Adopt a grandparent, the theme of solidarity in Tirana, Albania

Facing difficult challenges; what remains in all nations is the desire to help each-other


The project 'Adopt a grandparent' is an initiative to help the lonely older people by providing groceries and medical care to their homes, helping those who live alone around their house, or merely accompanying them during difficult times.


Albania faced three consecutive crises in very short timeframe. Besides the pandemic, two devastating earthquakes occurred, where human lives were lost and thousands were left homeless.

Albania lies at the convergence boundary between the Eurasian Plate and the Adriatic Plate. Frequent earthquakes are the result. On 26 November 2019, an earthquake of 6.4 magnitude occurred, which affected the lives of more than 200,000 people in Albania. According to Red Cross, at least 32,000 people were left homeless.

With big challenges and hard times, there are also many opportunities that create changes for better. All it takes, is being open-minded. Limiting beliefs should be turned into a mindset that can adapt fast to a new reality.


The initiative focused on assisting the lone elderly and other vulnerable categories: those affected by the earthquake, low-income families, etc.

Particular importance was given to protecting and providing social services to all the individuals and families in need. This objective required mobilization from the local government, cooperation with the residents of our city and emergency help to these categories.


  1. Identification of the lonely older people: based on the documentation available from the respective administrative units and the provided referrals.

  2. Drafting each beneficiary's intervention plan based on their need to obtain a free or paid food / non-food package or medication.

  3. Assisting with support and care for all groups in need of priority, defining and coordinating groups in each administrative unit/neighborhood, providing aid and care to older people in need of assistance.

  4. Cooperation with civil society and the city's business community, as an added value to this initiative.

  5. Preparing the calendar with the addresses of the lonely elderly who needed services such as food or medication, care, and assistance in multiple activities in the home etc.


The interest on the initiative was huge, and the number of people asking for help was not limited only to the elderly but also to other categories of people in need, physically disabled people, lonely people suffering from depression etc. In total, we had 15279 calls, 3438 e-mails, 888 applications in the 'My Tirana' app, 1280 registrations through the post, 48 registration sent to the Mayor's post address, and 3298 registrations and through 'Co-governance Platform.'

A high number of residents signed up to volunteer on the program. Many people donated food or made payments to the food banks. Families in emigration approached us asking for help for their elderly parents living alone. Referrals also came from various citizens who were aware of isolated and neglected seniors.


The “Adopt a grandparent” initiative became the theme of solidarity in the Municipality of Tirana. The message of this initiative lies in social values; Humanity can go through the most difficult challenges. What remains in every nation and state is the desire of the people to help themselves. This approach was unexpected, but quite necessary, also in taking measures to provide assistance to the needy, in the conditions of the epidemic caused by COVID-19.

more information

Tirana’s young volunteers help elderly residents during COVID-19 lockdown

Published: 25/10/2021


Ms. Anisa Ruseti

Deputy Mayor of Tirana



Categories: COVID-19 Public Health & Public Services Good Urban Governance crisis management nad disaster preparedness Integrated urban development The social city
Regions: Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe Albania Tirana


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