Older people helping organizations invite to visit old beneficiaries

October 1st is the International Day of the Seniors. The three largest Lithuanian organizations working for the seniors – Caritas, the Lithuanian Red Cross and the Order of Malta Relief organization in Lithuania invite the public to pay attention to the old people of Lithuania, their problems and announce their visit throughout the country.

Older people in Lithuania appear to be invisible, forgot with their problems, although they form a large part of society. Therefore, the three largest organizations working with seniors have united and invite to do a simple but important job and to visit their or simply familiar old people and give them attention and warmth.

Poverty and Loneliness is Everyday Life
“Visit today your own or simply acquainted old beneficiaries, invite them to have a tea, take a walk or just chat. If you do not have the opportunity to visit, call them. We really want this day to encourage people to more often remember the elderly people and help them, “says Gintarė Guzevičiūtė, Secretary General of the Lithuanian Red Cross.

When communicating with seniors, the organizations observe that old people face a lot of problems in Lithuania, one of them is poverty. According to the data of the Department of Statistics, the indicators of poverty and social exclusion in Lithuania are among the highest in the whole European Union. The highest levels of poverty are in the group of people of 65 years and older. Older people in Lithuania are not only poor, but often feel lonely and forgot by everyone, every third person over 65 years old lives alone in Lithuania.

Senior people can give us more than we do – they can share their unique experiences. After surviving exile, loss, political change, they are Lithuania’s century; they are real witnesses and participants of its history. Let’s take a look and see that their presence is the greatest gift. Without them, we would not be, “said Dalia Kedavičienė, Secretary General of the Order of Malta Relief organization.
When Pope Francis visited Lithuania one week ago, he urged not to forget our own roots, encouraging young people to communicate with people of older generation.

“Listen to what Pope Francis said to us. He calls us at a fast pace of life, to slow down the pace, to leave an uneasy anxiety and learn to look at the eyes of elderly and accompany those, who are left near the road. ” Today, many of our old people found themselves on the edge. Let’s stay along with them, let them live in dignity, “says Deimantė Bukeikaitė, Secretary General of Lithuanian Caritas.

Thousands of Volunteers will also Attend the Seniors
The volunteers of Caritas, the Lithuanian Red Cross and the Malta Relief organization, who have more than 5,000 people in total, will be visiting the seniors on the 1st of October.
Volunteers, depending on the assisting organization, nurse old people, provide them with permanent food assistance, care facilities, attend a doctor, help to deal with a wide variety of troubles or simply help to feel less solitary while being together and communicating.
“Once the elder woman I have visited said she liked some music. Then I recorded that music on a CD. When I started, the grandmother just shone and was so glad … It’s a small work for me, and for her it’s a great happiness, “says Jovita Umbrasaitė, a volunteer student of the Red Cross, visiting a lonely old woman.

Old people are visited and helped not only by young people, but also by the elderly, who often help their loved ones.
“For many years, I am a Maltese volunteer, I am transporting food packages to the older people in Vilnius,” says Audris Smilgevičius, 81, a technical scientist. – I see that they are waiting for me, especially those who live alone with diseases. With many of them I talk longer, we try to solve domestic problems. I’m glad to be useful at this age. Effective work gives me a lot of strength, health and satisfaction. I’ve been volunteering for 14 years. ”

Volunteering can help to establish genuine friendships. Caritas volunteer co-ordinator Veronika Grincevičienė from Pivašiūnai says that friendships are born in front of her eyes: “An old woman is living near us; she cannot leave the house due to illness. One volunteer started to attend her several years ago. I noticed that visits have become more frequent. Today these women are the best friends who share not only food, clothes, medications, but most of all – human warmth and attention to each other. ”
The International Day of the older persons has been celebrated since 1990. According to the Eurostat statistics agency, Lithuania in 2060 will have 2.5 million people; more than 800 thousand would be of retirement age.

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