Protecting Elders in Times of Crisis
Palestinian culture dictates that elders be treated with a lot of respect and familial structures mean that as you get older, you can expect your family to support you. There are however many elders who have no family support or have special needs that their families cannot meet. There are also many elderly Palestinians with health issues and living in poverty.
Interpal has worked to support those most marginalised and struggling within Palestinian society. Our largest programme may focus on children, however we support Palestinian elder with health care support, seasonal aid and by supporting elderly care centres in Lebanon and Gaza.
Palestinian elders have unfortunately borne the weight of occupation and trauma for many years. They are also witnessing the situation facing their own children and grand-children. They have been carers and becoming dependent on others is both difficult and anxiety inducing.
Many of the elders we have met with show great steadfastness and faith. It is heartening to meet with them and hear about their memories, which can be sweet and also full of sorrow.
Seeing elders living alone, unable to cope with their disabilities or struggling to survive is both heartbreaking and frustrating.
Our team was reduced to tears upon meeting an elderly grandmother in Ein el Helweh Camp in Lebanon who was bed bound and could not afford hygiene supplies and food. She only had a grandson to take care of her at night but spent the day alone in her room. Seeing someone who has lost so much and cry for herself was truly humbling. Societal safety nets are so important and the most vulnerable need to be sought out and supported. In Lebanon, our team are ensuring that vulnerable elderly beneficiaries are not forgotten and will be provided support in Ramadan.
Interpal has supported the El Wafa Elderly Care Center in Gaza for many years via financial support, meals during Ramadan, equipment and supplies and emergency aid after the centre was destroyed during the 2014 bombardment. During the global pandemic, the elderly are particularly vulnerable and El Wafa houses over 30 elders that have no other place to stay and require constant care. Our field team recently provided the centre with vital supplies to help staff and the residents. This included hygiene supplies and food.
We will respond to the needs on the ground as they develop and work to ensure the most vulnerable are not forgotten. This Ramadan, as well all worry for our elders, let us remember there are many without the love and support of their families. They need local community networks and Interpal is committed to supporting these mechanisms and helping to meet to their basic needs.
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