Case Study: Bet Shemesh Protects Its Seniors

Dr. Harold Goldmeier manages an investment firm, is a writer, and public speaker He was a Research & Teaching Fellow at Harvard. He can be reached at Harold.goldmeier@gmail.com

A simple public interest story.

The city of Bet Shemesh is situated midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It is reportedly the fastest growing city home to a young population. Senior citizens were asked to register when things got dicey with the unimaginably contagious novel C-19, so the government will know where we live. Ominous.

We registered online. This was to reveal itself as a well-thought-out public health plan, reflections from my professor at Harvard, Nathan Glazer, who defined the purpose of government programs as foremost in the public interest.  We got well-check calls. Then meals delivered to our door first by city workers and eventually by army personnel. I surmise the government does not want its seniors going grocery shopping, since we are highly susceptible to the virus, suffer extraordinary damage, consume expensive medical resources, and have high rates of death. Their plan is to keep us away from the maddening crowds.

Also, senior citizens tend to not eat nutritious meals or consistently when isolated. Providing filling, balanced meals, and packages of fresh vegetables encourage us to eat well to keep our strength up. It is less expensive and more humane for the government to have us eat at home than feeding us intravenously in a hospital bed.  Promoting health and preventing disease is the essence of smart and effective public health measures.

Today we lived dangerously and took a walk. Sedentary seniors have their health problems exacerbated. We suffer increased pain and notice it more. We put on weight and worry. Our muscles soften and balance is affected. We were keeping a safe distance from the few others walking and kids on bicycles. A police car driving past suddenly crossed the road blocking traffic and stopped nearly parallel in our path. The officer leaned out her window and handed us envelopes. I thought…tickets. Nope. Inside each envelope were three surgical masks to replace our homemade fashionable masks; “these fit better and will protect you better,” she told me.

And there were kosher for Passover meals delivered. And more well-check calls. “How are you guys? Do you have any fever or coughing? Do you feel well? Do you want to ask me anything?” One asked if we need any medicines? “Are you taking your medicine?” Ensuring the safety of public health is but one aspect of the government’s responsibilities. Treating the elderly with dignity demonstrates good government is made up of good people. Everyone can take a lesson and share in our pride for our government.

I offered one soldier some oranges but she refused to take anything. So, the least we can do is thank the people in the government for being generous and kind and tell you to feel free to share this story.

About the Author
Dr. Goldmeier is a former Research and Teaching Fellow at Harvard University and teaches international university students in Tel Aviv. His new book is HEALTH INSIGHTS @ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E3S2MU0 He served in the administrations of three US governors and Surgeon General, is a commerce and industry consultant, writer, and public speaker on social, health, and public policy issues.
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