As the war in Ukraine escalates, our hearts go out to all who are impacted, particularly the older adults whose lives have been upended. Many have been displaced, denied essential services, forced to flee, and separated from loved ones. According to HelpAge International, “more than two million older people in the east of Ukraine are at extreme risk as a result of the Russian assault on the country, which will devastate the lives of millions of people.” HelpAge International is one of the few organizations that has had volunteers and staff in Ukraine since 2014, helping older adults access medications, assistive devices, and other basic needs. They have kept in regular contact to reduce loneliness and the sense of isolation. They are still there, under very difficult circumstances.
HelpAge International describes the situation in Ukraine as the “oldest” humanitarian crisis in the world, given that one-third of those impacted since 2014 are over 60. What they have learned is that these older citizens are resilient and passionate in the face of a level of violence that they have and continue to endure that is unimaginable. Justin Derbyshire, CEO of HelpAge International, has remarked that “globally, humanitarian funding has not kept up with the spiraling need due to the number of man-made conflicts and natural disasters. For too long, older peoples’ needs have been ignored…. This needs to be addressed to humanitarian responses are truly inclusive and older people are not overlooked.”
We support the protection of older adults in the Ukraine and have linked to HelpAge International site for further information on how our members are able to help older adults in the Ukraine. Please keep the people of Ukraine in your hearts as the conflict continues.