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A Video to Warm the Heart
This moving video was screened at the annual event of the Friends of Yad Sarah in London and illustrates more than 40 years of activity - for the benefit of all Israelis. * In the video, veteran volunteer Vivian London speaks about her long association with Yad Sarah and the help that was there for her when she needed it * Photography and Editing: Simon Maurer * Research and Production: Benny Cohen, Public Relations
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Yad Sarah Reaches Out to Help Muquadam
Meet Muquadam, a two-and-a-half-year-old boy from Tanzania. He came to Israel under the auspices of Save a Child’s Heart (SACH), an NGO that arranges vital operations for children from developing countries in need of cardiac surgery. And Yad Sarah gave him a wheelchair to take home. In the photo: Muquadam with his mother and Yad Sarah Tourism Director Nadia Alalu.
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So Much More Than Just Wheelchairs!
They asked about borrowing a wheelchair - they received a complete guide to hosting an elderly relative in a safe and accessible environment * Reported by Shani Rosenfeld, director of the Exhibition and Guidance Center at Yad Sarah in Jerusalem * In the photo: Students of Social Work and Health Services, guests from Israel and abroad, come to the Center and get reliable information based on many years of professional experience
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Yad Sarah's Emergency Alarm Response System is not just for seniors or those living alone. Volunteer Shelly Wolf visits the Emergency Call Center and interviews director Nahum Gitman to find out who else can benefit from its newest state of the art system

The first time I heard about the possibility of an emergency response system was many years ago in America when I saw a television commercial that showed an elderly woman on the floor of her home pressing a call button attached to her phone saying, “I‘ve fallen and I can’t get up.” I remember thinking how that was certainly not something I had to think about. After all, I was young, able bodied, and I did not live alone. Now I think back to my reaction and realize how foolish I was to think that home emergencies only happen to the elderly or to those who have a chronic illness. Certainly, those two populations are more likely to need emergency intervention, but now most of us are changing our ideas about who else might benefit from such a service. The answer, of course, is...all of us. At Yad Sarah, the staff who run the Emergency Alert Response Center are encouraging all of us to view the system as a way to protect ourselves from unnecessary injury or loss of life. Everyone, no matter his or her age, spends time alone at home. Most personal injury accidents occur in the home, and, of course, as much as we don’t like to think about it, sudden illness can occur at any age. Today, electronic emergency response services bring a degree of security and calm to people who want to maintain independence and remain safe within their own homes. The service allows families to relax, knowing that in the event of illness or accident, help is available to their loved ones with minimal effort. Of course, by the time I saw the ad on American TV, the idea had already taken shape at Yad Sarah, which once again identified a need in the community and responded to it. Yad Sarah’s first emergency response system dates back thirty years. At that time, the system utilized a base machine hooked up to a phone line, and the caller had to be in the room with the device. Over the years, there were ongoing advances; today subscribers wear lightweight, waterproof devices on the wrist or around the neck. The latest system allows anyone, in any part of Israel, to enroll in the service. One need only call Yad Sarah, request the service, and speak directly to a volunteer who will immediately record all the relevant personal data in the computer. This up to date lifesaving system is available anywhere in the country at no cost to the subscriber. The center in Jerusalem handles all calls, regardless of the location of the caller. When the subscriber wears the newest device, it can activate the system from any room in the house. As soon as the caller’s voice connects with the control room, the computer flashes all of the caller’s vital information – name, address, medical details, languages spoken, phone numbers of relatives, neighbors who have keys, doctors and the nearest first aid station – onto the computer screen. The system includes a speaker and microphone, which allows the caller to communicate with the duty operator under any circumstances. In addition, the system allows calls from outside the house using a cellphone. The operator at the call center has immediate access to police and other emergency services as well as to family members. The responder can call for assistance while maintaining continued contact with the caller. This is a particularly important part of the service. Keeping the caller engaged during the duration of the call helps keep him calm until help arrives. The operator determines if that initial help should be a family friend, a doctor, or an ambulance, depending on the event. All the operators who staff the hotline receive a week of training followed by two weeks of observing in the call center at Yad Sarah. Volunteers learn how to offer comfort and to respond to the emergency in an efficient and caring way. There are usually operators on call who speak English, Hebrew, or French. There are also staff available to help with translating in other languages as well as medical personnel to direct a family member who is present at the emergency to give aid until an ambulance arrives. During a visit to the center, I was able to see the process in action. The trained team of operators handled all calls with speed, attention to detail, and efficiency. Because all personal information flashes on the screen when an operator answers a call, operators can address callers by name. Each operator expressed concern and asked pertinent questions to determine the status of the call. I asked the women who were on duty about the stress of answering many calls and the pressure of determining the seriousness of the situation. They responded that there are many times when the number of calls coming in creates stress, but that over time they learned to remain calm and listen carefully to each caller. They emphasized that the nature of the call is not always apparent simply from the caller’s tone of voice. They reminded me that many calls are not emergencies. On average, 200 ambulances are dispatched each month. People call to ask questions, for referrals to other departments at Yad Sarah, or simply to speak with a sympathetic person. People living alone often want only to make contact with another individual. The responders understand this and are appropriately warm and sympathetic to all. Operators respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. If clients have had no contact with the center for a specific length of time, volunteers will call to check up on them. The people who staff the Emergency Alarm Response Center are understandably proud of their work and of their state of the art system, considered to be the most advanced available. Everything in the system is state of the art. Recently, a new device that incorporates a sensor – worn as a pendant around the neck – alerts the system automatically in the case of a fall. Within seconds, the call center receives an alert and can respond to the subscriber. They quickly determine whether to alert a relative or friend or to call emergency services. As with medical equipment and other services at Yad Sarah, the Emergency Alarm Response System (EARS) is free of charge. Subscribers may sign up for related services such as special medical insurance that covers emergency ambulance service, consultations with doctors at special rates, and medical transportation services. The fees for these services, provided by outside contractors, do not go to Yad Sarah. According to Nahum Gitman, the director of the center, 2500 people signed up for the EARS last year. The goal for this year is to have 10,000 people enroll. Working with many support agencies and organizations, Yad Sarah depends on word of mouth and the satisfaction of its subscribers to publicize the benefit of the alarm system. Gitman looks forward to a time when all Yad Sarah branches throughout Israel will carry the emergency response equipment, which will make it even more accessible. At this time, the Jerusalem center dispatches the EARS within a few days to anywhere in the country, where anyone can easily install it themselves. Traditionally, most of us have assumed that the people who need or use the Emergency Alert Response System are elderly or infirm. Though most of the current subscribers belong to that population, Nahum Gitman reports that, in fact, many kindergartens have become subscribers in order to lower the response time to emergencies. He hopes to see EARS in senior residences all over the country. The operators at the center added that many businesses and mikvaot are also using the service. Gitman also recommends the service to families with children who spend many hours alone at home while their parents are at work. He encourages people of all ages to take advantage of the opportunity to ensure their personal health and safety. None of us can anticipate a medical emergency. Yad Sarah’s Emergency Alert Response System offers an option that works for any age and in any home or work environment. It is easy to install, easy to use, and unlike other private systems, is free of charge.

