Israel has a very interesting history in dealing with its elderly population.

While currently the proportion of over 65 year olds in Israel is relatively low compared to Israel’s OECD counterparts, for much of the 1990s, Israel had an interesting kink in its population pyramid. It had a disproportionate number of elderly over 75 years and over (mainly consisting of holocaust survivors and veterans of the six wars).  To understand how significant of an impact this was, think of this statistic: the number of those 75 and over increased by 90% between 1970 and 1990[1].

All this will change going forward though. Israel’s population pyramid will look quite different. Due to the country’s high fertility rate and influx of population, the next decade will see a reverse of the ageing trend as the young elderly population (elderly 79 and younger) will increase at a faster rate than the over 75 year old cohort[2].

From Old-Old Elderly to Young-Old Elderly

This shift in the situation combined with Israel’s legacy for dealing with the old-old elderly has created quite an interesting approach to treating the elderly in the country (an elderly population that is increasingly consisting of young elderly members).

Many of the structures and players in the 1970s-1990s have used old business models but adapted their services in interesting ways to deal with the ‘new’ elderly situation today.

One such player is Yad Sarah.

Yad Sarah is a nation-wide non-profit founded in Jerusalem. The organization provides loans of rehabilitation, medial and paramedical equipment and support services and such services are free for the end user.

As Yad Sarah was founded in 1976, it was founded during the time when there were a disproportionate number of people over 75 years of age. Reducing cost of care was paramount in a scenario with a disproportionate large number of over 75 year olds, so Yad Sarah developed an innovative model to deliver its service nationwide at a relatively low cost.

Yad Sarah was able to provide low-cost care by tapping on a cadre of willing volunteers and networks (the organization is well-known for employing a low level of full-time staff relative to volunteers). Also, thru its innovative business model of offering a loan for equipment, Yad Sarah can maximize the recycling of such equipment, saving costs.

Introducing New Gadgets to the Young-Elderly

To reach and care for this young elderly population across the Israel, an elderly population that is more likely to successfully age at home or in their communities, Yad Sarah has combined its innovative business model and service delivery model with the latest in young elderly technologies to better help the aged lead a fuller and more fulfilling life.

To reach the elderly directly in their communities, Yad Sarah’s employs a mobile unit that can go across the country and into various communities so that Yad Sarah volunteers can bring technologies directly to the elderly to educate them on the new gadgets available and demonstrate to use such devices and activities to age successfully at home.

Gadgets showcased include tools to help the elderly pick up items from the floor to monitors that can magnify writing to make letters easier to read and special jugs to reduce the force needed to pour water.

What an innovative low-cost way of providing nation-wide coverage. Not to mention a hands-on-way of marketing the latest in elderly technologies directly to the people who need it the most, in their communities.

More information on Yad Sarah, its mobile unit, and the gadgets for the elderly, can be seen in this YouTube video.


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