Supporting Older People

We enable older people to live in dignity by meeting their physical and emotional needs.

Many older people in the former Soviet Union faced persecution and repression of their Jewish identity, having lived through Nazi occupation and decades under communism. Now, in their later years, economic instability caused by extremely low pensions and limited welfare support, often leads to ill health, loneliness, discrimination, disability and crippling poverty. 

Working in Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus and Moldova, we are supporting older people by providing practical assistance such as life-saving food and medicine. We ensure that if people’s homes are in need of repair, we fix them. If someone needs homecare assistance, we provide that too.

The crippling effects of loneliness are widely known and most common among older people. Our work brings older Jewish people together, forging a sense of community and combating isolation. Companionship is vital, so we arrange for people to visit each other’s homes every week to eat, talk, sing and share life experiences.

We also enable younger volunteers to spend time with older people and run activities for them. Our targeted befriending means that the loneliest in our community are not forgotten as they age.

Older people living with dementia in countries of the former Soviet Union can be among the most vulnerable because of a lack of public awareness about the condition. We aim to share expertise from the UK with staff in our partner organisations and the communities we support so people with dementia can be properly cared for. 

Read more about how you can sponsor a homecare worker here.

Step inside Sofia's home:

Use your mouse to move up, down, left and right to have a full 360° view of Sofia's home.

Last year, World Jewish Relief:

Supported 8,061 older people in Ukraine alone.

Repaired 462 homes for older people. This enabled them live safely and in dignity

Provided homecare workers for 1,359 older people, helping to combat isolation and loneliness.

Dvora's story

Dvora   older people detail
Dvora with her homecare worker, Lyudmila.

Grandmother. Survivor. Hero. 

Born in Ukraine in 1920, Dvora has lived through incredibly difficult times, enduring poverty, civil war, famine and the Holocaust. Sadly, like many older Jewish people in Ukraine, Dvora was isolated from both her community and family, who moved away from Ukraine. In the past, she has experienced great loneliness. 

Thanks to your generosity, we now provide Dvora with the vital homecare and companionship she needs.

Lyudmila, Dvora’s homecare worker, is her lifeline. We ensure that Lyudmila visits Dvora regularly, providing her with much-needed company and emotional support. Her visits have ensured that Dvora has begun sleeping better and no longer feels traumatised by her past.

Home Repair Programme

Bathroom detail
Typical bathroom before repair

Thousands of older people across the former Soviet Union are living in increasingly dilapidated homes. Poorly designed and constructed to start with, many Soviet apartment blocks have been neglected for decades. Poor, lonely and frail older people often have no means of repairing and improving their accommodation and as their health gets weaker and housing condition deteriorates – for many the situation is urgent and critical.

Working in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, the programme replaces windows, doors and installs insulation to makes homes warm and dry. Uneven floors are replaced, making it easier to move around. Bathrooms and kitchens are repaired, hot running water installed and shower cabins replace bath tubs.

The Home Repairs programme enables older people to stay independent, lowers risks of disease and injury and contributes to the overall improvement of their quality of life. 

We aim to repair 3500 homes over the next four years at an average cost of £2,000 per home.

Visit four families about to receive home repairs: