November 8, 2013

Active aging in Macedonia

In Macedonia, where older people are a strong risk of poverty and socially isolated group, in 2050, about a quarter of the population will be older than 65 years. Mobile care services, social support and institutional support are hardly available for this population. The Austrian Red Cross therefore supports its sister company in Macedonia with the aim to establish home help and care and thus improve the living conditions of older people. Mobile home nursing With the support of the Austrian Development Cooperation mobile care teams in Skopje, Veles and Kriva Palanka were built that take care of since autumn 2011 by more than 180 single and dependent elderly people. These teams are made up of Red Cross volunteers and employed caregivers. In addition to the social and medical care also food and hygiene packages are provided. In Kriva Palanka, a community on the border with Bulgaria, especially many older volunteers are involved in the home visits. They accompany their elderly fellow while walking or doctor visits and support them in everyday things. The pensioner Katica Borisovka from Kriva Palanka visited three patients per week. It emphasizes the importance of both social contact for the elderly, as well as assisting in the practical work. “I go shopping, accompany them to the doctor or cook a soup,” says Borisovka: “One of my patients has Parkinson I help you getting up and going for a walk with her I just do whatever is necessary…” Involve older volunteers in the visiting services has many advantages: nurses and patients have similar interests and common topics of conversation. The commitment also helps the helpers to stay fit and socially involved. Participation of communities to enable sustainable Through successful public relations in Macedonia could create an awareness of the needs of older people and willingness to volunteer to be strengthened. The three local municipalities have been actively involved in the project and finance since 2012 important additional services, such as a day center for senior citizens in Skopje or a physical therapist for the mobile maintenance team in Veles. These successful projects and currently ongoing intensive negotiations with the municipalities and the private sector can hope for a sustainable funding, could be further supported by the nearly 200 old people in Macedonia.

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