“A Lifeline to Vulnerable Elderly People” in Lithuania, Slovakia and Cuba

A project managed by the Global Fund for Forgotten People – Order of Malta

The world’s population is ageing. According to data from the 2019 World Population Prospects, by 2050, one in six persons in the world will be over age 65. In 2018, for the first time in history, persons aged 65 or above outnumbered children under five years of age globally*.

Thousands of elderly people suffer from isolation, loneliness and health concerns. For some elderly people, their failing health, poverty, and, above all, loneliness, create hardships almost impossible to overcome.

The Project “A Lifeline to Vulnerable Elderly People” aims to provide care, food, health services and companionship to an aging population all over the world. In particular, the Project will support elderly people located in Lithuania, Cuba and Slovakia by financing hot meals, care centres and the outreach services for those of the Project’s beneficiaries who are unable to leave their homes.

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History

The Global Fund for Forgotten People was founded in 2011 by the Government of the Sovereign Order of Malta with a goal to raise money and make grants to projects which reach out directly to people who would otherwise be forgotten.

“A Lifeline to Vulnerable Elderly People” Project was initiated in 2015 in Bratislava by the Global Fund for Forgotten People who granted a start-up fund to help the disadvantaged elderly people by delivering a hot meal to avoid a cost of buying food and a burden of cooking. Without the Order of Malta, most recipients would not be able to afford a hot meal and the sense of companionship volunteers provide each day is crucial showing there is someone who cares.

Therefore since 2015, the Global Fund for Forgotten People has awarded more than 60 grants, totalling over $900,000, in support of projects providing meals, transportation, healthcare and companionship for elderly people, allowing them to live in dignity, with love, care and comfort.

Mission

The Project “A Lifeline to Vulnerable Elderly People” with an initial duration of 2 years, is aimed to support an estimated 3’400 elderly people per year, in up to 10 countries, in partnership with Caritas Pro Vitae Gradu Charitable Trust.

The Project will support the Order of Malta’s work in Slovakia, where in Bratislava many elderly people, affected by the high cost of living and the lack of support, are unable to afford enough to eat or struggle with preparing their own meals.

Initially, the Project started in 2015 in one district of Bratislava distributing 600 meals per month with one car, while today the support has expanded to two other districts with three cars now providing 1500 meals a month.

The Project funds also the Cuban Association of the Order of Malta that supports 59 centres for elderly people across the country, delivering 500’000 meals per year.  In addition, the Project will support the realisation of “Casas de Abuelos” centres where, as well as food, vulnerable elderly people can receive basic healthcare and take part in physical activities, hygiene education and entertainment. These centres will serve approximately 4’270 elderly people with almost no other means of support.

Finally, the Project will support the establishment of “a Model of Elderly Care” in Lithuania, where the Order of Malta has been caring for vulnerable elderly people for over 25 years. A new centre of up to 40 beds will be developed to provide care and community for elderly people living alone and in poverty, as Lithuania lacks sufficient provision of care for the elderly. An option for premises has been identified in Kaunas where volunteer contribution will be provided by the existing Kaunas Malteser group who include doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and psychologists.

The Project supported by the Caritas Pro Vitae Gradu Charitable Trust

The Caritas Pro Vitae Gradu Charitable Trust takes part in the “A Lifeline to Vulnerable Elderly People” Project by supporting it financially for a two years period to start with.

"Malteser Soup 2018" in Marijampole