Established in 2010, the Virtual Senior Center (VSC) is a community-building platform that helps older and homebound adults connect and engage with each other through virtual and hybrid classes. The VSC supports organizations build their own online community quickly and easily. The VSC was created by Selfhelp Community Services, a nonprofit organization founded in 1936 to help those fleeing Nazi Germany maintain their independence and dignity as they struggled to forge new lives in America. The need to create the VSC emerged as more and more Selfhelp members became homebound due to physical ailments or an inability to receive services in person. The VSC offers a senior friendly interface that keeps members connected and engaged. We offer a diverse curriculum across 18 different categories, including: Computers / Technology , History , Music , Art, Literature & Culture , Exercise & Wellness. Over 500 live, facilitator-led classes are offered every month across 5 different languages, including English, Russian, Korean, Spanish and Mandarin.
The VSC was created out of a need to keep homebound older adults connected to their communities and eliminate social isolation. It enables homebound seniors to participate virtually in intriguing live classes, tour world famous museums, interact with peers across the country, engage in wellness activities, and most importantly expand their social network. It has been shown to reduce social isolation by up to 85% and improve participants’ quality of life by 97%. It is a lifeline for those vulnerable older adults that are isolated at home. The VSC also offers community groups and organizations the technology and guidance needed to efficiently connect to and deliver their classes and services virtually to their populations, and to do it within an easy to manage and secure platform. Safety has always been a top priority for the older adult communities we serve. The VSC is an award winning, ADA & WCAG Level 2 Compliant, fully administrator-controlled platform, ensuring the safety, accessibility and well-being of its members.
The VSC also offers community organizations the ability to connect their homebound members to community-based, hybrid programs that’s happening in their centers in real-time. Community organizations are able to easily manage their members and content all in one place. No more pre-registering for classes or managing and distributing multiple zoom links.
Recognizing the need to break down technological barriers to using new types of devices or being connected online for the first time, the VSC launched a new platform in December 2020 and now includes tablet apps which are available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The improved interface and design now allows older adults to connect more easily to their communities from their preferred device.