Most projects which involve work with older people are situated in Jewish communities and institutions. Many of these people are survivors of the Holocaust, the Stalinist terror, or their descendants.
Supporting older people who are living alone involves help with domestic work and with shopping, accompanying clients to the local government authorities, and being someone to talk to. In (usually Jewish) retirement homes, the work of the volunteers is similar. However, many of the people living there are no longer able to manage everyday tasks. The focus of the volunteer’s work is therefore on leisure activities such as memory exercises and singing in groups. The elderly are cared for individually and in groups. The volunteers also help with serving meals, assist the nursing staff, and help with custodial work.
Patience and understanding are essential when taking care of older people. Improving everyday life will often prove difficult, but as a result even small changes are immensely rewarding both for the older person and the volunteer. The volunteers should also be interested in meeting witnesses of the generation who lived through the war and be prepared to deal with the crimes of the Nazis and their consequences for the victims.