In Poland, five million people live in single households, and these are mainly people aged over 60. One in ten people aged over 80 do not receive any visitors. [..] Loneliness and not having someone kind to talk to is harmful to physical and mental health (Report on loneliness, Wiosna Association 2020). Another group of highly vulnerable persons are those that care for sick and dependent persons. According to the report Carers for people with cancer and neurological illnesses (SW Research, 2018), carers often give up their plans and passions (66%), and even work/studies (11.9%). When dealing with illness, persons close to a patient concentrate on the patient’s needs and forget about their own, and this has a detrimental effect on their life and mental and physical state.
The project is intended to combat social exclusion of the senior citizens and their carers, reduce loneliness, and improve their mental state.
We will create five local senior care networks, in which multi-generation teams of volunteers will provide support for senior persons and their carers by providing day-to-day help (e.g. shopping, reading, administrative authority matters, operating devices, going on walks), and joint measures for integration (Sunday dinner, cooking workshops, meetings concerning art, helpline, help with mental problems).
The program that gives volunteers training comprises workshops for leaders and workshops and meetings on the specific nature of activities for the seniors, a carer course, and coaching. A group of carers will be selected, who are willing to take up self-advocacy activities. Following training, this group will draw up proposals for improving their situation, and submit them to the municipal authorities. We also provide self-advocates with coaching and advice.
Senior care networks will be created in Bochnia, Kraków, Oświęcim, Maków Podhalański, and Wojanów. There will be 70 volunteers providing care for 270 senior persons and carers of sick people.