary care, members may receive free medical evaluations and office/home visits. It is also possible to arrange a home visit, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for a fee.
The supportive community offers social activities such as regular social meetings, lectures and classes, physical activities, cultural events, parties, special trips, and outings to events and shows. The activities are adapted based on the characteristics of each target community and introduce new content to members' lives.
Every supportive community has an active group of volunteers who assist in a variety of areas, from escorting the members to different places, to running errands at the post office, supermarket, pharmacy, etc. The volunteers also assist in the various social activities offered.
Supportive Communities is a well-established program that has proven its effectiveness at empowering older adults to age in their own homes.
As of 2018, there are 260 supportive communities throughout Israel, with over 52,000 older adults members of these communities. Eshel is not financially or operationally responsible for these communities but does retain professional oversight over the program and is involved in the continued training and support of the community professionals.
Since 2016, Eshel is focusing on the next generation of supportive community programs by adapting and developing services within the existing supportive communities' platforms to address new and rising needs among the older adult population in Israel.
- Enhances personal security
- Eases responsibly of care on children
- Sense of belonging to a community
- Helps older adults remain at home
- Provides social support
- Participation in activities
Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services