Building Bridges between Senior Citizens and Students in the Elderly Care in the EU – information about the project


Project name: “Building Bridges between Senior Citizens and Students in the Elderly Care in the EU”
Programme: Europe for Citizens 2007-2013
Project duration: 1.1.2014-31.12.2015
Project partners:

  1. Local Government of Baranya County/Hungary
  2. Cluj Region/General Direction of Social Assistance and Child´s Protection/Romania
  3. Kaunas City Municipality/Lithuania
  4. Olomouc Region/Czech Republic
  5. Regional Council of Päijät-Häme/Finland (beneficiary and organiser of the 1st event)
  6. Region Rems-Murr-Kreis/Germany
  7. Silesian Voivodship Regional Center of Social Policy/Poland (organiser of the 3rd event)
  8. Talsi Municipality/Latvia (organiser of the 2nd event)
  9. Vojvodina Region/Serbia
  10. Zadar County/Croatia

Web site:
Publication: “Ageing stories from across Europe: Learning from each other”

This European wide partner network of elderly care professionals from 10 countries promotes values, rights and opportunities for EU senior citizens. Professionals, planners, decision-makers, researches and students of elderly care from working life and educational sector as well as senior citizens and their family members, school children and further local, regional, national and European politicians met each other during conferences through the horizontal theme of the project improving cooperation between education, research and working life. In the focus
were the priorities of the European Year of Citizens 2013.

Priorities were reflected in detail through three specific conference themes:

  • 1st conference on 12-15 May 2014 in Päijät-Häme (FI) with “Rehabilitation and maintaining the everyday physical activity of the elderly people”. The event 1 involved 107 citizens (43 international participants and 64 local participants).
  • 2nd conference in 15-18 September 2014 in Talsi (LV) with “Interaction between generations – building bridges between the generations. The event 2 involved 98 citizens (46 international participants and 52 local participants).
  • and 3rd conference in 11-14 May 2015 in Silesian Voivodeship (PL) “Loneliness and depression of the elderly people”. The event 3 involved 92 citizens (41 international participants and 51 local participants).

All the conferences contributed to social cohesion and to attract young people and students to work in elderly care sector as EU suffers under severe youth unemployment. Senior Citizens´ participation in the democratic life of the EU was increased in interactive panel discussions with EP election candidates as well as local and regional decision makers, in conference activities and during the Europe Days. Working practices and civic participation must be starting points when building new Europe of elderly care with providers of education without further institutionalization. Network also contributed in this project to the development of future elderly care education. Best practices from participating regions were collected in the format of stories into the project publication for implementing.

During these conferences we have taken many actions: expert lessons, visits, panel discussions, small-group discussions and informal talking. By using this unique network and what we all participating sectors and countries represent, we have had a chance to hear and see good working practices, civic participation and new methods, significant for reflecting on present but also future elderly care actions.

1st conference in Päijät-Häme (Finland): focus theme was rehabilitation and maintaining the everyday physical activity of the elderly people. A get-together event was organised with innovative tasks to get acquainted to project and conference thematic. First day presentations covered health promotion and commercialisation of the health enhancing physical activities (HEPA), elderly care education and working life. Thematic working in small groups took place to reflect on related experiences in the participating countries. A site visit was made to Hollola Onnenkoto Elderly care home followed by a presentation on local practices. On the visit to Lahti University of Applied Sciences (LUAS) practical exercises with small-group discussions were combined with reflections on practices in participating countries about the following questions: functional capacity testing and the meaning of the testing for maintaining the everyday physical activity and evaluation of functional capacity; testing, guidance, follow-up activities based on the „Good Ageing in Lahti Region (GOAL) programme: 10-year cohort study and intervention for promotion of functional capability for elderly. Appr. 50 students of LUAS’s Faculty of Social and Healthcare took an active part in the organisation and implementation of activities. On the second day visits were made to Lusi Village School and Jyränkölä Settlement. At the Lusi Village School, a „Kyllikki” weekly action day involving senior citizens and school children together. Small-group discussions were conducted how senior citizens and young people are encouraged to meet each other and how everyday physical activity is maintained. At the Jyränkölä Settlement, speeches and an interactive discussion panel with EP election candidates and local/regional politicians was arranged. Thematics of speeches covered senior citizens in the EU and current affairs in the Europe for Citizens programme. Panelists represented all major Finnish political parties (Coalition Party, Finns Party, Social Democrats) and thematic research experts. Panel discussion was open to all public with participation of local senior citizens. Second day was finalized with small-group discussions on future project activities. On the third day the Rehabilitation Section of the City of Lahti presented Chaos Falls Clinic in preventing falls and injuries of home-dwelling older adults. Site visit was made to Lehtioja Intensified Housing Services Unit, the facility was shown to the conference participants divided into groups, and the cultural activities developed for senior citizens were explained. At LUAS small-group discussions were made on prevention of falls and identification of osteoporosis patients on related good practices. Small-group summary discussions were conducted on the results and practices of the previous days and the recognition of needs for more intense cooperation and to apply recognized good practices in their home countries.

