25-year anniversary of the organization in Germany!
Freunde alter Menschen e. V. hold a photo exhibition to commemorate the organization’s 25th anniversary.
Twenty-five friendships between volunteers and elderly people were portrayed in a very special way to commemorate this anniversary. The photographer (Birte Zellentin) had the volunteers sit in the favourite chair of the old friend they visit. Fifty impressive portraits were produced as a result of this.
It's been 25 years that Freunde alter Menschen e. V. works to reduce the isolation and loneliness felt by older people in Germany. The first office was opened in 1991, in Berlin-Kreuzberg. Today there are numerous offices operating in locations such as Berlin-Mariendorf, Berlin-Reinickendorf, Wedding, Hamburg and Cologne.
The organization, which gathers over 400 volunteers and over 500 old friends, facilitates visitation arrangements between young people and the elderly, organizes events, operates a telephone advice service and offers advice on issues relating to old age.
In addition, the organization has been always committed to the development of age-friendly housing and created the first shared house for people suffering from Alzheimer disease.
>> Freunde alter Menschen e. V.
A very nice celebration of the International Day of Older Persons - October 1st
Every 1st of October, the different organizations members of the International Federation les petits frères des Pauvres, celebrate in their country the International Day of Older Persons.
This year, hundreds of volunteers in 10 countries participated in different actions in public spaces to alert general public of the increase of social isolation and loneliness of the elderly in our societies.
The aim is to arouse interest and to have always more people committed to alleviate isolation of the elderly, especially those most in need, so that they can find a role in our society again. One of the main challenges is to reinforce the links between generations.
A brief insight:
In Romania, with the campaign Flori Pentru Suflet 2016, few hundreds of volunteers have offered flowers to elders in 21 regions of the country.
In Madrid, the concept of AUTHENTIC TOURS is a good occasion to change perceptions: workshops are organized in which the guides are the elderly served by the organization; they can share their knowledge with the general public (as guide in a museum, by teaching how to grow vegetables in an urban environment or how to kneet).
In Mexico, Facebook was used to raise awareness at a large scale. Everyday of this week, a new picture was posted.
In Poland, the youth got organized in order to offer 3000 flowers to the elderly of Warsaw, Poznan and Lublin.
In France, 90 000 flowers have been offered to passers in 220 cities and 350 locations.
In Catalunia, a huge festive march called LAS FLORES DE LA AMISTAD has been organized to raise awareness.
o Ireland: organisation of Olympics for elderly.
o Germany: participation in a big flashmob.
o Canada : mobilisation in several regions of Quebec and organisation of an intergenerational walk.
o USA: raising awareness actions, intergenerational meetings, visits and distribution of small gifts to elderly served.
In France, the results of an opinion pool about intergenerational relationships show an interesting perception gap:
45 % of the elderly are mostyl expecting signs of affection from the young generation, while the young generation (<35 years old) thinks the old generation needs primarily their help for tiring daily tasks.
Even though more than 50% of the French consider that the young and the old generations help each other, 2/3 think they don’t quite understand each other.
When the young generation meets with the old generation, both perception are changed. Marthe, a 19 years old volunteer for les petits frères des Pauvres in France, can tell: « Before, I saw eldery as persons... maybe not from an other world, but from an other time anyway. While now, I’ve realized that what’s important is the person as such, what she says, who she is (…). One of the old ladies I’m visiting told me the other day: « Me, I’m not an age, I’m a body and a soul ».
To read more about it (in French).
St George’s Day is a significant time for the Amics de la Gent Gran in Catalonia!
On the 23rd of April, the main streets of Catalonia are filled with a festive atmosphere for the celebration of St George (Sant Jordi, Saint of Catalonia). The atmosphere is contradictory and highlights the loneliness experienced by the elderly; a tragedy which if too often silenced for the majority of citizens. The campaign “Roses against oblivion” aims to raise awareness among the general public. On that day, when Dolores and Maria, the two elderly people accompanied by the Amics of the Gent Gran (and the campaign’s protagonists) receive the visit from their friends (Journalist Albert Om and Singer-Actress Nina), it is evident for them that: ‘The most important thing is not receiving the rose but receiving some pleasant company.’
