In Handy 08:15 28 Oct 2022

Grandparents' Day: 10 ways to support older people during war

Supporting your elderly relatives and helping them is necessary and not difficult at all. We explain what you can do and also share tips on how to help lonely older people.

What is the problem?

Grandparents' Day is celebrated in Ukraine every year on October 28. The holiday of grandparents appeared pretty recently in 2009. The Dutch Flower Bureau founded the holiday with the idea that grandchildren congratulate their grandparents on this day and present them with pots of fresh flowers, symbolizing the connection of generations. The primary purpose of the holiday was to show the older generation that they remain an essential part of their grandchildren's lives. And the grandchildren learned to respect and value their relatives.

But the heartfelt and touching holiday in honor of grandparents during russia's full-scale war in Ukraine takes on a new meaning. Our elderly now need special attention not only in the form of flowers and words of love but also help in overcoming today's challenges.

What is the solution?

Of course, Ukrainians take care of their elderly relatives regardless of any special days. However, today is another reason to make sure that everything is okay with our grandparents, help them stock up on a set of food products and household items necessary during the war, support them, and also take care of those older people who do not have children or grandchildren. 

Rubryka offers ten ways to show your love and respect to the elderly and help them cope with the war.

How does it work? 

1. Stay in touch

День бабусь та дідусів: 10 способів підтримати стареньких під час війни

It's difficult for older people to understand and experience the war in Ukraine, especially those who saw the horrors of the Second World War. They desperately need to hold on to whatever remains stable in this crazy world that, even without wars, is often overwhelming for them. That is why visits by relatives, daily phone calls, and text communication are so important for older people.

If you live in different cities and cannot meet your loved ones, call elderly family members in the morning and evening. During conversations, try to be calm so as not to transfer your anxiety. Be sure to give the phone to the smallest members of the family—children, and grandchildren. It is also worth agreeing on the time when you call. 

This way, you will support each other. You will know if everything is okay with your grandparents, and they will see that they have a family that takes care of them.

2. Talk about how to act in a crisis and be prepared for everything

Prepare an "emergency suitcase" for grandparents in case of evacuation, including documents. If it is difficult for them to go down to the bomb shelters, determine and arrange a safe place in the apartment during air raids (remember the "rule of two walls"). Tell the older people about the rules for staying in the apartment during an air raid. 

Explain how to act in extreme situations. For example, explain to them how to behave under the rubble if the house came under fire. Make a medallion with information for rescuers and medics: personal data, diagnoses, contraindications, and blood group.

It would be best if you did not rely only on yourself when supporting elderly relatives at a distance. Let's establish contact with representatives of the management company or co-up where your relatives live, with social security workers in the communities. Sign up for a home or village chat. So you will get more information about what is happening in the place where your relatives live, and they will be able to get help in time if you cannot be around. Get to know the neighbors of your grandparents, exchange contacts, leave a list of necessary medicines, agree on a messenger to monitor the condition of the elderly, and possible help (for example, the purchase of medications, products, household goods, provision of humanitarian aid, etc.).

3. Help stock up on food

День бабусь та дідусів: 10 способів підтримати стареньких під час війни

Don't get in the way of older people's desire to stock up on food. This is a normal reaction of people who know firsthand about famine. On the contrary, help them do it. Currently, power outages are possible, so older people will only sometimes have the opportunity to use the elevator to go down to the store.

A list of products that will help the elderly stay at home for several days in case of forced isolation was created during the coronavirus pandemic. The standard product set is based on the foundation's 5-year experience working with the elderly. 

The set contains nine items: 

  • buckwheat – 1 kg, 
  • pasta – 800 g, 
  • rice – 1 kg, 
  • sugar – 1 kg, 
  • wheat grain  – 700 g, 
  • canned stewed pork – 170 g, 
  • sunflower oil – 850 ml, 
  • waffles – 216 g, 
  • toilet paper – 1 pc. 

Other products—long-storable vegetables, bread, honey, eggs—should be added to this minimum. 

Take care of the supply of drinking and technical water.

4. Help survive the energy crisis

Make sure that elderly relatives have alternative sources of light—not fire-hazardous candles, but a flashlight or emergency lamp with a battery. Occasionally remind them of the importance of keeping these devices charged (just like phones). 

Do they have enough warm clothes and blankets? After all, older people get colder than younger ones. 

If grandparents use an electric blanket or other electric heaters, remind them during the evening call that they should turn off the heating equipment at night.

Insulate windows and doors for elderly relatives. 

5. Take care of elderly relatives' health, and help with medicines

День бабусь та дідусів: 10 способів підтримати стареньких під час війни

Have a list of necessary medicines for your relatives on hand. During a personal visit, check that everything is in stock, and do not hesitate to throw out expired or damaged drugs, replacing them with fresh ones. Calculate the amount of medicine for at least one month. Place the first aid kit in an accessible place.

A container for pills will help your older relative not to miss taking medication. It is divided into sections that correspond to the days of the week and time of day: morning, afternoon, evening, and night. People with impaired vision can use the accessory: Braille is printed on some models for convenience. In such a container, the necessary medicines will always be at hand.