2nd conference in Talsi (Latvia): a welcoming event was held at Ķēniņkalns to be acquainted with the conference topics. On the first day social services and demographic data regarding the Talsi district were introduced. Site visits were made to Talsi Day Centre, Lauciene Nursing Home, Talsi Children and Youth Centre and Talsi Recreation Centre. Topics to be discussed were challenges and tendencies regarding ageing society (employment, social activities/contacts, education, health, income, family relationships, and interaction between generations); initiatives to promote successful ageing in governmental, municipal and organisational levels. For these discussions conference participants were again divided into six mixed international groups for which they got to team up with diverse people of different regions and backgrounds. On the second day a site visit was made to the Social Centre Stūrīši (Latvian Red Cross). Presentations were given by local speakers and national representatives from Ministry of Welfare and Latvian Parliament. Topics dealt with Ageing Society in Latvia and Active Ageing Project; good practice summary and senior volunteering as effective instrument for interaction between generations and promoting social integration. At Talsi Administrative Centre conference participants were engaged in an open interactive panel discussion with senior citizens, local students and politicians. Panel was participated e.g. by the local politicians, academics from Latvian University and experts from local children and youth Centre. On the last day conference delegates gathered at the Laumu Dabas Park. A final discussion was carried in small groups led to summarise the common lessons learned during the previous conference days and on potential future project forms and activities.

3rd conference in Silesian region (Poland): Get together event was organised for conference participants. On the first day at the Silesian Marshall’s Office was an official participant welcoming, presentation and discussion of the meeting agenda. Social services and demographic data regarding the Silesian region was presented. Site visit was made to Senior Residence, Home for the Elderly with Dementia. A presentation on the home care innovations on the private facility was given. At Dąbrowa Górnicza Daily Nursing Home there was a theatrical performance by the elderly home recidents. At Dąbrowa Górnicza University of the Third Age several presentations were displayed on the thematic university activities and on the most interesting initiatives for older people from the province of Silesia. On the second day a comprehensive site visit to care facility, Gorzyce Nursing Home was done. At Cieszyn University of Silesia presentations by the academic staff were given. Interactive panel discussion on prevention of depression issues and loneliness among older people were organised by the academic staff and guests including participants of local government and third sector and students. At Cieszyn Daily Support Centre for People with Mental Disorders a site visit was organised to the specific unit and concluding with a joint performance by local elderly and young members. On the third day at Silesia Park final presentations and discussions took place. It included presentation on „Senior Citizen Congress -SENIOR WIGOR” and a conference summary and discussion on the possibilities of further cooperation in the new EU financial perspective 2014 – 2020.

Communication tools

As outputs of the project four (4) communication tools have been produced: (1) publication in the electronic PDF-form “Ageing stories from across Europe: Learning from each other” or (2) web site “Interregional Platform for Ageing, Health and Wellbeing” (3) face book profile and closed group /Interregional platform for Ageing, Health and Wellbeing and (4) memory sticks (500pcs) including the publication and the name and address of the project web site and the logo of the Europe for Citizens programme.