Social mobilisation in Catalonia: more than 4000 roses offered to the elderly!
On Saturday 23rd April, more than 1500 volunteers of Amics de la Gent Gran kept on the tradition and offered a rose and a book to the elderly they give company to throughout the year. This event took place in 11 cities of Catalonia, where the foundation is developing its social action. Prestigious personalities from the cultural, social and political world have also visited some elderly and everyone was invited to join the movement and offer a rose to an elderly person in its neighbourhood.
Thanks to the support of nearly 100 volunteers and dozens of employees from partner businesses, 1919 elderly people living in 31 retirement homes also received a rose on Friday 22nd April. In total, 4065 roses have been offered.
The purchase of a rose allows moments of companionship
This great voluntary action is linked with the foundation’s most important awareness and fundraising campaign – Roses Contra l’Oblit (Roses against oblivion) which started 18 years ago. It is an opportunity to encourage new volunteers to join the organization in the combat against loneliness experienced by the elderly.
Amics de la Gent Grant has sold 18 000 roses throughout Catalonia. The profits from the selling are wholly dedicated to supporting the programmes of the organization. These roses, made of felt and tissue, are totally handcrafted and contribute to a social rehabilitation project in a disadvantaged area of Barcelona.
The website www.rosescontraloblit.com is promoting the campaign's publicity. Everyone can share photographs of their roses in solidarity with the elderly. On Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the hastag #rosescontraloblit also promotes the campaign. To view the video of the campaign: Youtube.
Newsletter of the General Assembly 15-16 April 2016 held in France
The international Federation of the Little brothers of the Poor brings its decision-making bodies twice a year, spring and fall. With the president, the delegates from the eight member countries form the Board and the General Assembly and ensure decision-making on a set of issues of mutual interest to the mission of the little brothers. They plan all the actions found to be relevant and useful to all.
The last General Assembly was held in April 15 and 16, in Gagny, France. Among the issues that were the subject of the work and decisions of the Assembly, here are some highlights:
· After consulting all member countries and meet getting their approval, the General Assembly proceeded to the final adoption of the mission and vision of the Federation. These official documents will be available on the Federation website.
· The Assembly agreed that these official documents, which require the support of its members, will be adopted in French, which will be the official version. The Board/GA will acknowledge the translations into other languages (English, Spanish and possibly others).
· With regard to the International Charter, the Assembly adopted a version that must be ratified by each country. Delegates, members of the GA, have a mandate to come back to the next GA meeting in November with the confirmation of member countries.
· The mandate of the Commission on the future of the Federation has been revised and the Commission has accelerated its work. More meetings will be held to propose recommendations faster.
· Delegates received the representatives of Romania and Mexico, who wish to become members of the International Federation. They received the various elements of their applications and have listened attentively to their excellent presentations. A decision will be taken at the General Assembly in November. The continuous and valuable support of France who sponsors them, allows them to consider this new phase of their development.
· The Assembly adopted an internal policy on crisis management for the benefit of its members. It is now in place to enable the Federation to respond rapidly to particularly difficult situations that might live its members and establish a process of assistance in different situations.
· The financial statements of the Federation are healthy despite the exceptional deficit generated by the 2015 International Conference. However, because some funds were reserved for this Conference, the deficit was easily covered.
· To enrich the participation of member countries in our bodies (Board and General Assembly), it was decided, on an exceptional basis, to reimburse the expenses of a second representative per country for these meetings in addition to the delegate. The results of the Commission's work on the future of the Federation will enable us to reassess the representation of the member countries
· Finally, there will be elections for president and treasurer positions in November for a new term of two years. Their mandate will be subject to a call for applications. In due time, the information will be passed to the members on all aspects related to these elections.
President: Pierre Asselin
A sign that isolation of elderly is a today’s society debate in Canada…
February was marqued by several invitation on TV show, from the famous “Banc public” on Télé-Québec to Salut Bonjour, or from CityLife to Montreal Billboard, two English-speaking TV shows. They were fantastic occasions to raise awareness of the problem of isolation of the elderly among the general public.
Banc public with Guylaine Tremblay on Télé-Québec – Isolation of the elderly
Les Petits Frères were invited, along with the famous comedienne and actress Guylaine Tremblay to discuss the isolation of our elders.
