SOCIETY

CIVIL SOCIETY: 195 PRACTICES


TOPIC:

Initiative

Friendship at any Age Program

Friendship at any Age Program
SUBMITTED FROM:

Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health Prolepsis

The Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health Prolepsis is a nongovernmental organization, active in the field of medical research, health promotion, environmental and occupational health.

 

Read more: www.prolepsis.gr


Contact

Objective Action

The Friendship at Any Age program is a comprehensive initiative that is based on volunteering. It supports the particularly vulnerable social group of adults over 65, aiming to combat loneliness and social isolation through social contact and friendship. In that way, it enhances the social role and self-confidence of the elderly.

At the same time, the goal of the program is to highlight the needs and challenges of seniors and to raise awareness of the public, the involved bodies, and the State. 

The program is implemented by Prolepsis Institute. The Institute is a nongovernmental organization, active in the field of medical research, health promotion, environmental and occupational health since 1990.

 

Target Audience

The program is designed for seniors who are or feel alone, as well as volunteers.  In addition, the program operates the Helpline for Loneliness in the Elderly, which is also addressed to care givers, relatives or friends of lonely seniors.

 

Duration

The program started in December 2019 and continues to vigorously fight the loneliness of the elderly.


Description

The program connects seniors with volunteers, locally (where and when possible), aiming to develop bonds of friendship. Each volunteer communicates with the elderly beneficiaries by telephone on a weekly basis (and/or pays home visits, if it is possible, due to the pandemic). In this way, volunteers make the beneficiaries feel like members of a community that cares about them, while activating them intellectually and emotionally. At the same time, volunteers feel that they can be active citizens and contribute to society while benefiting from the experiences of the elderly. 

“From my point of view, I would say that as I am much younger than the beneficiaries, I have gained a lot of wisdom, because they are people with special experiences in their lives” (telephone communication volunteer).

Within the framework of the Friendship at Any Age program, a helpline – 210-6101300 – is also available to older people who feel lonely, as well as to their caregivers, friends, and relatives. The helpline operates from Monday to Friday, 11 am - 8 pm, providing communication in a safe environment with suitably trained staff. When needed, information is provided regarding relevant social services. Local charges apply for a phone call to the 210-6101300 helpline. Calls are anonymous, and Prolepsis Institute does not maintain or process personal data.

Ageing should be a positive experience for each individual and should also be accompanied with the potential of active participation in the social, economic, cultural and spiritual aspects of society. Socialization, human interaction and Friendship at any Age can play a significant role in improving the quality of life and health of elders. Social connection and communication are essential to human life, more so today, when due to the pandemic and the measures of social distancing, elders feel more lonely and socially isolated.

In Greece, 21.5% of the population is over 65 years old. The population of our country is not only aging, but is also getting isolated. It is estimated, that 550.000 seniors live alone. Besides the degradation of the quality of life, social isolation and loneliness have adverse effects on one’s physical and mental health.


more...

Impact on Society

Until today, 118 beneficiaries have participated in the program.

The project is evaluated with quantitative and qualitative analysis through the usage of questionnaires (ex. demographic characteristics, assessment of the level of loneliness, etc.), as well as telephone interviews, focus groups, etc.

Indicative results of the qualitative evaluation conducted among  include:

Through the program, beneficiaries seem to gain a new person they can trust in their life, a “new friend”. In many cases, the beneficiaries mention that they look forward to communicating with the volunteers, which they describe as “human”, “friendly”, “reassuring” and “comforting”. 

“We may not see each other, but even through the phone conversation, you feel their sentiments and their interest. The feelings cannot be stopped; you can express them through words” (beneficiary).

“The telephone rings and I think to myself… it must be the girls! It is lifesaving” (beneficiary).

“Amidst the disease and the pandemic we experience; you know how important such people are, who show so much interest in us. What a consolation this is…” (beneficiary).



Initiative Location

The project has been implemented in the Attica Region through collaboration with 8 Municipalities. In March 2021, the Public Benefit Enterprise of the Municipality of Serres participated in the program, along with beneficiaries from other regions of the country (Thessaloniki, Kozani, Corfu, Patras, Heraklion, Mytilene, etc.)

The Helpline receives calls from beneficiaries residing throughout Greece. 


More...…

Working with Organization

The program cooperates with a vast network of social partners that includes:

10 municipalities

4 Elderly Care Units

50 Civil Society Organizations

45 Health Centers

22 Hospital Social Services

Congregations, Metropolis and schools

For the implementation of the project, the Institute has joined forces with the international organization "Petits Frères des Pauvres" (PFP). Petits Frères des Pauvres was launched in 1946 in Paris. as an aftermath of World War II with the goal of supporting senior citizens who had lost their families, their homes and their livelihood and had nowhere to turn. Today, the organization’s network in France supports more than 30,000 elderly on a yearly basis, emphasizing and confirming the particularly important role that human contact and communication play in the well-being of elders. The Prolepsis Institute is a member of the global organization and our country is one of the 14 countries around the world (in Europe, America and Asia) where the project is implemented. PFP staff members provide expertise, guidance and training  throughout the program.

The program is supported by the TIMA Charitable Foundation as well as other public benefit organizations and private companies. It runs under the auspices of the Attica Region.


More...…

Workers Participation

10 employees of Prolepsis Institute are currently working on the program's design and implementation, while more than 145 volunteers support the project.


Videos

Benefits for Οrganization

The benefits that the Prolepsis Institute derives from the implementation of the Program can be summarized in the skills and the valuable experience Prolepsis’ executives gain through skill capacity building, concerning the Elderly. In addition, through the program a significant network of volunteers and collaborations with institutions, companies and individuals is developed.




Connection with Global Goals







More Initiatives from Organization



Send us your feedback Print
The 'Sustainable Greece 2020' Ιnitiative launched by QualityNet Foundation