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Support for Older People

We provide life-saving assistance and care to older Jews of the Survivor Generation, focussing particular attention to those impacted by the war in Ukraine.


Our goal is to improve the quality of life of older people living in poverty in eastern Europe. Ukraine is our primary country of focus, but we also support people living in Moldova, Belarus, Georgia and Poland.

Once accomplished doctors, teachers, physicists and scientists, many of the older people we support are now living in poverty, with little or no savings and pensions that can be as low as £60 a month, forcing them to routinely choose between eating, heating or medicine. State social security and care is still provided at a very minimal level in the countries we work in.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is exacerbating Ukraine’s demographic crisis and it now has Europe’s highest proportion of older individuals, many of whom are suffering from multiple illnesses, disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. The need for good health and social care for Ukraine’s older people has never been more acute.

Our Impact


people helped in the last year (2022-23)


homes repaired in the last year (2022-23)


hours of homecare provided in the last year

How do we work?

Through our network of trusted local partner organisations, we meet basic physical needs by providing food, medicine and health care. Together we provide professional homecare services to people living alone and with physical impairments. We repair people’s homes to make them suitable for living.

We do not want older people to simply survive as they age. Our partners provide a complex range of meaningful opportunities to keep older people connected and active as they age, tackling loneliness and isolation which is so damaging in our later years.

Our pioneering dementia care programme is transforming lives by providing opportunities for communities to better understand the condition, support those caring for relatives with dementia, and help people live with dementia.

Supporting Active Ageing

Our projects help older people maintain their health, independence and mobility, provide psychological and emotional wellbeing support, homecare, and support management of chronic health conditions.

Home Repairs

We repair unliveable homes either damaged by warfare or as a result of disrepair, focusing on insulating against the cold and making accessibility changes, enabling older people to live in dignity.

Humanitarian aid in Ukraine

Our humanitarian projects prioritise older people as a highly vulnerable group with overlooked needs, providing material aid, safe spaces, temporary accommodation, and winter support.

See our Projects in Action

Support to carers of people living with dementia

Mikhail and Tatyana in Kyiv, Ukraine, participate in World Jewish Relief’s project supporting the relatives and carers of people living with dementia.

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A Vital Lifeline

During the pandemic, World Jewish Relief focused on keeping older people connected and ensuring they were not left isolated in lockdowns. Tatiana’s story is an example of the importance of this work.

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The war came to Valentina

With missile attacks still battering the country, homes and especially windows are often damaged. Valentina's story is an example of how quickly we can act to repair such damage.

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War in Ukraine

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. Despite their numbers, there are more agencies focused on helping children than helping older people. 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

Paul Anticoni sitting on bed with elderly woman holding his hand

As prices have risen by nearly 25%, 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.