Loneliness can affect anybody, but our elders are the most at risk of being neglected and feeling abandoned. Older adults who are socially isolated will tend to develop problems which can affect their physical and mental condition. The mission of Les Petits Frères is to create interactions in their lives.
Salut, Bonjour ! – The consequences of isolation on health
Following an article published in la Presse stating that one elder out of five doesn’t have any close friend, the director of Les Petits Frères du Québec was invited to discuss this problem with Ève-Marie Lortie on TV show Salut Bonjour.
« The more we get older, the more this pain will weigh upon us and we cannot get over it because our faculties decrease: hearing, mobility, etc. Not only isolation can cause diseases but, because you are alone, it’s all the more difficult to recover from it. » – Caroline Sauriol, Executive director of Les Petits Frères of Québec
CityLife à MAtv – Living alone, a growing tendency
Living alone is an important tendency in Montréal, but the question is what is the impact on elderly persons? This was the subject of a round table introduced by Tina Tenneriello on TV show CityLife de MaTV in which were invited Les Petits Frères.
Montreal Billboard à MAtv – A focus on the mission of Les Petits Frères
Lucie Pinsonneault, director of Donation, was invited on TV show Montreal Billboard de MAtv which showcases organizations that bring a positive change to the life of Montreal’s population.
She described the different positive impacts of the mission of Les Petits Frères, which is fighting isolation of the elderly by creating a committed and loyal family around them.
More details: les Petits Frères website
COP21 Paris: to what extent and how can older people be concerned by the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference?
HelpAge International will attend the COP21 in Paris from 30th of November to 11th December 2015 to ensure that the strategies being developed take older people into consideration. Here we propose an extract from a very interesting article on the subject that can be found on HelpAge website.
(c) Robin Wyatt/HelpAge International
Man Chan, the head of the village Piang Kok in Thailand, inside his DRR nerve centre
The United Nations Climate Change Conference (or COP21) is a crucial opportunity to create the first universal, legally-binding agreement to effectively tackle climate change and move the societies of the world towards resilient, low-carbon economies. This agreement would come into effect in 2020.
To achieve this, the method must be two-fold: working to reduce global warming to under 2°C through cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions, and ensuring that countries where climate change is already having an effect can adapt.
A team from HelpAge will attending key events in Paris to call for world leaders to agree a realistic and binding framework, and to ensure that climate change strategies being developed take into account that climate change is happening within an ageing world.
What does climate change mean to older people?
Climate change is leading to a more volatile and unpredictable world, where natural disasters are occurring five times as often as they were in the 1970s.
During catastrophes such as floods, earthquakes and storms, older people are disproportionately affected due to their specific, age-based vulnerabilities.
How can COP21 help ensure older people are more disaster resilient?
Key to reducing the impact of natural catastrophes on older people is disaster risk reduction (DRR). By working with older people to understand their vulnerabilities, policymakers can implement age-inclusive resilience planning to mitigate the impacts of events such as floods, storms and earthquakes.
HelpAge carries out DRR work in disaster-prone communities in more than 15 countries worldwide. We promote resilience through initiatives that target older people and that allow older people to take a lead on disaster risk assessment.
To help older people in villages in Thailand, we’ve helped them to develop post-disaster reaction plans led by a ten-person committee. This includes checking in on the older members of the community to ensure they are okay.
Find out more :
- Discover in which countries the disaster risk faced by older people is greatest in the Disaster Risk and Age Index.
- Read more about DRR and climate change work.
HelpAge International / 12-2015 / Extract
To read the entire article: http://www.helpage.org/what-we-do/climate-change/cop21-paris-2015-united-nations-climate-change-conference/
Other related media:
Together we can overcome isolation
100 people from 10 different countries gathered for the Congress of the International Federation of the little brothers of the Poor. Two days of conferences and workshops related to the question of aging and isolation of the elderly:
Keynote address from Dr. Jerome Gabis on the first day – A preposition proposition: Can we live without “WITH”?
