woman in front of computer screen
An older adult connects to the Selfhelp virtual platform. (Photo courtesy of Selfhelp)

Loneliness is a pressing issue facing many Americans today; this is especially true with the older adults. Selfhelp Community Services, a New York-based not-for-profit organization, sought to unite isolated older adults through the internet. Efforts related to its Virtual Senior Center earned Selfhelp a Gold award in the Building Bridges category of the Senior Living track of the 2022 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards.

The Building Bridges category recognized the use of technology that improved connections between staff members and residents and/or their families.

Selfhelp is dedicated to maintaining the independence and dignity of seniors and at-risk populations through a spectrum of senior housing, home health care and social services. Via computer or television screen, users can access the Virtual Senior Center to learn about resources available to them. Computer classes are provided to those who need them. The platform also facilitates remote monitoring and telehealth services, and a new initiative works toward diversity, equity and inclusion for LGBTQ+ older adults.

Selfhelp COO Russell Lusak said that the organization was “thrilled” with the recognition from McKnight’s.

“As a social wellness platform, the VSC engages participants through live interactive online classes, recorded content, virtual community events and virtual chats hosted by volunteer facilitators,” he said. “These meaningful connections reduce social isolation for older adults and provide a lifeline to volunteers and staff for ongoing assistance. Importantly, the VSC positively impacts the social determinants of health outcomes of older adults through intentional engagement.”

Other award winners in the Senior Living track’s Building Bridges category:

  • Silver: Friendship Village Senior Services, St. Louis, for its use of the SmartCompanion virtual assistant.
  • Bronze: Cypress Cove, Fort Myers, FL, for its use of K4Connect.

Read about the Building Bridges category winners in the Skilled Nursing track on the McKnight’s Long-Term Care News website and in the Home Care track on the McKnight’s Home Care website.

See a list of all 2022 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards Senior Living track winners here.

The Platinum sponsor of the 2022 McKnight’s Tech Awards + Summit is KARE. Gold sponsors are iN2L + LifeLoop, IntelyCare and Saiva.

To view the virtual awards presentation and recordings of the Summit webinars, visit mcknights.com/100422techawards.