Mrs. Najlaa, a 79-year-old widow, had been living in the Tadamun neighborhood, where she used to work as a supervisor in a wool factory. Severely affected by the war, she lost both home and work. She now lives in a simple house in Jaramana with her two daughters and her sisters.
The elderly woman suffers from memory loss and a temporary disability. Her physical health does not allow her even to leave the house and carry out her simple tasks due to the anticancer drug doses she takes.
Mrs. Najlaa was incidentally introduced the SSSD community centre, where she expressed to the volunteer in the Home-based Rehabilitation for the Elderly her longing for home, for her relationships, her lost friendships, as well as her passion for wool knitting. In her own words, “I long for my house, for wool yarn and pins… I’m so upset not to be able to work again.”
Accordingly, a home-based rehabilitation plan was jointly developed by Mrs. Naglaa and the Elderly Programme volunteer, which included carrying out various memory-booster games. “I feel I’m again able to remember things… I’m so happy with this session,” she said on the spot. Medication self-management activities were also carried out. A pill box was made for her to enable her identify each drug by a specific color and thus achieve a sufficient measure of self-reliance.
The volunteer also helped her develop her strengths so she could relearn to handle wool. All the necessary supplies were brought to her to that effect. “I feel alive again… I’m getting back my former skills,” she said beaming with joy.
The whole process was like a bonding bridge that restored her communication with her sisters and family members. Soon, she was able to make by herself wool winter hats for grandchildren and other children at home.
She was truly overwhelmed with happiness and joy, being able to do something beneficial to herself, fill her spare time and feel useful again. In her own words, “I regained a sense of importance, a sense that I exist… The joy the children experienced when I made them the hats speaks of itself.”
With her determination and love for life, Mrs. Najlaa managed to overcome her harsh conditions caused by the war, which had imposed loneliness and loss of supportive people.
Seniors—our old oak trees—definitely need our empathic support as much as we need their wise presence. Hence the vital importance of interventions carried out by the Syrian Society for Social Development in the context of the Home-based Rehabilitation Programme for the Elderly.