The Elderly Care Center of Beit Sahour, established in 1982 by The Palestinian Health Work Committee, provides a variety of services and programs for the elderly in the Bethlehem area.
The Beit Sahour community and the families that use the Center for their elderly relatives value the facility’s impact on the physical health of the elderly as well as the psychological and social benefits the participants receive by sharing in the varied programs and services offered.
In addition to providing a weekly health check-up for each participant, the Center staff and visiting professionals offer educational programs, physical education classes, singing and dancing, recreational activities, field trips, intergenerational meetings for the sharing of Palestinian culture, history and arts, as well as organized celebrations of nationally recognized days such as Mothers’ Day and International Elderly Day. The Center provides a healthy, hot meal every day.
In the past few years, the dedicated staff of the Center have often worked without pay for several months at a time or receive only part of their salary. Lack of funding has caused them to reduce the variety of meals and snacks they provide. They have also had to cut bus service to the Center, which means participants must hire taxis or depend on family members to bring them.
Visitors and professionals from all over the world, who work in programs for the elderly, have attested to the quality of the services provided by the Center.
With additional funds available to them, the staff would like to offer overnight respite care, build a garden that the participants could call their own, and begin a program of conducting oral history interviews to preserve the contributions of the elderly to the history and heritage of the Bethlehem area.