New Internet Cafe opens at Beth Abraham

Beth Abraham Health Services celebrated the opening of its Internet Café on Thursday, May 28. (L-r) Micahel Fassler, president and CEO of Beth Abraham Health Services; Erica Campbell, chief-of-staff for Naomi Rivera; Jessica Champagine, resident council president; Margaret Rivers, executive director; Arlene Patterson, and Clari Gilbert, executive vice-president and COO at the ribbon cutting. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

Seniors learning to surf the web to connect with friends and family, as well as younger people looking to go online to complete GEDs or college credits will have no problem accessing the information superhighway at Beth Abraham Family of Health Services’ nursing facility.

Beth Abraham, at 621 Allerton Avenue, celebrated the installation of its Internet Café for residents of its long-term nursing programs with a ribbon cutting on Thursday, May 28. The café includes stationary and mobile workstations with special types of equipment that aides seniors or those recovering from injuries.

The Internet Café, located on the first floor of the facility, was made possible through a $50,000 grant from Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera. For the past two years, administrators at the medical treatment facility were working on upgrading older computers already available to the residents.

“The $50,000 grant was used to put computers not only in the internet café, but also in different parts of the building for those residents who cannot come to the cafe,” said Clari Gilbert, executive vice president and C.O.O. of Beth Abraham Family of Health Services. “We had to use specialty programs that are adaptable to the resident’s needs. This includes larger screens and keyboards, and other equipment.”

Gilbert added that making the computers friendly to senior populations and younger people recovering in the facility makes the Internet Café a more costly proposition, so the grant from Assemblywoman Rivera was even more needed and appreciated. She said that given where technology is going, she thought the hospital would benefit in investing in laptops and workstations for the largely senior nursing care population.

Assemblywoman Rivera said that she was excited that her grant money would allow seniors and younger people of the Beth Abraham’s rehabilitative services to have more access to the world.

“I think that this fits with my mission to keep our seniors connected with the community and keep them involved and active,” said Rivera. “It allows them to connect to family, continue to learn, and to be part of the larger community. It also helps some of the younger residents stay active and stimulated by taking on line classes and perhaps earn a GED or college credits.”

With younger people making up about 20% of the beds at Beth Abraham Health Services Facility, the new technology is not just necessary for keeping in touch with family but also for education purposes as well.

“For younger people like myself, who is in school and doing coursework online, the Internet Café is extremely useful,” said Jessica Champagnie, resident council president of Beth Abraham Health Services. “It is helpful with learning about housing options as well, and also to keep in contact with family members who are out of state.”

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