3. 06. 2020
Ms. Rosa Grbović is a resident of the home for the elderly in Pljevlja and she has not seen her family, her four children living in Serbia, for the last six months. Thanks to Help’s donation of tablets to homes for the elderly in several Montenegrin municipalities, she finally saw them via video call this week, as the occupational therapist of the Home for the Elderly, Dženana Muslić, told us. She says it was very touching.
“On the very same day when the director Mersida Aljićević informed us that we had received your donation, a colleague from the social services and I did our best to immediately turn on the tablets and install the cards, so that our users could see their families, some of whom had not seen their families for six months or more. Many of their children live outside, in Serbia, and see each other only occasionally. But as all of this with the coronavirus happened, the visits had to be canceled. On the same day, I immediately went to the residents on the second floor to explain to them how it all works, because many of them are not familiar with new technologies “.
Muslić says that she first went to two residents, Ms. Rosa Grbović and Ms. Zorka Topalović, whose children live in Serbia and who have not seen their loved ones for six months, maybe longer.
“Ms. Rosa’s children live in different locations, but they are all in Serbia and I asked her if we should invite them in order to see them, and at that moment the look on her face showed that she was a little skeptical because I believe they have not seen each other since November. They usually come a few times a year, they take her to the village and then return here, but everything has dragged on now because of the coronavirus and the people are even more worried about this pandemic, even though they stay in touch via the phone it is much different and more convincing when you actually see them. I was so happy that day, believe me, and I can only imagine how happy they were, as you can see I took pictures of them “.
Occupational therapist Dženana Muslić says that she had first invited Ms. Rosa’s son Milko Grbović who is a poet and who organized poetry events for them several times, where he read poetry and talked to residents in the home. So she explained the idea to him and then he invited his brothers and sisters to join the video call.
“And then we called them one by one, I was with her for an hour. She just couldn’t believe it when a picture of her children appeared live, it was very touching and it’s hard to put it into words. She started crying and I tried to calm her down, slowly… you see that everyone is fine, that they are healthy. It is very important that she could somehow see with her own eyes everything that they told her in the telephone conversations in the previous months. ”
In the past, the staff of the Home allowed their residents to talk to their families, even to those who live abroad, by using their private phones. They did everything they could for the total of 51 residents, but this is a really good thing for other reasons as well, according to Muslić.
“We’ve already made and worked out a couple of ideas – for example we talked earlier that we need a tablet for users who don’t speak. And if we had an app which I have on my private tablet – a communicator – it would be useful for us to communicate with users who can’t speak. We’ve already worked out the idea to install that app on one of the six tablets we got from you, and use it to communicate with those users. ”
That is not the only idea they’re working on.
“Because of the coronavirus, we now have limited group activities but my plan as an occupational therapist is to make workshops where we will give them basic instructions in groups by using these tablets on how to use them for reading on a daily basis, how to search sites and it will also be a form of education for them about new technologies and how they can use them for their needs. We will not overwhelm them with information of course, but we will simply do our best to guide them to the basics.”
Help donated six tablets to the Home for the Elderly in Pljevlja, and 10 to the Home for the Elderly in Bijelo Polje. Mostly elderly residents live in the Home in Pljevlja, a few younger users have their own smartphones and are well able to use them but this is a small number compared to those for whom the tablets will be more than welcome to communicate with families.
The Home has banned visits since January due to the seasonal flu and after that, due to COVID-19 and according to the recommendations of health institutions, a complete ban on entering and leaving the home was introduced and the Home staff has been isolated for 40 days, a total of about thirty people who take care of elderly residents.
Having in mind the difficult period of isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic we asked Ms. Muslić how the residents endured the past period of rigorous measures.
“Surprisingly well, believe me, surprisingly well. Of course, you could see their concern for their families, because they have not seen them for a long time, so they have been worried because a lot of them live outside of the country but they have endured everything surprisingly well. I was not in isolation with them, but there were my colleagues who talked to them every day and motivated them to endure, to be brave and to continue until the period of quarantine isolation and everything is over.
Dženana Muslić thanked Help once again on behalf of the Home for the Elderly in Pljevlja because as she says, tablets have been something they wanted and planned to provide for some time now, but they did not have the funds.
In addition to tablets for homes for the elderly in Pljevlja and Bijelo Polje, Help has provided and distributed disinfectants and hygiene products to all institutions in the second aid package, that was procured with the financial support of the German Government.
Last week, we distributed the tablets at the Children’s Home “Mladost” in Bijela, the Home for the Elderly “Grabovac” in Risan, the Public Institution for Persons with Special Needs “Komanski Most” in Podgorica and the Directorate for Execution of Criminal Sanctions (UIKS) in Spuž. A total of 75 tablets have distributed.
Help is implementing emergency aid distribution due to the coronavirus pandemic as part of the project “Support to socio-economic stability in the Western Balkans region 2019-2020” which is funded by the German government.
Ms. Rosa Grbović in the first video conversation with her family members:
Ms. Zorka Topalović also saw her daughter after a long time:
We also distributed a total of 10 tablets with keyboards and monthly internet packages of 50Gb for six months to the Home for the Elderly in Bijelo Polje:
In addition to the tablets, Help has distributed disinfectants to all of the above-mentioned institutions, which are more than welcome in the new circumstances of the fight against the spread of coronavirus.