In large cities, if necessary, you can also order the delivery of medicines by courier. 

Provide relatives with a safe (non-mercury) thermometer, an automatic device for measuring blood pressure, and, if necessary, a glucometer.

6. Take care of relatives' emotional state 

День бабусь та дідусів: 10 способів підтримати стареньких під час війни

It is also worth taking care of the psychological well-being of the elderly. Life in uncertainty and the unknown is a difficult test, so if elderly relatives want access to news, they should not be denied. However, advise them to get their information from one source at a time; in no case should it be the russian media. 

Set up trustworthy Ukrainian Telegram channels on their phone that don't hype up the gory details. On the computer, there are official news feeds from which grandparents will be able to receive information daily. If the news is perceived too emotionally, it is worth limiting its viewing.

It is also worth refraining from heated discussions on political topics. This can cause you to quarrel with your relatives, whom you are trying to help and deprive them of much-needed support. Communicating on neutral and family topics is best because communication is necessary for any person in these difficult and traumatic circumstances.

7. Spend time together

День бабусь та дідусів: 10 способів підтримати стареньких під час війни

Older people are more vulnerable, more susceptible to panic and anxiety, and more afraid of being left without any support. Encourage more senior people to have joint leisure activities and get-togethers.

Look at family photos together. Play board and brain games. Cook together in the kitchen. Sing, listen to music, and play music if you can. By the way, you can do all this remotely using video. And you can play, for example, scrabble.

8. Find company for your grandparents

Many towns and villages now have clubs and centers for the elderly. They hold master and music classes and provide humanitarian, medical, and legal aid information. The events in the centers are free and can be attended by local and internally displaced persons.

By writing in the district group on social media, you can find partners for walks, visits to theaters, museums, other cultural events, or even sports for your grandparents. Many older adults would like to do this but need company. However, remember that before arranging a "date" for an elderly relative with someone new, you should ensure this person's integrity.

9. Give space for independent activity

Few people enjoy living when everything is decided for them. Usually, older people want to be helpful and ensure that they are needed by the family and are not a burden. If you live together, find things for which the grandparent will be responsible. They should be based on what is important to them and what they do with pleasure: perhaps it is taking care of the house or garden, babysitting, cooking breakfast, taking care of a pet, and preserving traditions.

10. Hug more often

День бабусь та дідусів: 10 способів підтримати стареньких під час війни

Don't spare supportive touch. Hug and hold each other close. Psychologists have long proved the importance of hugs; now, they are needed more than ever. To resist the enemy and stress, you must keep it together. Our strength lies in unity and mutual support. This will help everyone—children, adults, and elderly family members—to survive. 

Even more helpful solutions!

It would help if you remembered those older people who don't have children or grandchildren on Grandparents' Day.

День бабусь та дідусів: 10 способів підтримати стареньких під час війни

  • Now it is difficult for many Ukrainians, but some do not even have basic things for life. Now it's easier to help with Mastercard and the humanitarian platform eDomomoga. You can provide medicine, food, and fuel to people who need it in just a few clicks. It's targeted help. Support those who need help!
  • Enjoying Life Charity Fund has been restoring the elderly's love of life. With the foundation's support, older people can find work, attend the best events, learn new things, and receive hot lunches and medicine. Now the fund has expanded its activities: it delivers humanitarian goods throughout Ukraine, helps in the evacuation of victims, and provides everything necessary to those who need it. The organization is also looking for volunteers for the Support Center for IDPs.
  • By becoming a donor, volunteer, or ambassador, you can also help older people in need through the Starenki Foundation.
  • The charity project StaristNaRadist (Old Age For Joy) has been actively helping older people living in geriatric boarding houses. Volunteers entertain the elderly, so they don't get bored: they organize literary evenings, chess tournaments, concerts, and master classes. And they also treat grandparents with goodies. You can join or support the project by following the link above.
  • Let's Help! also helps lonely older people in geriatric boarding houses and individually. The fund has 140 institutions throughout Ukraine under its care. Many geriatric nursing homes are now located in flashpoints. Because of the blown bridges, many have no food delivery and are running out of medicine. They need your support!
  • Befriend is about helping those alone and dreaming of hearing a few warm words over the phone. The project unites lonely older people with volunteers who call each week to discuss various topics.

День бабусь та дідусів: 10 способів підтримати стареньких під час війни

  • Ukraine has also launched the project Letters of Love to support people in the temporarily occupied territories. ⬆️ It aims to notify family and friends or support strangers. For example, you can inform grandparents, with whom there is no connection, that everything is fine. Letters of Love should become a saving grace for our relatives and friends, prove that we have not forgotten about them, that we are with them and will fight for them," the organizers say. They promise to do everything possible to ensure that the letters reach the addressees.

This article is made possible with the support of IREX. The content is the sole responsibility of the Rubryka online publication and does not necessarily reflect the views of IREX or the US State Department.


In Handy

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Leave a Reply

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: