The National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi) operates a Counseling Service for the Elderly which is designed to assist the elderly and their families in resolving problems they may be facing.
The service is available to any elderly person in Israel who requires assistance, and is offered in all Bituach Leumi branches throughout the country. Click here for contact information.
The service is provided by retired volunteers who are trained in courses given at universities and colleges to provide counseling, guidance and practical assistance to the elderly.
The Counseling Service for the Elderly operates a special telephone line for the elderly and their families on aging-related issues. The service, which is provided by specially-trained volunteers, operates Sunday – Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m (you can leave a message if there is no response) and is available in the following languages:
English – 02-6463404Hebrew – 02-6463400Arabic – 02-6463401Russian – 02-6463402Amharic – 02-6463403
The elderly and their families can obtain information, assistance, guidance and support related to claiming rights and services for the elderly from Bituach Leumi and other organizations, offices and service providers.
Volunteers visit the elderly on a regular basis once a month, for about two hours. The visits are only made with the consent of the elderly person and at his/her request. Through these home visits, the volunteers forge a personal, understanding, accepting and sympathetic relationship which is so important to the elderly, to improve their emotional and economic situation. These regular visits help the elderly, reduce their loneliness and improve their lives in general.
Seniors who may be at risk or in distress are identified by means of one-time home visits, which are coordinated in advance with the elderly person or his/her family. The target population includes those defined as being at risk due to impaired functioning and dependence on others, advanced age (above the age of 80) or family status (widowed). The information is obtained from the Bituach Leumi database. Those found to be in need of assistance, such as referral to a care facility, some kind of intervention or regular home visits, receive continued care and follow-up.
The types of support groups vary from one branch to another, and are established according to the unique needs of the local population, such as the elderly blind, spouses of long-term care patients, the middle generation who are coping with the age-related crises of their elderly parents, etc.
There are support groups for widows and widowers at every branch. The main purpose of these groups is to provide emotional assistance during the crisis and support in preparing to return to their normal lives. The group facilitators are social workers and professionals in the field of elder counseling at the branches. The groups contain up to 15 participants and the meetings continue for about three months, once a week for two hours each time. Participation in the groups serves as a significant anchor for the participants – they share with other group members the process of working through their grief and coping with their personal loss, and they acquire the spiritual strength and personal validation they need to return to a normal life.
For more information on Bituach Leumi’s Counseling Service for the Elderly, click here.
For more information on rights related to seniors, check out our All Rights Index (which is searchable and browseable), especially the Old Age and Aging Portal and Senior Health Portal.
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I tried to call them several times (June 2013) and left messages on the English number. They never called back. AACI called them for me and left a message, saying they were calling from AACI. This time they did call back. My phone rang once and they hung up without waiting or leaving a message. I know it was them because I called the number which had called me and it was the Bituach Leumi English line in the 04 area code. So far – useless!
Thanks for your input, Harvey, we hope others have had a better experience, though unfortunately it often requires much patience to get the assistance you need.
If I am getting “kitzbat zikna” with “hashlamat nechut” – and I have 100% nechut – then do I have 80% reduction on arnona? I am getting 3 different answers from the Arnona office – and I don’t trust them. Where can I find out the facts and the numbers before I go back in, pls
Hi Sarah, According to an informational booklet published by the Ministry for Senior Citizens (pages 40-41 of the booklet found here), anyone receiving a “kitzbat zikna” with “hashlamat nechut” or “kitzbat zikna l’neche” is entitled to a 100% discount for up to 100 sq. m. as long as they don’t exceed the income limits, and provide all required proof/documentation (i.e. Bituach Leumi documents, proof of rental/ownership of the property). It would therefore seem that you are entitled to a full exemption on both counts and you just need to make sure that you bring the relevant documentation with you when you go to claim it.