There is a common assumption that elderly people only need medication and physical therapy to recover, but it is not entirely true. They also need help with household chores and interaction for their lives to be fulfilling. Moldovan home-care centers Estera in Chisinau and Rebeca in Balti are providing such types of care for their patients with an essential support from the Czech Republic.
According to WHO the main cause of death among Moldovan population are the diseases of the circulatory system. There is also a continuous increase in the incidence of mental health disorders. Both those problems were addressed in Centers Estera in Chisinau and Rebeca in Balti created with the support of Caritas Czech Republic and Czech Development Agency. Not only medical needs, but also help with household chores and lack of social interaction, are all addressed in Rebeca and Estera centers, as there is a washing machine, shower and communal space with tv and games at the disposal of the center visitors. There is also a garden, where the patients can walk and relax.
Educating the community: additional training to medical professionals
Both centers provide training to medical professionals on top of caring for the patients. All nurses working in the center are prepared to provide thorough information on all the medical appliances used in the centers. While it is not the main priority of the centers, nonetheless they create employment opportunities, which is also helping the health sector in Moldova to develop.
The largest concentration of older people in Moldova resides in the north of the country. Noteworthy, center Estera is located in Balti, which is in the northern region of Moldova. While the majority of NGOs are concentrated in the capital – Chisinau, Estera is a very much needed development, located in the North, where demand for such center is the highest.
Experiencing development: seeing development cooperation first hand
In June, a group of 15 students and 3 teachers from the Department of Development and Environmental Studies (with a focus on International Development) at Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic, went to Moldova on a field trip. The aim was to meet organizations engaged in international cooperation activities and to visit their projects. Moldova is one of the program beneficiary countries that receives support from Official Development Assistance from the Czech Republic.
Centers in Balti and Chisinau were implemented by Caritas Czech Republic by means of financial support from Czech Development Agency. The visit to the two centres has taught the students how development cooperation is implemented in the health sector. The visit to Estera included the demonstration of medical equipment and recollection of patient stories.
Empathising with the elderly: listening to the stories of the patients
Once the center helped an elderly man; his relatives left for work abroad and never came back. His neighbours were not in the position to provide him with constant care. He was not in pain and did not have any acute medical conditions. However, he could not shower on his own, wash his cloths or clean up his house. His biggest dream was to be clean and to live in a clean flat. The nurses from Estera brought him to the center, washed him and his clothes, and cleaned his apartment. Shortly after those events he has passed away a happy and fulfilled man. This is not a story of a miraculous recovery, however, it is a story about how a shower and a possibility to wear clean cloths are sometimes the necessary things that could make somebody happy.
The visit to the care centres has shown the Palacky university students that they are not only providing the needed assistance for the elderly sick and disabled. Those centers stand for a lot more, they are changing the lives of the often neglected senior population for the better.
Note: The article and the entire field trip is a part of the DevEd project ‘Development Cooperation First Hand’, supported by Czech Development Agency (ČRA).