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Queens Chronicle

Parker Institute seniors are staying connected

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Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2013 10:30 am

The days when computers and the elderly were considered incompatible are long gone, judging by the excitement that surrounded the recent opening of a new computer lab for the residents and patients at Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation.

“The residents love to use the computers,” said Marlene Hobson, president of the resident council at the facility.

“They stay up to date,” said Jacob Berlin, Parker’s director of therapeutic recreation. “They stay in touch with their loved ones. We try to bring everything outside into Parker.”

The latest donation of state-of-the-art technology comes courtesy of Custom Computer Specialists, a leading services provider, which, Berlin said, donated technology to Parker years ago and has now been “kind enough to upgrade” the equipment. Five new computers were installed for use by Parker’s clients.

“Our residents love the large keyboard and screen,” Berlin said, adding that the new computers come with touch-screen capabilities, making the use of a keyboard unnecessary.

“In the past, the computer lab was generally used by only the most computer-savvy,” said Michael Rosenblut, Parker’s president and CEO. “The new technology was chosen with the disparate abilities of the residents and patients in mind.”

Featuring the latest computing solutions from Dell, the lab will help patients and residents connect with families and friends both near and far. In addition, they will be able to access the latest news; pursue leisure, sports and business interests; and participate in games and other interactive options.

“In an era when virtually everything is moving online, the donation by Custom really opens new worlds for Parker’s residents and patients,” institute Chairman Lenny Tanzer said. “We are very grateful for the generosity of Greg Galdi, Custom’s founder and president.”

The lab is welcoming to virtually all residents, thanks to its video conferencing abilities, touch-screen technology and super-sized keyboard lettering.

Rosenblut amused the crowd of about three dozen on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony with a brief anecdote of a resident who had been seen “playing the horse races in Yonkers” on one of the computers. “I was delighted,” he said, jokingly adding, “I got a little nervous that it could screw up his Medicaid.”

The facility, located in New Hyde Park, LI, just over the city line, offers sub-acute care, short-term rehabilitation, a nursing home, adult healthcare, home healthcare and medical transportation, among other services, and serves approximately 1,800 patients daily, including just over 500 who are permanent residents.

Galdi, who was honored in 2012 by Parker for his charity, said, “Custom’s relationship with Parker transcends a traditional business relationship. We consider Parker family, and we are honored to provide the residents with the technologies that help keep them connected to the world and their families.”

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