- The Aging Offender – Kevin Bryan
- Empowering Senior out of Homelessness – Jean-Michel Giraud
- Opening Minds through Art (OMA): Overcoming the stigma and isolation of Dementia - Dr. Fopma -Loy
- Spirituality and the Second half of Life - Sr. Barbara
- Video presentation “Isolation” - Marley Molkentin
Keynote address from Teepa Snow on the second day – Progression through Dementia: finding gems and seeing more than loss
- Welcoming Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) – Older Adults Kathi Boyle
- Housing and Senior trends - Mark Browning
- Making Visits Valuable and Positive – Teepa Snow
- Engaging the Healer Within - Jackie Millay
- Mental Illness and the Elderly - Gary Pollock
- Why Do They Do That? Understanding Symptoms and Behaviors – Teepa Snow
These two days gave the opportunity for all to meet and exchange about the programs they run to fight against isolation of the elderly, thanks to the commitment of thousands of volunteers. Everyone left with new ideas and new energy. Next Congress will be in 2018.
> View programm in detail
[The conference documents are available on the intranet of the International Federation]
Congress of the International Federation in Cincinnati from 15-18 October 2015
The Congress of the International Federation of the little brothers of the Poor will take place on October 15 to 18 in Cincinnati - USA. This conference is an opportunity for all members of the International Federation to meet, to exchange and share their skills.
During these three days, participants will have the opportunity to hear several speakers on topics such as:
- Prison Aging,
- Art and dementia,
- Homelessness and the elderly,
- Spirituality in the second part of his life.
The International Federation's members share the same mission: to fight against the isolation of the elderly through mobilizing citizens.
Meeting in Romania with the founding members of the association Niciodata singur – Prietenii Varstnicilor in Romania
The president of the International Federation of the little brothers of the Poor met Saturday, August 29, the founding members of the association Niciodata singur – Prietenii Varstnicilor.
This Romanian association, whose mission is to fight against the isolation of older people, is born of a partnership between the Foundation Princess Margareta and les petits frères des Pauvres France.
Volunteers of the Never Alone program have decided to create an autonomous association after three years of work in different areas:
- The mobilization of volunteers,
- The governance,
- The situation of the elderly in Romania.
The president of the International Federation of the little brothers of the Poor took advantage of this meeting to highlight the work done and to explain the conditions for membership of the International Federation.
The 7 American chapters meet in Oka
The representatives of the American chapters have met in Oka, Québec last June from 11 to 14 in order to reinforce the American network.
This week-end was the occasion for the American chapters to redefine their mission, vision, goals and objectives.
It is a big step forward for the American network thanks to the work of the representatives of Boards and Directors of the chapters of Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houghton, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
Roses against forgetting, a simple gesture to make happy many elders
For the 17th consecutive year, Amics de la Gent Gran (Catalonia) launches its most important awareness and fundraising campaign of the year: Roses against Forgetting. On the occasion of the traditional holiday in Catalonia known as San Jordi (Saint Georges), 25.000 roses are sold at the price of 4€. These roses are a brooch made also by a nonprofit organization.
Also, on April 23rd, San Jordi’s Day, Amics de la Gent Gran will welcome more than one thousand volunteers that will offer to the elderly that they accompany all year round a natural rose and a book (typical action in this day). It takes place in 11 cities in Catalonia where the foundation leads its action.
In some cases, these volunteers are students or workers from partner companies that will offer roses to the elders living in residential homes. Also, celebrities from the political, cultural and social scope will join this movement of solidarity with the elderly. In total, it will be more than 2.500 natural roses that will be distributed.
To communicate about this campaign, there is a website: www.rosescontraloblit.com where everybody can share a photo with the rose and an elderly person.
A half-marathon for the Seniors!
"Mali bracia Ubogich" association, together with a pair of friends, Marzena and Leszek, decided to draw attention to one particular problem of Seniors in Poland. Those who can't walk by themselves any more, are often "jailed" in their homes, simply because they can't afford a wheelchair. We can and want to change that!
For that reason, we will attempt to jointly complete a half-marathon in Poznań. Leszek will run 21 kilometers, pushing a wheelchair with Ms Ewa, who is an elderly person and has difficulties with moving. We want to show that everything is possible and that we should pay attention to the problems of our Seniors.
Apart from awareness raising, we also aim to collect money to fund two wheelchairs that will be jointly used by Seniors who "mali bracia Ubogich" Association is taking care of. The amount needed is 3.000 PLN (around 750 EUR).
