Keeping Holocaust Survivors Connected Through Uniper
A woman who is isolated in her home connects with the world through Uniper.
In May 2018, KleinLife, through a grant with Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), created the Revive program that is meant to help Holocaust Survivors from the Former Soviet Union cope with their past trauma and evoke happiness and positivity through various therapeutic programs. When the pandemic caused KleinLife to close its doors to the public, staff began creating “at home” programming for seniors through Zoom. It was through this that they noticed a significant amount of Holocaust Survivors were unable to participate fully, because of technological barriers.
Community partner, Jewish Family and Children Services of Philadelphia (JFCS), was awarded a grant through the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies & JFNA to use the program Uniper, a service that allows older adult users to experience live and prerecorded activities easily through their TV, computer, or mobile device. Knowing that KleinLife has had success with their online programs, JFCS connected with them to be a part of the Uniper program by including their online activities, as well as inviting their Revive program participants to put Uniper TV Kits in their homes.
Elena, a Holocaust Survivor and an active KleinLife: Russian Speaking participant, was hesitant to try Uniper. However, after having one installed in her home, she found herself to be very active on it. “I was so tired of books and TV and sitting home alone,” said Elena, who was not able to join virtual programming previously, can not only join KleinLife programs but can also see her friends through the service, too. “It is so wonderful to see everyone. I feel happier. I only wish I got it sooner.”
Currently, KleinLife has 37 Holocaust Survivors using the Uniper service and the feedback has been incredibly positive. “I really appreciate the quality and variety of programs provided by KleinLife and Uniper,” said Alla, a Holocaust Survivor and KleinLife: Russian Speaking participant. “They are keeping us physically active and positive with wonderful instructors and programs from art therapy to Zumba.”
Prior to receiving the Uniper TV Kit, Hanna and her husband, both members of the Revive program, were able to connect to KleinLife’s online programs only through the help of an aide due to Hanna’s visual impairment. Now, they are able to be connected to the programs they love instantly and see the friends that they love more clearly on the bigger screen of a TV in comparison to their computer. “I can join programs on my own, and see everything much better on the TV. It made things much easier,” said Hanna. “(My life is) much more interesting as opposed to being disconnected from the world. I see familiar faces which means so much (to me).”
Through the partnership of KleinLife and JFCS, the Uniper program will continue to be provided to more seniors across the Philadelphia area and help combat social isolation during the pandemic and beyond.