Everybody is obliged to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic; people over 65 in Serbia are even bound by law not to leave their house. However, there are people who are old and disabled, living in remote places, with no one to help them, whose already hard lives are even more complicated by COVID-19.
The days behind us were particularly hard, but they have put to the fore many heroes who reminded us about the true meaning of kindness, dedication, and solidarity. Among those heroes are geronto-housewives from Kursumlija, who have for years been helping those most in need.
Thanks to the European Union’s support for the elderly in the municipality of Kursumlija in southeast Serbia, geronto-housewives from the association “Help at Home” assist the elderly.
It should be noted that Kursumlija has slightly above 18,000 residents, 35% of whom account for the elderly; also, data shows that the population in this town is rapidly aging.
To plump up a pillow to an old woman bound to her bed or give a glass of water to an old man doesn’t seem much, but for the elderly who live alone, this kind of assistance is priceless. The only ones they can count on are caregivers, participants of the “Help at Home” project.
Help at home is a genuine need among people who are often neglected. This is why the self-titled project “Help at Home” was launched – to make a change in this area. Sixty beneficiaries – the elderly and persons with disabilities – receive assistance within the project, enjoying an improved quality of life. For each of them, “Help at Home” means overcoming difficulties, being optimistic again, creating the feeling of belonging to the community, better guidance and greater solidarity among family members and people who are closest to them.
For the past seven years, the Association of persons with disabilities from Kursumlija has been engaged in providing the “Help at Home” service to the elderly and people with disabilities, helping them to take a bath, freshen up, comb their hair, put their clothes on… Grocery shopping, washing, firing up the stove; helping them to take a walk or visit the doctor – these are some of the tasks carried out by six caregivers from Kursumlija.
Stay at home and think about those who put on masks and gloves, and leave their homes to bring food to someone else, change their clothes, and make their day.
The European Union directed over EUR32,000 to geronto-housewives’ training and purchase of hygiene maintenance equipment, while at the same time allowing the project to include an even greater number of beneficiary families.
“Help at home” project received additional support through ReLOaD regional EU funded programme. It is implemented by Western Balkans United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Association of persons with disability Kuršumlija.