Francesca Romana

Not even the COVID-19 pandemic was able to stop the Armenian project “Social and medical support to the Elderly living alone”. Dating back to 2004, it is carried out by the NGO “Hangank Elder Program and Clinic” with the support of the Armenian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA).

The project takes care of the well-being of the most vulnerable community in the city of Stepanakert (in the region of Nagorno Kharabakh), but also extends to elderly people living alone throughout the Artsakh region and, since 2019, also to those in the more isolated area of Askaran, which has less public services and thus leaves its older citizens even more vulnerable. The beneficiaries are about 350 people, with an average age of 75 years old.

The clinic and the project aim to improve the quality of life of the beneficiaries and provide them, in addition to nursing and medical care, also support to their emotional needs to comply with the long-lasting conflict and its effects.

Medically trained nurses and social workers are part of the staff caring for the lonely elderly in the area. The project, which has received continuous recognition from the local government and the Ministry of Health, does not stop only at the medical and psychological well-being of the people involved: when necessary, it can also step in to help them in the economic difficulties of everyday life by providing them with a well-stocked food package monthly.

The well-being of a person passes through the care of it in all aspects in what they call a holistic care. At the time of writing, the political situation in the region seems to be stable and the organisation’s periodic meeting was held without any problems. Among others, the meeting discussed Empathetic Mental Health and the need to organize courses for a healthier life.


Cover image: Georg Arthur Pflueger, Unsplash