One of COFACE's big concerns is that public policy may see intergenerational solidarity as purely a family matter to the exclusion of public solidarity, especially where caring for dependent elderly people is concerned. Leaving family carers to provide all the care for dependent elderly people undermines the social inclusion (poverty risk), health (physical and/or mental exhaustion) and gender equality (most family carers are still women) of these families.
But these challenges can also be seen as real opportunities. Increasing life expectancy in particular is a big opportunity for those who wish to keep working longer, and to engage in other fulfilling or rewarding activities for others (volunteering, family life with grandchildren and even great grandchildren, continuing learning, etc.) which also make a real contribution to society (e.g., grandparent-provided childcare, volunteer-staffed homework clubs, etc.).
Furthermore, the social and health services sector is already a major and still expanding employment growth area, something that is not lightly to be dismissed in a recession.
Building an inclusive society for the elderly also means tapping all manner of innovative ventures and technologies, which offers real potential for creating jobs and developing research and new technologies.
See also: http://europa.eu/ey2012/
1. Grandparents and Seniors Action, Gezinsbond, Belgium
Gezinsbond offers various services for families. Through the Grandparents and the Senior Action (GOSA) programme it provides continuous help, guidance and information for grandparents. Particularly, GOSA pays special attention to families where children are often left home, and to families expecting a grandchild. At local level GOSA offers several services for ageing people such as arranging meeting possibilities, holiday opportunities, sport activities, relaxation, specific trainings…
It also publishes the newly developed "Letter to Young Grandparents” which communication tool represents the key mission of Gezinsbond; provide support and information to families in different phases of their life. Furthermore, GOSA offers the following services to its members: managing crisis situations as a grandparent, providing information on health insurance premiums, helping grandchild and grandparent relationships.
Additionally, Gezinsbond publishes a quarterly newspaper „ACTIVE” which publication provides up-to-date information to grandmothers and grandfathers on today’s society. This magazine also introduces all the themes and activities of GOSA.
2. Granny/Grandpa Service, KFÖ, Austria
Austria, the Granny – Service helps young families to find babysitting
for those whose grandparents are either deceased or not available for
quick babysitting. Young couples often search for a reliable person to
care for their children, in line with many older people who would like
to take care of children, however in their own environment there is no
way to do so. To merge both interests, the Association of Catholic
Organisations of Austria offers special care service by carefully
selecting, training and mediating substitute "Grannies”.
Granny Service programme endeavours families and grandmas (and sometimes
grandfathers) to get together, thus older people can bring their
experience, love and patience as a valuable contribution to family life
and in turn get to know the problems of the younger generation. It is a
short-term care service in the area of Graz for an average rate of six
to eight Euros per hour. At this moment KFÖ’s programme activates more
than 100 Grannies with growing success and reputation in Austria.
3. "The Age, the problem” project, Familles
"The Age, the problem” project aims to organise and
facilitate discussion between different generations: children, adolescents,
seniors and families, on how to live together and learn from each other.
Between March and July 2012, the organisers of this project will visit targeted
audiences in Metz, France to collect and hear
evidences or proposals which stories will be later transformed into an
The presentation of the project results will include
three aspects: a wall of photographs, an exhibition panel and movie screening.
After the first experimental exhibition, Familles de France is planning to
prepare more materials to be used for meetings or conferences to reflect on the
theme of intergenerational living. The following stakeholders are targeted with
the initiative: wider public, several decision makers and politicians, civil
society organisations, service providers, companies etc.
4. Family and Childcare Centre-KMOP, Greece
the late 1970s, the Athens-based KMOP has been engaged in several activities
aiming to improve the quality of life of elderly and to promote their
independent living conditions. In 1979, KMOP was assigned by the Greek Ministry
of Health & Social Welfare to design and set up the first Open Care
Community centres (KAPI) in various areas of the Attiki region, Greater Athens.
KMOP successfully operated these Centres up to 1983, when they were handed over
to local authorities. KMOP still maintains an advisory role with these Centres,
with strengthened focus in 2012 when the European Year revolves around the
questions of ageing and intergenerational solidarity.
In the years that followed, KMOP’s social services consistently provided
advisory services to elderly people, focused on the development of innovative
actions and the exchange of elderly- centred "know how”. KMOP is also very
active in European projects such as: HOPE, a platform which enables elderly people
with Alzheimer’s disease to use innovative technologies for a more independent
life, or AGNES which aims to enhance the quality life of older people. Additionally,
KMOP participated in the ‘European Reference Framework Online for the
Prevention of Elder Abuse and Neglect’(EuROPEAN) project which was funded by
the European Commission and aimed to establish, over a two year period, a reference
framework of good policy measures and practices for the prevention of elder
In 2012, KMOP continues to provide integrated services to senior
citizens through the implementation of the aforementioned projects, as well as
the development of new activities aiming to assist elderly in their everyday
life and promote their rights in Greece and abroad.
5. Integrational Loans, Fonds du
Logement Wallon, Belgium
Fonds du Logement Wallon (FLW), (Walloon Housing Fund)
is a cooperative corporation active on advising, monitoring, and coordinating
organisations working in the field of housing, finance or social service
policies. FLW’s Integrational Loans
project provides support for retirement aged persons as well as seniors who
often prefer to continue to live in their homes, houses and everyday
neighbourhood, close to their family in contact with their relatives.
Individuals who wish to not to integrate and obtain nursing home care services
may apply for FLW counselling and advice.
In this context, FLW has adapted its mechanism of support for families
by allowing them to benefit from reduced-rate mortgages therefore able to host
one or more parents who are at least 60 years. After the official agreement,
the elderly parents resides either in the home of a relative or in a specific
neighbourhood located close to the base property of the family member. The
project also aims to contribute to the changing needs of an ageing population
which Europe is experiencing, boost
intergenerational relationships between grandparents and grandchildren as well
as help the improvement of the safety circumstances of senior’s people.
6. Service Laïque d’Aide aux
Personnes (SLP), Centre D’Action Laïque (CAL), Belgium
Nursing homes and care centres are emblematic places
for the use of moral support, where elderly people, even in their late life may
experience great distress, sometimes coupled with heavy loneliness. To ease the
afflictions of these generations, CAL volunteers mobilised under the
coordination of the SLP programme to provide fraternal listening services for
those who are in need. This daily assistance aims for the exclusion of any
moral dogmatism and based on the spirit of tolerance and unpolitical values,
open to all without limit associated age, gender, nationality, religious
Assisting and listening older people may help in the
recuperation of their independence or even physical condition. Volunteers may
support families in death as well, by giving assistance to the dying or
providing aid in the organisation of the funeral.
Published on 09 Nov 2011
Updated on 05 Jul 2012