Discover how Age International helps older Syrian refugees, and how you can get involved.
Forced to flee their home and country, unable to work, penniless and vulnerable – the older refugees who are fleeing Syria are desperate.
Age International is helping older Syrian refugees in Lebanon with:
- Life-saving healthcare
- Pyschological support for trauma
Life as an older Syrian refugee: 'How can a man kill his brother?'
Ahmad Hassan, 58, was a farmer in Syria. 'We came [to Lebanon] to escape the war in Syria, because we didn't take a side' he says.'How can a man kill his brother?'
Over 4.8m Syrians have fled their country. More than 1m have gone to Lebanon - where 1 in 4 people is a Syrian refugee. We estimate that 5% of those refugees are older people, like Ahmad.
Pictured: 58-year-old Ahmad suffers from depression. He sits with his grandchildren in his new home.
Life as an older refugee is hard.
'Everything is bad,' Ahmad says. He is in poor health, and depressed.
'If I want to go to the bathroom, I need two people to help me reach it. There's no money to get treated and get better.'
61% of Syrian refugees report depression or anxiety, with 89% of them saying this impairs their ability to function daily.
Age International helps distressed older Syrian refugees by providing conselling to older people traumatised by conflict and displacement.
Making sure older refugees get the healthcare they need
Pictured: Khalifa, 55, visits our health clinic. 'I like coming here, I feel safe', she says while clutching her patient card.
Chronic disease is the leading cause of death in Lebanon, and the help to fight this is severely lacking: there is no health education for patients; healthcare staff are over-worked and under-trained; facilities are not designed for older people; and there is no proper monitoring of chronic diseases.
Drugs and diagnostic services are expensive – 87% of Syrian refugees are unable to afford the medicines they need.
Age International has helped 53-year-old Fetim to get life-saving medication and lab tests for free. 'I used to have difficulties moving around,' she says 'But now with the help I received, I am able to walk and be more active'.
When vulnerable older people are unable to walk, we take healthcare to them in mini-vans stocked with medicines and staffed by healthcare professionals.
Pictured: Our healthcare vans take healthcare to where it's needed most.
Pictured: Inside one of our healthcare vans.
The older refugees that we speak to dream of one-day returning home. Luhaya, a 75-year-old refugee, tells us: 'If god wills it, we will return to Syria.'
Meanwhile, thanks to your generosity, Age International will continue to do all we can in order to support these vulnerable older refugees through this trauma.
Our work with Syrian refugees
• Training healthcare staff on the needs of older people
• Supporting 9 primary healthcare centres and 4 mobile medical units
• Providing drugs and medical equipment to treat chronic diseases
• Upgrading healthcare facilities to make them more accessible for older patients
• Carrying out education campaigns to focus on the prevention of chronic diseases
• Providing counselling to older people traumatised by conflict and displacement