“GIVING BEAUTY – WE HELP” PROGRAM
The world’s population is actively aging. Ukraine is no exception, today 23% of Ukraine’s population is over 60 years old. And old age is not always a “bed-of-roses” period, especially when a person has no relatives – there are about 740 thousand such people in Ukraine. And the worst – when a person has relatives who do not want to take care of him/her. Then, unfortunately, people are sent there, to what we used to call “nursing homes” or geriatric (retirement) centers and hospices. According to the Commissioner for Human Rights, approximately 22,000 elderly people are housed in 96 retirement homes and 332 inpatient departments of territorial centers of the social security system. Conditions are far from ideal, as the Ombudsman’s monitoring shows from time to time, and there is a constant lack of funds.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN?
Myroslava Novosilska, owner of the Aesthetic Medicine Clinic and Cosmetology of Myroslava Novosilska, had a dream – to create a center for the elderly in Europe.
This dream was nurtured on the basis of previous experience of trips to orphanages. Faced with the situation “buy something more expensive” in one of the orphanages, she thought about what she wanted. One thing she knew for sure – she wants to help. Myroslava has always been involved in charity – in 2017 she became the “most active Rotarian” (member of the Rotary Club) worldwide for $ 1,200,000 raised over 5 years to help the soldiers. She was at the onset of the Medical Bridge program – an internship for 53 Ukrainian doctors from different regions of Ukraine in Israel.
“I thought for a long time about the elderly and old age. I see my parents, the parents of my friends, and sometimes I think about myself in old age – and then my thoughts return to the retirement homes. And since I am a practitioner, I decided to go there and see everything with my own eyes. And so it happened that this trip was the start of the program “Giving Beauty – We Help” before the Clinic’s opening”, – says Myroslava Novosilska, dermatologist and the Clinic’s owner.
SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM
The first trip of the Clinic team, consisting of 7 employees, took place in 2017 to a retirement boarding house and hospice in Uhniv. And this trip became a kind of reflection of the existence of the Program, which became a program of corporate volunteering of the Clinic.
“Three years ago, when I first went to a hospice, I realized how many old and sick people are living out of their homes. That’s why I gladly go to such institutions to help and support as much as I can” – says Natalia Pohribets, a hairdresser at the Clinic.
The Clinic team always prepares for the trip. They buy sweets, personal hygiene items and other necessary things. From the purchased things small personal gifts are formed, which the caring employees of the Clinic hand over personally with a smile and a kind word. But the key “highlight” of the Program is cosmetic procedures: haircut, face and body massage. For some elderly people living in hospices, such procedures are performed for the first time in their lives.
“It is very good that you came. Despite their age, our elderly women also want to feel beauty not only inside, but also to be beautiful outside,” – says the hospice staff.
Moreover, the residents of the retirement homes themselves began to ask for eyebrow correction, which is now being done by the staff of the Clinic. Myroslava herself, despite the fact that today she performs more managerial functions, also likes to personally do cosmetic procedures based on the same masks used by their clients.
“We do what we can, we do it willingly. And we do it for people who have never got a massage session, or cosmetic masks applied. We want them to feel the beauty. I can’t buy them something cheap. Because the sensations after these creams are incredible, and I want the elderly women to feel it too,” – says Myroslava.
Occasionally, Clinic clients and partners are involved in purchasing shampoos and hygiene products, cereals, utensils, sweets and pastries. The major costs of the Clinic are transport, as the logistics is complicated. The team of the Clinic chooses the most remote areas of Lviv and it takes them 3-4 hours to get there. The trip itself can cost the Clinic from 10,000 to 27,000 UAH, the major part of which is transport.
During the four years of the “Giving Beauty – We Help” Program, 21 employees of the Clinic visited more than 10 geriatric centers.
During three years the Clinic time visited:
Retirement home and hospice in Uhniv
Municipal institution “Velykomostivsky retirement home”
Municipal institution of the Lviv Regional Council “Sudovyshnyansky psychoneurological boarding house”
Tuchyn retirement home
Petrykivka regional retirement home
Belz Hospice District Hospital
Vynohradiv retirement home
Yasinsky nursing home
Retirement home in Bolshivka settlement
Kolomyia retirement home
In total, such trips covered about 2,300 people, whose video reviews can be found on Facebook.
All employees say that at first the elderly women look at them with a bit of suspicion, but then ask to come again.
“The elderly women themselves ask to come again, they lack communication, and they are very pleased that guests from Lviv came to visit them,” – notes the staff of the Clinic.
In 2021, the following trips have already taken place:
The end of January – Petriv village, Ivano, Frankivsk region;
March – Petrykiv village, Ternopil region;
August – Yasinya, Transcarpathian region;
October – Tuchyn retirement home, Rivne region;
November – Berestechkivsky psychoneurological boarding house, Lutsk region.
The team tries once a year to visit not only their “old” institutions (where they have already been), but also to add new ones. Although it is not always easy – you have to convince staff that it is worth opening the doors of their institutions. By the way, the staff hereof is also rewarded – they also receive cosmetic procedures. Over time, the Clinic’s team notices that a lot is changing in the places where they go. For example, “during the four years of our trips, the retirement home in Uhniv has developed a better atmosphere and conditions,” – says Maria Lozynska, managing director of the Clinic, a cosmetologist herself.
It is difficult to overestimate the impact of such a program on employees. They change, become more caring and cohesive, it’s a kind of team building. For Maria, the Clinic managing director, one such trip serves better than any job placement interview: “You immediately feel whether this is our person, whether she/he shares the values of the Clinic”.
The Program itself is of particular interest to the new generation, and this is the majority of the Clinic’s staff, and they believe that such social programs increase the benefits of the employer’s brand by 40%, especially compared to other salons where there are no such projects.
The Clinic has repeatedly received requests from other cities in Ukraine, such as Kyiv or Dnipro, to come and help, even volunteers were ready to join. Of course, it will be difficult for the Clinic staff to be off for 2-3 days, but another dream of Dr. Myroslava Novosilska is to create a system program involving other salons and clinics to help people in retirement homes throughout Ukraine.
“I am satisfied with the result of our program, but not satisfied with what I see,”- Myroslava repeats, and, as always, is preparing for a new trip.
How great it would be to have more cases of such help in action in different cities.
“This is a positive program, and positive people who evoke positive emotions. With the support from everyone, there would be more programs like this one, and people would be kinder”, – Olya Lapan, the Clinic administrator.