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Supporting Elderly People in Ukraine

Ukraine Crisis: How we’re supporting elderly people

Older people, who make up a quarter of Ukraine’s population, faced difficulties in pre-war Ukraine and since 1991 World Jewish Relief’s partners have been a lifeline for this group. Sadly, over 60s account for 34% of civilian deaths in Ukraine, and older people are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of the war. They are less able to evacuate to safe places, and often unwilling to uproot their lives, despite the dangers of staying. An estimated 90% of our older Jewish clients have remained in their homes. One partner told us that for their older clients “staying home is a remedy in itself, even under shelling”. And as their family members flee to safety, older people are left with diminished support systems.

We have helped older people who have fallen while racing to bomb shelters, become malnourished while stuck at home avoiding missile attacks, and those unable to access critical medication. As prices have risen by 24.8%, with medicine and healthcare especially costly, we are providing essentials to those whose already meagre pensions are now impossible to live on. And as power outages leave older people without means of cooking, cut off from loved ones, and often stranded in high-rise apartment blocks without a functioning lift, our partners are ensuring older people have companionship, as well as food, water and winter essentials such as blankets and heaters.

Above all, the psychological impacts of war on older people are severe; one partner told us “Everyone is tired of uncertainty, many are scared and their chronic diseases are worsening” Yet thankfully, the devices World Jewish Relief provided during the Covid-19 lockdowns are helping older people stay connected with loved ones.