“Closed doors; open windows and hearts ”, an intiative to combate loneliness and strengthen intergenerational ties during the lockdown

Name of the local/regional government
Manresa
Type of initiative
Response
Type of response
Social cohesion
Contact information:
Sònia Puyol González
European Projects and City Promotion Senior Officer
Manresa City Council

Plaça Major, 1 4ª planta
08241 Manresa
Tel. 93 878 24 72
spuyol@ajmanresa.cat
Initiative language
English

With the motto “Closed doors; open windows and hearts ”, the municipal Department of Children, Youth and the Elderly promotes a package of actions with the aim of strengthening ties and combating the loneliness of the group of elderly people who are suffering a high level of affectation for the Covid-19 pandemic, and also for congratulating the children celebrating the birthday during the confinement. Actions include telephone support for the elderly, congratulating birthdays with songs over the phone, a telephone reading club or sending a congratulatory video to children, among others.

Coinciding with the European Day of Solidarity between Generations, which is celebrated on April 29, the Department of Children, Youth and the Elderly of Manresa City Council has launched this campaign, in order to establish new relationships and strengthen intergenerational ties.

The campaign proposes a package of actions aimed at trying to strengthen our sense of community:

- Virtual support messages to elderly residences: in this action, it is proposed to the public to send messages of support to people living in the city's elderly residential centers. They can be drawings, poems, letters or videos. They are addressed  with the name of the author to a municipal email address, from where they send to the animation teams of the residences, who know how to manage the material received and make good use of it.

- Telephone support at homes of single people: citizens are asked to make regular calls to the elderly around them, especially those living alone. Citizens are encouraged to ask family or neighbors if they can provide them with phone contacts. Many routines have been broken these days and calls can be used to retrieve some references to people who are alone. Volunteers are asked to make a calendar and establish a regularity in calls, as well as creating an atmosphere of trust: talking about what worries them these days, the activities they do, the food they prepare, and how they feel.

- To call. To read. To listen. To enjoy: the Department of Children, Youth and the Elderly together with the Manresa Libraries offer a telephone reading club. This is an action to accompany the elderly during their confinement. Those who request it receive a call of up to two weekly sessions lasting 30 minutes, in order to receive a reading aloud by telephone. Those interested can send an email, providing contact details to vidaalsanys@ajmanresa.cat or call 010. Requests are sent to the library from where they coordinate the readings. These days, the benefits of hearing aloud are appreciated, they help us feel accompanied, enjoy texts that we may not be able to access otherwise, and entertain ourselves with a different activity.

- Life in the years: action to congratulate the birthday on elderly people confined, with the support of the All-Time Song Workshop. This group takes care to call people who are turning years these days, to congratulate them and sing them a selected song from a list of eighteen. The call can be requested by relatives or interested parties, providing personal data to the address vidaalsanys@ajmanresa.cat, or by calling 010, from where requests are processed 48 hours in advance.

- Happy Birthday: action to congratulate children who have birthday or will have birthday during confinement. The Department will congratulate the children by sending a diploma and a video with a birthday song composed especially for the occasion. Families must send an email to permoltsanys@ajmanresa.cat, providing contact details.

The Department of the Elderly of Manresa City Council considers that these support actions can contribute to providing extraordinary experiences that people will remember forever. The emotions we are experiencing these days will help us grow as individuals and build a better, more humane and more supportive world.

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