TEC-MED in Lebanon is a glimpse of hope in this dark time

Free image of TEC-MED Project

Lebanon, a country in crisis

Lebanon has had its shares of hardships and adversities in the past year: starting with an unprecedented economic recession, revolution, global pandemic, horrific explosion, to name a few. It is worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic and Beirut explosion came at a difficult time for Lebanon, and most importantly exposed the vulnerabilities of older adults who have needed social support for quite some time and have been receiving it partly through the support of non-governmental and governmental organizations.

Stories from older adults in Beirut

Mrs. Alice (pseudonym), the widow, is a retired school teacher residing alone in Gemayzeh and who was living solely of her retirement pension. Today, her retirement pension is barely enough to buy her medications and food due to the devalorization of the Lebanese Lira. Her house was damaged following the Beirut explosion and only with the help of an NGO, was she able to restore her house and rebuild what was destroyed.”

Mr. & Mrs. B, reside in Ashrafieh, Beirut. Mrs. B is the main caregiver of Mr. B who used to work in commerce but due to his Parkinson’s disease is no longer able to work. Mrs. B has been caring for her husband ever since he got diagnosed while she, herself is growing older and suffers from Diabetes. They both rely on an organization which provides them with medications and social support.”

Mr. Gaby, (pseudonym) a shop owner in Ashrafieh, rebuilt his shop following the explosion but has been barely able to open his shop due to lockdown measures and has been facing uncertainty every day. Despite the gloomy days, he remains hopeful for better days ahead.”

TEC-MED project and IDRAAC are working together to care for elderly people

The TEC-MED project, which Institute for Development, Research, Advocacy and Applied Care (IDRAAC) is proudly part of, is a glimpse of hope in this dark time, where partners from different countries in the Mediterranean are putting together an intervention framework to improve and adapt social care for older persons who are mostly at risk of social exclusion.

An online platform is being created to support elderly people, their caregivers and relevant stakeholders and help them build their capacity in relation to old age and network with relevant entities in each country.

Assessing the needs in terms of capacity building and training is an aspect that IDRAAC has worked on in the past two months while interviewing older persons, caregivers and stakeholders in Lebanon who work in supporting elderly people and discussing their needs in terms of training and capacity building.

Lebanon identified different needs to implement during the project

Capacity building is an integral part of the TEC-MED project’s implementation as it will allow us to respond to the needs of the community, network with key agents and supports older persons.

Several needs have been identified in the past months and will serve as a basis for the development of a capacity-building plan which will be rolled out during the implementation of the project.

Interviewees were from different profiles and backgrounds and gave important feedback on the needs of older persons, their caregivers (professional and non-professional) as well as public administrators, businesses and education.

Expressed needs were diverse and covered different aspects such as digital capacity, to optimize the use of the platform and benefit a wider audience. Also, elderly care and communication, advocacy and elderly rights, networking or mental health and psychosocial support, as the needs on this level are increasing, the focus on mental health is increasing accordingly from organizations and as the first mental health NGO in Lebanon, IDRAAC will be focusing on this important aspect.

Next steps to continue growing up in a new care model

A capacity building plan will be implemented through different actions during the implementation of the TEC-MED model and will address the different needs and target groups.