Conference “Celebrating Life”
As part of the regional marking of the International Day of Older Persons on 1 October, a conference entitled “Celebrating Life” was organized on 29 September 2023, at the Holiday Hotel in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The conference was organized by the NGO Hajde and the Bosnia and Herzegovina Red Cross Society.
At the conference, the results of the research conducted within the project “Strengthening resilience of older persons and persons with disabilities during COVID-19 crisis and future crises” were presented. Olivera Vuković, director of the SeConS group, presented the results of research on long-term care services in Bosnia and Herzegovina and emphasized that people who receive support are mostly satisfied with the quality, but they need support for a longer period of time. The data showed that the average duration of support is 4 hours and 84 minutes, which is not enough, so it is necessary to increase the availability of services in the community that are focused on long-term care.
Nataša Todorović from the Red Cross of Serbia presented the regional results and emphasized that demographic aging is also pronounced in the Western Balkans. The share of people over 65 years old in the Western Balkans who believe that they have great difficulties in their daily functioning differs significantly, varying from 25.6% in North Macedonia, over 44.9% in Serbia to 51.6% in Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for support increased in different degrees: the least in Montenegro (16.2%), then 30.3% in North Macedonia, up to 38% in Albania. As for meeting the need for support, in the entire region the vast majority is met by informal caregivers: in Albania, as much as 95.7% of all long-term care services are received from family members, in Montenegro 95.4%, in Serbia 84.5%, in North Macedonia 84.3% and in Bosnia and Herzegovina 72.1%. Data from research conducted using the same methodology will be used to advocate for long-term care services.
Representatives of the regional office of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as well as the mayor of the municipality of Centar, participated in the conference. The conference was also part of advocacy efforts aiming for improvement of the quality of life of older persons and persons with disabilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The conference was implemented as part of the project “Strengthening resilience of older persons and persons with disabilities during COVID-19 crisis and future crises” financed by the European Union and the Austrian Development Agency, and coordinated by the Red Cross of Serbia.