In times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, many elderly people suffer from loneliness. The basic supply of daily necessities is usually secured and well organised, but interpersonal exchange, talking to each other, is just as important.
Herbstzeitlose* is a civic engagement project in the Saalfeld-Rudolstadt district in Germany that aims to protect people who are alone and/or in need of help from loneliness and isolation. For this purpose, volunteers are trained in basic courses and annual motivational and qualification measures with regard to dealing with older people and people in need of help and are individually deployed within the framework of a network.
In addition, knowledge and insights are imparted that are of personal benefit to them as they grow older. The training and the assignment as a senior companion are aimed at the target group of still younger and vital seniors. The trained senior companions support very old, sick or disabled people and provide assistance in coping with everyday life so that those in need of help can remain in their familiar living environment as long as possible, even if problems increase. Finally, family caregivers are relieved by the hour so that they can also engage in their own activities.
The project won several national prizes for their volunteer engagement.
*Herbstzeitlose means autumn crocus in English
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