In Serbia, we work with the Red Cross of Serbia to help vulnerable older people across the country. This has been an organisational priority for the Red Cross of Serbia since 2001.
The organisation works to provide support to older Serbian people with low incomes, those who are socially isolated in both rural and urban areas, and those who live alone or with a spouse who requires assistance.
In addition, the Red Cross of Serbia gets involved in advocacy work to improve older people’s lives, lobbying for the introduction of social pensions, working to end elder abuse, and ensuring carers get the help and support they need.
Life story: Danica, 78
Danica has been volunteering with the Red Cross of Serbia for a long time, while also being involved in a self-help group in Belgrade and with HelpAge’s Age Demands Action campaign. This work is key to mobilising older people in her municipality, giving them the motivation to take action and solve their problems.
Danica, 78, does important work for ageing issues in her Belgrade community
One problem the community has been facing is the noise caused by a train passing through, troubling older residents. Danica gathered signatures asking for a protective fence to be installed to reduce the disturbance caused by the train. She submitted this to the Serbian minister of energy, development and environmental protection who personally thanked her for the work she put in and committed to having a fence erected.
Danica makes sure that those who are alone or poor are never abandoned in her community, using her experience to connect them with a network of local institutions that help provide support. She is very keen about her responsibility to her community, and through this work her municipality has become more cohesive and active, and secures political results for those who live there.
Supporting older people in Serbia
Created a publication with the Red Cross and Commissioner for Protection of Equality entitled Introduction to ageing and human rights of older people in Serbia: A pilot survey on elder financial abuse. This led to recommendations to amend two laws to help tackle financial abuse of older people.
We have run education sessions with more than 500 older people about human rights in order to help them claim theirs.
We continue to lobby for the rights of older people to help reduce poverty and increase access to social and health protection services locally.
In partnership with Red Cross of Serbia, we have initiated the organisation of 52 self-help groups for older people, bringing together 522 individuals across 24 municipalities.
Our next steps:
Carry out a survey on the prevalence of discrimination and abuse among older people and use this as a basis for forming recommendations to give the government on how to reduce abuse.
Map social services for older people.
Lobby for the introduction of screenings to identify dementia and depression.
Create a network of organisations to support families who care for older people diagnosed with dementia.
Mreza HumanaS, International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
European Union, United Nations Population Fund, HelpAge International, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Pension coverage is 81%, but less than 50% of people between 20 and 65 are covered by pension insurance.
40.2% of the older population in Serbia assess their health as bad or very bad.
Over the next 30 years, the share of people 65 and over will grow from 17.3% to 25%.