INTERGENERATIONAL PROGRAMS FOR QUALITY AGEING
Allow me to be good to you.
If not me, who else?
If not Now, when?
And if I won’t be good to you,
what will happen to us?
The area of quality ageing is currently the
biggest project of the ANTON TRSTENJAK INSTITUTE. One of the
aims of the Institute is to meet the non-material social needs.
Self-support groups for elderly people are one of the means
through which the Institute is trying to achieve this objective.
Intergenerational programmes for quality ageing have their
origin in 1987 when the Institute participated as a
partner of Ce.I.S., at a 2 year project named "Project-men
for elderly people", under the funding of the European
programme Phare-Lien. Along with this programme for elderly
people, the Institute has been developing and implementing
the concept of local and national network of self-support
groups for elderly. Between the years 1989 and 1991, the
first 50 self-support groups were formed in nine Slovenian
regions. In the following years the model of self-support
groups has spread all over Slovenia. In the year 1997,
the Institute started with development of the Network
of self-support groups for elderly people. Two important
features of this social network are that it is decentralised
and that it is based on volunteer work.
An important achievement of the Institute
was the inclusion of this project in "The National Social
Protection Programme up to 2005". That programme anticipates
that 3% of old people (i.e. 900 groups) will be included in
self-support groups by the year 2005. Since the beginning
of the nineties, the Institute has trained about 500 volunteers
that are now animators of more than 500 self-support groups
for elderly people. These groups include about 5000
elderly people all over Slovenia. The group meetings are
held on a weekly basis and they help elderly people to
reach quality ageing, reduce the problem of loneliness among
elderly people and are the bridge between different generations.
The Institute is developing theoretically
and practically a modern network of local intergenerational
programmes for quality ageing in the area of interpersonal
relations. This network consists of seven complementary programmes:
for rising of awareness of all the population about quality
of old age and the necessity of preparing on
old age - The first step towards better intergenerational
relations and good quality of old age is informing all the
people from the community. Hence, we introduce to all inhabitants
of local community the idea of good quality of old age and
of the importance of intergenerational relations and the
learning programmes for reaching those two important goals.
The information is given through different media: with an
informative brochure that is sent to every household, with
lectures, with appearances in the newspapers, radio and television.
People have also the opportunity to enrol in any of our following
course for better relations and communication with an elder
family member - Many families have an elderly
that lives either with them, or independently from them or
in an old people’s home. In the present time there
is such a gap among generations, that youngsters, people
in their middle ages and old people don’t even notice
each other. In addition to that, they don’t have the
skills for good conversation even in the case when they have
the will and they are ready to spend some time for it. Therefore
this short 10 hour course is devoted to family members in
order to help them to learn how to have good interpersonal
course for preparing on quality ageing after the retirement -
The most suitable time for a person to do
for herself and mostly for a good quality of her own old
age, is a year before the retirement. This short 10 hour
course is devoted exactly to this matter - to prepare people
on quality ageing after the retirement.
course for better understanding of the younger two generations - This 10 hour
course is devoted to the elderly
people that feel the need to develop better communication
skills for communicating with the younger two generations.
companionship with a lonely old person - Our known poet Simon
Gregorcic once said: "Woe to him who resides
alone in his misfortune, yet he is not happy if he rejoices
in his happiness alone." The roman proverb has nailed
down this truth: "Woe to the one who is alone".
With our 60-hour programme we are training the volunteers
from younger and middle generation for personal companionship
with an old person who would otherwise suffer from a fatal
loneliness. In 2 years we have trained almost 100 personal
companions for older people. Each of them has regular weekly
hour meetings with a lonely old person. In fact, many of
them are companions to more than one old person. This training
enables volunteers and old people that through companionship
reach happiness and exchange their valuable life experiences.
This way volunteers prepare for their own old age.
groups for quality ageing - A human being is a collective
being. In the past the need for a group identity
was achieved through the family life and neighbour ties.
Current forms of satisfying this need are also numerous
interest-, educational-, recreational- and other groups that
under the technical term self support groups. Intergenerational
groups for quality ageing are this kind of groups. In them
meet weekly few people from the third and at least two
from the second generation. They are connected also with
generation. Their only purpose is the genuine socialising
that prevents loneliness of old people, prepares middle
generation on her own aging and unveils the wisdom of life
people. Intergenerational groups are set up and managed
by middle aged volunteers, trained in our 120 hours course.
In the last decade we trained more than 500 of them. They
founded more than 400 groups in 100 localities in Slovenia.
local self-organisation of a network of intergenerational
programmes for quality ageing in the area of interpersonal
relations - We take care of the continuity of the
mentioned programmes in the local areas. We establish
associations on the local level. Their main goals are
to care for the efficiency of the programmes and for the
of the local social network for quality ageing and for
All seven programmes are complementary
and they together represent the whole of the local
network for quality
ageing and connecting generations. For the community
to form such modern social network, the first programme
is the basic one; namely good organisation of raising
awareness in the whole community about this important
need and assignment,
that we often are not aware of. The second, the third
and the fourth programmes are intended for individuals
Often the participants decide for voluntary work and
for training for personal companionship with an old
lonely person or for the leading of the intergenerational
ageing. This means that they decide for one of the
two of the voluntary programmes that give the locality the
character of good modern intergenerational relations.
local self organisation of intergenerational network
joins all the programmes in one wholeness and cares
These programmes were formed on the basis
of the increased need - due to the rapid ageing
of the population, changes in the family structure etc. -
to prepare middle generation on their own old age.
The target group are therefore middle
age and old age population.
Old age is a period of life that has its
but it doesn’t have any less importance and meaning
as any other period of life.
For experiencing old age it is important
that the person accepts his/her own age,
maintains or forms a good interpersonal relationship
and that she is personally connected with people from
young and middle generation.
If ALL THREE GENERATIONS
are closely related,
the youth is safely - beautiful,
the middle age years are silently - fruitful,
and serene old age - rich.