From February 1, 2021, the Red Cross of Montenegro continues the realization of the project Home Care Cross Border, in cooperation with the Red Cross of Albania, and with the financial support of the Italian Red Cross.
The project will last 12 months and aims to improve the quality of life and position of the elderly in the two neighboring countries through the provision of various social services. In Montenegro, the project will be implemented in 8 municipalities: Andrijevica, Bar, Cetinje, Berane, Kolašin, Nikšić, Rožaje and Plav. Project beneficiaries are persons: who are 65 or older, who live alone or with a family member who is also in need, who have minimal or no income, who have health problems and who do not receive similar support from another institution, or organizations.
During March and April, the project envisages the distribution of humanitarian aid in the form of food and hygiene for the 400 most socially vulnerable elderly people from these 8 municipalities. This type of assistance has been identified as a priority, especially in a crisis situation caused by the outbreak of the COVID19 virus. During the first three months, the project will also procure uniforms and protective equipment for volunteers and employees.
From the beginning of May, about 100 volunteers will start home visits and provide volunteer support services for about 280 seniors from: Andrijevica, Bar, Cetinje, Berane, Kolasin, Niksic, Rozaje and Plav. Through regular home visits, volunteers will provide the following services: psycho-social support, groceries, payment of bills, help with minor household chores, scheduling examinations, escort when going to the doctor… For the most vulnerable users, the Red Cross will provide additional assistance on a monthly basis in the form of food, hygiene, but also medicines.
If the epidemiological situation allows it, from July, 5 clubs for the elderly in the Red Cross organizations will continue to operate: Bar, Budva, Nikšić, Podgorica and Plav. The club for the elderly gathers a certain number of users of the “Care for the Elderly” program, who spend several hours once or twice a week with Red Cross volunteers. The idea is that through this type of gathering, older people become more active, share experiences, problems and get information about topics that interest them. Thus, workshops on the topic of health are most often organized within the club, then handicrafts are made, knitting, crocheting, sewing, traditional cooking recipes are written, board games are played, first aid training, computer, skype or telephone use is organized. , classes of corrective gymnastics, foreign languages are held … In addition, the club celebrates important dates and holidays. All activities are organized by volunteers, including experienced doctors. The club for the elderly often organizes joint excursions or social evenings, where users exhibit their works or choose a place they would like to visit. Through these activities, the feeling of togetherness, satisfaction is strengthened, and the feeling of loneliness, helplessness and isolation is reduced. In addition to social activities, users are offered: refreshments during their stay in the Club, humanitarian aid, advice and information on other available support services, but also measurement of blood pressure, blood sugar levels, as well as periodic checking of general health. The clubs are also implementing the Healthy Aging project, in which seniors learn about the following topics: life flow approach and functional ability, health assessment, behavior change, prevention of non-communicable diseases, prevention of falls, prevention of social isolation, healthy diet, importance of physical activity and lifelong learning . Over 30 younger volunteers are involved in the work of the clubs, so intergenerational solidarity is promoted through all activities. Clubs for the elderly will have about 100 users in 2021.
For the elderly from remote villages, the Red Cross will provide occasional visits of doctors aimed at checking the health status of users and, if necessary, referral to professional help in the competent institutions.
The project will also mark two important dates, October 1, the International Day of Older Persons, as well as June 15, the Day for Combating Violence against the Elderly. Both dates will be celebrated throughout Montenegro, with the participation of the elderly and their key messages to the community. The goal of these events is to draw public attention to the problems and needs of the elderly in order to work together to solve them.
In cooperation with colleagues from the Red Cross of Albania and Italy, two trainings are planned for volunteers and employees, on the topic of providing support to the elderly. This year, the focus will be on providing psychosocial support to the elderly in crisis situations such as the earthquake in Albania and the outbreak of the COVID19 virus. The goal of these trainings is to constantly build the capacity of the Red Cross to respond to the needs of the elderly, as well as to exchange experiences on responding to the new challenges that last year brought. In addition to the two regional trainings, the Red Cross of Montenegro will organize one national training for 30 volunteers who, after acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge to work with the elderly, will be involved in providing support services for this population.
The first meeting of the MORC secretaries who will implement the project was held on February 16. The purpose of the meeting was to present the project, roles, responsibilities and all activities planned for the next 12 months.
The services included in the “Care for the Elderly” project are community life support services, which enable the elderly to stay in their natural environment for as long as possible, while preserving dignity and quality of life.