Sparko TV – creating virtual retirement communities
Orit Eyal Fibeesh is the Chief Executive Officer of Sparko TV. Orit means small light, as she was born in December in Uganda. She has lived in Brazil, Belgium and for the past 18 years, Orit has lived in England. Eyal is the Hebrew conversion of her parents (who escaped Germany in the war) German name and Fibeesh is her husband’s name!
What is Sparko TV?
It starts with thinking about ageing in place. The founder of Sparko TV is Moti Bari Barmherzig. He is in his 70s now. Moti has dedicated much of his life to researching the elderly population all around the world. How should we age?
In the 1980s Moti developed the panic alarm button for elderly people in Israel.
What is a Supported Community?
The idea is that every 2-300 households that are connected to a panic button, they will form a community. It starts with the idea that people want to grow old at home, but as time ages us, we become more dependent on others. For certain services for example, supplied from people in the community. This could be a nurse, an admin resource, a handyman.
Moti retired. Then realised he had so much more to give. This passion to develop these ideas fully, lead to the development of Sparko TV.
It’s Community Delivered to Your Home
There are 3 Strands
- Be Involved and Active – The importance of community and being involved in it and active is crucial to the elderly.
- Be in Touch with Friends and Family – You can video call trusted family and friends. An app is available to family and friends to enable them to access their loved one too. The beauty is that there are no geographic boundaries. It is easy to do, with big buttons on the remote control.
- Live Activities – these are either in or outdoors. Imagine exercising in front of your TV. You cannot do that in front of a tablet. There are lots of classes available for members.
How Much Does it Cost?
£20 per month for Sparko TV. This is the first level of service. It’s around £60 per month if help is thrown in to the package. Plus you get a community, with similar interests.
The typical price for a carer is £25 per hour. Many people, (self-funders) ‘cheerfully’ pay this for daily or frequent visits from care providers.
The Sparko TV Process
There needs to be enough members in a community. At the same time, Sparko identify service providers. Each community is different. Some have a radio station, befriending service, maybe a church, retailers and handymen.
Communities need to be rich and big. The bigger the cohort the more likely you are find people with similar interests.
So, what advice does Orit have for YOUR PARENTS or the significant senior people in your lives?
The Target Age Group
The over 65s, but there are younger people involved already. There are more women as members. This could really benefit your loved ones. Imagine a life without activities, and regular access to friends and family? By the way did we mentioned that Friends and Family can access an app to share photos, and live talk to their loved one? Sparko have thought of most things, so all you have to do is be open to creating a community in your area.
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