Coronavirus Updates from the Essential Workers on the Front Lines

Coronavirus Updates from the Essential Workers on the Front Lines

In honor of #GivingTuesdayNow, we’re sharing two updates from the front lines of JDC’s essential work, where homecare workers provide lifesaving aid to the homebound elderly in their community. This work has grown more difficult in the face of the coronavirus crisis — but even more vital. 

The first update comes from Inna Grischenko, a homecare worker who serves three clients in Kiev: 

During the quarantine, my work has changed primarily in that it’s become harder to get to work. I’m grateful to my husband, who gives me a ride to my clients when he goes to work and picks me up from their apartments on his way home. Because of this, my schedule is almost unchanged. 

Inna Grischenko is one of JDC's essential workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Here, she reads the newspaper with one of her three elderly clients. Today, she does the same, only with additional safety precautions.
Inna reads the newspaper with one of her three clients. Her work continues with new safety precautions.

My clients also remain the same. They’re still my favorite people. I understand I’m responsible for them because there’s no one except for JDC and Hesed to help them. They don’t leave their homes because of their age and the risk to their health during this pandemic. Not only are they glad to see me, but their pets are, too. The pets also need my attention, and they eagerly wait for the food that I bring for them. 

In this current moment, new hygiene procedures have been added for the clients’ safety and my own. I’ve been paying careful attention to cleanliness: I work in a mask and gloves, wash my hands every other minute, and apply disinfectant and sanitizer to everything I see. Our clients should feel very protected. 

In addition, my clients now follow me around when I visit them, which has never happened before. I think they do it to ensure they don’t miss a single minute of conversation, since no one comes to visit them except for me. I know they must be lonely, since they do this even though we call each other several times a day outside of my visits to their home! I know they need the care and attention I provide, and I really appreciate their trust. I try to make sure I’m earning it. 

I’m grateful to Hesed [the JDC-supported social welfare center where Inna works] and JDC. Because of them, I feel useful, needed, and in demand. I know in my heart that I’m doing exactly the kind of work that needs to be done during these difficult times. 

To see Inna speak about what homecare means to her, watch the video:

Liudmila and Irina

The second update comes from Liudmila Starikovich of Minsk, Belarus and her homecare worker of five years, Irina Kutsko. Liudmila, who is nearly blind, relies completely on JDC services, including daily hot lunches and 12 hours of homecare a week. 

“I would like to thank Hesed and JDC. You don’t leave us, your clients, at this difficult time,” Liudmila says. “You support us, feed us, and take care of us — but it’s more than that. You support our spirit.” 

“After all these years, Liudmila’s not a client to me; she’s my dear friend. And even now during his crisis, I put on a mask and gloves, and I come to her,” Irina says. “Knowing that she’s sitting there waiting for me, I take my job seriously. She cannot join online sessions coordinated by the community, so I’m the link between her and the world. I’m her eyes and ears.” 

To learn more about Liudmila’s story, watch the video: