CSI
Community: Seniors Involved

Community: Seniors Involved

Erasmus+ “Community: Seniors Involved” (acronym CSI) took place in Kaunas (Lithuania)

The inspiration for the Project

Ageing is one of the most significant social transformations of the 21st century. By 2030, the number of older persons worldwide is set to increase by 56 percent – from 901 million to more than 1.4 billion. The number of people aged 60 and above will exceed that of young people aged 15 to 24. Roughly, two active people (15-65) will have to take care of one retired person (65+) in 2030 (source: Eurostat). As life expectancy is getting longer the society needs to adapt to these unprecedented demographic changes. A key problem in aging is social integration, that is the extent to which a person is actively connected and engaged with their family and community. It is not easy to remain socially involved when you are getting old, thus many of old people become isolated from the society, feeling lonely and left aside. What can be done about that? Research shows that older adults can maintain a fairly high level of physical and emotional well-being when they have something considered valuable by others in their society – it can be skills, knowledge, customs or economic resources. Along with all the partner organizations participating in the project, we believe that youth work (along with young people) should be put in good use & engage more with the elderly.

Objectives of the Project

The main objectives are to:

  • Foster opportunities for intergenerational learning in the participating countries;
  • Boost youngsters’ empathy, respect and social responsibility concerning older generations;
  • Raise the qualifications and competencies of youth workers, leaders, trainers and coaches who could work with inter-generational groups (both in local/international setting);
  • Help tackle the problem of elderly isolation;
  • Raise social awareness of the wider public.

Project’s Activities

During the Training Course, a number of activities involving seniors were held by the participants ranging from City Game to Traditional Folk dances:

Training Course  “Community: Seniors Involved”

Erasmus+ training course “Community: Seniors Involved” (acronym CSI) took place in Kaunas (Lithuania) from 20th of July until 28th of July, 2018.

City Game

On the second day of the Training Course, participants played the City Game in 3 groups. Each group had creative tasks linked to the seniors and society, Lithuanian history and culture. To successfully complete their mission each group had one and half hours and they had to interact with their environment as well as with the dwellers of the city. The most creative and funny pictures taken during the game can be seen below.

Guest Speaker: Silver Line

Our guest speakers from the initiative “Sidabrinė linija” (Silver line) (by M. Čiuželio labdaros ir paramos fondas) shared their story with us explaining how socializing is important in an old age. The organization offers regular phone calls to seniors. How does it work? Specially trained volunteers are being matched with seniors according to their interests and set the concrete date and time (once per week) when they have a nice conversation. Participants had a chance to ask questions such as “what are you talking with seniors about?”, “what was the funniest story you heard?” and many others. It was nice to see how inspired people were! Also, the guests presented an initiative “100 metų kartu” (100 years together) – an incredible album and a cinematic portrait of Lithuanian centenarians who were the youngest citizens of Restored Independent Lithuania.

You can find more information here:
Facebook page of “Silver line” Lithuania: https://www.facebook.com/sidabrinelinija/
Album “100 years together”: http://www.pozerskyte.com/100-met371-kartu.html
Trailer of the movie “100 years together”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OES1C8V_Lg

Guest Speakers: Marijampoles University of the Third Age (U3A)

Marijampoles University of the Third Age (U3A) is the biggest and most active 3rd age university in Lithuania with 14 different faculties that provide non-formal education for seniors. Moreover, they offer many cultural activities: folk dance performance groups, musical ensembles, arts and crafts and many more. The director of the university Ona Sakalauskienė (almost 80 years old) has been leading the university for 13 years already and is full of life and joy! All the participants were so surprised when they learned that Ona has been in 68 trips in the last 13 years, visited so many countries that it is hard to believe! Also, she is an honored member of the city awarded by the president of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė. New partnerships were made when Ona and Milosz, the professional juggling trainer from Poland and the participant of our project, exchanged their business cards and decided to organize a workshop in 3rd Age University in the near future.

Juggling Workshop

Right after Third Age University guest speaker activity, a very fun and sporty juggling workshop was held by Polish participant Milosz. During the workshop, Milosz taught basic juggling tricks to his students and stressed that Juggling is highly beneficial for brain development and it is proven by scientific research that juggling helps to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

New partnerships were made as well! Our guest speakers Ona, Jūratė and Aušrinė joined the juggling workshop of Milosz, too. They exchanged their business cards and decided to organize a workshop in 3rd Age University in the near future!

Miłosz Bałdyga Juggling & Training Facebook Page:

Milosz’s Youtube Channel:

Country Slide 1

Country Slide 2

Country Slide 3

Public Event

During the public movie night “Lithuanian Shorts” next to the Kaunas Castle, the participants walked among the audience with their hand-made CSI Community: Seniors Involved T-shirts on and had conversations to the public audiences about seniors, their situation in Lithuania, our project, participating countries and loneliness at old age. They also distributed flyers written in English and Lithuanian to both seniors and youth with project details and contact information on them. Both English and Lithuanian flyers can be found at the end of the page. During that public event, the participants did not only promote the project immensely but also had great fun!

Nordic Walk and Picnic With Seniors

Nordic Walk, a hiking discipline was born in Scandinavia, is total body version of walking that can be enjoyed both by non-athletes as a health-promoting physical activity and by athletes as a sport. It can be done by any person at any age both elder and young. The participants had the Nordic Walk activity with seniors in the Kaunas botanical garden and after had a small picnic and socialized with seniors of Kaunas city. Attending such activities not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also increase the amount of social interaction with seniors and prevents social isolation/loneliness. We greatly appreciate The Kaunas City Municipality Public Health Bureau for their amazing initiatives fostering senior involvement and promoting a healthy lifestyle. For more information about their initiatives :

Folk Dances with Seniors

Traditional folk dances of Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Bulgaria, Portugal, and Turkey had been learned, adapted to old age and also taught to seniors for cultural exchange and interaction. The best traditional dance figures had been hand-picked by the participants from their respective countries and performed with the best traditional songs. Seniors very nicely proved that learning has no age limit and dances of other countries/cultures can be learned by the ease even at the old age. They also taught a traditional folklore game to the participants and played all together. At the end of the event, participants were presented by small memorials.

Workshops

Other Activities

Socializing activities, Cultural Country Nights, Energizers and other activities…

Participant Testimonials

Youth Exchange”Community: Seniors Involved”

Erasmus+ youth exchange “Community: Seniors Involved” (acronym CSI) took place in Kaunas (Lithuania) from 11th of August until 19th of August , 2018.

 City game

On the second day of the Training Course, participants played the City Game in 3 groups. Each group had creative tasks linked to the seniors and society, Lithuanian history and culture. To successfully complete their mission each group had one and half hours and they had to interact with their environment as well as with the dwellers of the city. The most creative and funny pictures taken during the game can be seen below.

Workshop on generations

We had an interesting workshop led by a psychologist about what are the stages of life, what tasks we need to accomplish in order to sustain ourselves and live a healthy and meaningful life. A big part of the workshop was dedicated to the differences between different generations. A generation is a group of people born around the same time and raised around the same place. People in this “birth cohort” exhibit similar characteristics, preferences, and values over their lifetimes. It was interesting to discover what generation Baby boomers, X, Y, Z and Alpha means and to learn more about the ways how to communicate between each other.

Country presentations

Each country team had to prepare to present the current situation of seniors in their country as well as to find some initiatives that are being implemented in order to help seniors to better adapt to the process of ageing and involve them more into social activities. Here are some moments from the presentations:

Guest speaker: Coolūkis

Here are some moments of our amazing guest speaker Austė Černiauskaitė who presented us all about the organization which helps people who want to garden and those who have a place for it find each other and collaborate. Q lot of seniors are sharing their gardens and this is a perfect way to meet others by doing something together! Participants were happy to hear the story and were also thinking about starting something similar back in their countries.

 

You can learn more about the organisation here: http://www.coolukis.lt/

If you like the idea, like their facebook page for some news: https://www.facebook.com/coolukis/

Would you like to join? You can contact Austė directly: https://www.facebook.com/austecer

 

After the presentation we decorated some flower pots to present them as gifts to our senior friends in elderly house that we later visited. A small act of kindness can bring a lot of joy! We not only made the pots, but also wrote some inspirational messages-letters to each in both our national languages and in Lithuanian.

Energizers

Every morning and in before the sessions we had a great time doing some energizers which helped to boost our lever of energy and prepare our mind for the next activities!

Bingo game

Bingo is a popular game amongst seniors in many countries (well, except Lithuania 🙂 ) that’s why we decided to try it ourselves! We have changed the rules a bit: instead of numbers we filled the grid with different statements related to seniors like “What song represent you a senior?” or “What was that you’ve learned from a senior?”. You can find the full grid of questions on the bottom of website (Project’s schedule, activities and material).

 

We mingled around, trying to find someone who could confirm the statement or answer the question and when we finished, of course, we shouted “Bingo”! Take a look at some moments from the game:

Preparation for the dance event

We were very excited to prepare for the biggest event of the week – dancing folk dances – which was open to public and was held next to the Kaunas Castle. We were promoting our event in elderly houses & day centre, posted it on Facebook as well: https://www.facebook.com/events/440232116479330/

 

First of all, we all needed to learn to dance traditional dances of each country ourselves. Look at some moments from our rehearsals:

“Dance with a granny” event

Activities together with seniors in “Kauno kartų namai”

One of the main reasons for our youth exchange was not only to gain knowledge about seniors and share our experiences, but also to try new different ways how can we spend quality time together with elderly. We definitely succeeded to do so in “Kauno kartu namai” where we organised a few activities with seniors: we were baking pies (mmm, they were delicious), singing traditional songs from our countries (seniors also joined and sung a traditional Lithuanian song for us!) and danced folk dances from the previous day – a lot of beautiful moments to brighten the day of people living in elderly house. However, it didn’t go one way, it was a priceless experience for youngsters as well.. It was clearly seen how important for older people is to be heard, to be seen, and to be involved. They are the same persons as we are and this intergenerational dialogue gave us a lot to think about!

 

Visit the website of elderly home: http://www.kartunamai.lt/

Cultural evenings

This is the time for us to share our culture, history, food and uniqueness. In this project, every country had a very original way to do so. For example, Latvians shared their Baltic roots by inviting us to join for some of the pagan traditions, Polish team invited us to join them for a family reunion dinner, Lithuanians threw a traditional wedding. We had a great time learning from each other and celebrating diversity!

Other activities

Take a look at some moments from other activities of our youth exchange:

Project’s schedule, activities and material:

Media About Us:

Projects’ schedules, activities and materials:

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