 
 
Third Graders Collect 500 Coins for Yad Sarah
The children wanted to help others less fortunate

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A Day at Yad Sarah
Chanukah is over and winter is upon us, but at Yad Sarah it is business as usual. See photo gallery above. Read more...

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Giving Stays in the Family
Elisheva Printz, lending director of the Jerusalem region, writes about Yad Sarah's newest branch in Kiryat Ye'arim (Telz- Stone) under the direction of the Felheimer family. * The family is continuing its own tradition as well as that of Yad Sarah's, and has established a local branch in their home * Photography: David Rothner *

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Hagit Yasu Gives Back
Customers who come to the Yad Sarah branch in Sderot are surprised to see Hagit Yasu sitting in front of one of the computers. (pictured) Hagit is well known as the winner of the "Kochav Nolad" program six years ago and received lots of publicity following the win.

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Where Does a Family from Oklahoma Turn When They Need Help in a Medical Emergency? Why, to Yad Sarah, Of Course!

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Yad Sarah is Now Part of the Fun in Jerusalem Family
When Fun in Jerusalem owner and creator Joanna Shebson was looking for a venue to host her family event, she chose Yad Sarah and became a fan

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Our Young People Also Give Back
Thanks to Shmuel Friedman, a high school student who has been volunteering at Yad Sarah's Givataim branch this summer. Helping out in the computer department,Shmuel also helps people carry borrowed equipment to their cars. We wish him the best of luck in his studies next year at a Jerusalem yeshiva. To volunteer, please call *6444

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Beit Safafa: Amina Aliyan speaks the Yad Sarah language
YS site reporter Sumiya Al Nabari talks with the director of the Jerusalem Beit Safafa branch

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As the Music Played, the Patient with Parkinson's Stopped Shaking
Hamutal Ben Or, director of the Day Rehabilitation Center at Yad Sarah House in Jerusalem, talks about a moment when music became therapy * Thanks to Musethica from all of us at Yad Sarah * Photographer: David Rothner

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