150 years of serving humanity

The Swiss Red Cross seeks to improve the quality of seniors’ life. Older people should be able to lead an active, interesting, high-energy life, feel significant and fulfilled. In case an older person has health problems that prevent them from leading an active life, the person should receive medical and social assistance, together with a proper care.

One of the opportunities to lead an active and fulfilling life for an older person if to join some group, to become part of a community. To facilitate this process, the Swiss Red Cross has shared with the Belarus Red Cross Society a work approach with vulnerable groups, including the elderly, based on the principles of voluntary active participation. The participative community work approach is implemented by the Belarus Red Cross Society to create self-help initiative groups. Each initiative group consists of elderly volunteers who assist to particular elderly persons, but what is important is that those who provide assistance and those who get it can swap the roles. Thus, the socially vulnerable people become volunteers themselves and provide feasible assistance to other persons who need it even more. This is how the social isolation of the elderly is overcome. Currently the initiative groups operate in the Brest, Viciebsk, Hrodna, and Minsk regions.

Elderly people in need of home care are assisted by the Belarus Red Cross Society visiting nurses. The nurses help persons with serious illnesses, persons with disabilities, and those who cannot take care of themselves, first of all, the lonely elderly and the elderly living alone. Visiting nurses perform medical procedures, deliver medicines, provide the elderly with psychological support, as well as help the elderly to maintain hygiene, do housework, make payments. The support provided by the Swiss Red Cross for the period of over 10 years helped to make the work of the Visiting Nurses Service more effective. The level of professionalism and quality of care have increased, the resource base has improved, the system of teaching the basics of home care for volunteers, relatives and neighbors of the elderly in need of care has been introduced.

Related Resources
Old Age in Belarus: Global AgeWatch Index
Old Age in Belarus: Global AgeWatch Index
How to Measure Quality of Life in the Older Age?
Today two main tools are used to measure the quality of older age. Those are Active Ageing Index and Global AgeWatch Index.
Global AgeWatch Index 2015 Review resume — HelpAgeInternational
AgeWatch Index measures opportunities of older people covering 96 countries and 91% of the world population aged 60 and over.
Healthy and Active Ageing: the Experience of the Countries Where People Live Long and Well
How to live better, apart from living longer? Prepared by the Swiss Red Cross in Belarus.
Map of the initiative groups of older people
The Map represents the map of Belarus with pinpoints of towns and cities where active participation of the elderly in communities is advocated. As of February 1, 2017, 53 initiative groups of older people, including 8 resource groups, operate in 4 regions of the country.
“Empowering Older Persons Through the Implementation of the Participatory Community Work Approach”: Resume of the research Swiss Red Cross, 2016
The experience of active work in the communities was researched in Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria. Authors: Raisa Sinelnikova (Belarus) and Andrew Humphrey (Portugal).
Ageing and Health
Ageing in numbers and facts. Forecasts for Belarus, region and the world. Health care systems development considering population ageing. Prepared by the Swiss Red Cross in Belarus.
Strategy and action plan for healthy ageing in Europe, 2012–2020. WHO Regional Committee for Europe, 2012.- 29p.
European population is ageing rapidly. The proportion of people aged 65 and above is forecast to almost double between 2010 and 2050. How can we help the elderly remain active as long as possible?