This half-marathon will likely be the hardest thing ever done for Leszek. But the smile of Seniors and all good things happening around it, are definitively worth it. A huge emotional support will make it possible. We believe that it's not possible to change the World at once, but it is possible to change life of individual people. This is what we were focusing on during our previous "Kilimanjaro" action and this is that we are focusing now and in the future.
Please, join us and support!
Newsletter of the General Assembly of March 20 and 21, 2015 held in Barcelona
The international Federation of the little brothers of the Poor brings its decision-making bodies twice a year, spring and fall. With the president, the delegates from the eight member countries form the Board and the General Assembly and ensure decision-making on a set of issues of mutual interest to the mission of the little brothers. They plan all the actions found to be relevant and useful to all.
Amics de la Gent Gran warmly welcomed the General Assembly in Barcelona on March 20 and 21. Here are a few main lines, emerging from these meetings.
First of all, emerges a general observation that the International Federation is consolidating, structures itself now with more methodology, thanks to noticeable engagements of the president, Pierre Asselin, the Treasurer, Francesc Patricio and to the involvement of France. It is getting organized to achieve greater autonomy and ability to better serve its members.
To be noted in particular:
• That the members of the Board/Assembly were pleased to welcome several new delegates representing their countries, including Wolf Hinsching (Germany). Caroline Sauriol (Canada), Hervé Goarant (Switzerland), and Simone Mitchell - Peterson (USA).
• The Congress, which will be held in Cincinnati, USA, (October 15-18, 2015) is progressing well. The organizing team promises you current and interesting subjects. Budgets are defined and delegations are getting organized.
• The commission on the future and the governance of the Federation already met a few times. Its work is progressing well on substantial items such as the International Charter that must promote common values, the statutes and bylaws of the federation and with a look at budgets. The commission will continue its work during the year and will report.
• A workshop allowed delegates forming the Board to review its role, both to reflect the needs of the countries towards the Board as to return to them in order to circulate the decisions and information.
• The various elements of the strategic plan of the Federation are progressing well. Some files have already been delivered, others are on the way to completion and adjustments to the plan have been made to update it and reflect needs, including communication ones.
• France is actively monitoring a partnership, which should enable the Federation to soon welcome a new member, Romania. Their representatives will be among us in Cincinnati.
• Finally, a Committee is currently working on the development of a crisis management policy for emergency assistance needs that could be expressed by members to the Federation. This issue is progressing and the federation will soon be able to count on a well defined framework for action to handle these situations.
The International Federation of the little brothers of the Poor is a non profit international organization established in eight countries, with thousands of volunteers throughout the world.
It was established in 1979, so as to promote the action of the little brothers of the Poor globally by helping member organizations to develop their action, by encouraging and allowing communications between member countries and by helping in the development of establishments in other countries of the world.
President : Pierre Asselin
Delegate : Wolf Hinsching
Delegate : Caroline Sauriol
Delegate: Francesc Patricio
Delegate : Alain Villez
Delegate: James O’Brien
Delegate: Barbara Boryczka
Delegate : Hervé Goarant
Delegate: Simone Mitchell-Peterson
Knitting for and with Elders
Pauline Mercier, volunteer and Madame Beauchemin, old friend from Canada
During the last years, various associations of Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly has developed different activities related to knitting. Whether if it is to make some fundraising, solidarity or to share one afternoon between volunteers and elders, the action of knitting is growing and here are some examples …
Les petits frères. Canada
A group of old friends from Sherbrooke and Montreal feel useful and break their isolation by knitting for the community. Their soft and warm gesture helps the new immigrants of the region of Sherbrooke with mitts, scarfs and woollen caps, but also in Montreal, where they adorn the view of the passers-by with the creation of a collective work which dresses in a "graffiti-knitting", a tree in front of the house of the “les petits frères” headquarters, at Garnier street.
These projects were introduced by two volunteers who largely contributed to their implementation and who participated, by their leadership, to improve the well-being of the old friends.
Amics de la Gent Gran. Barcelone
"La bufanda de la iaia " is a project launched by Amics de la Gent Gran and “El mundo al revés” communication agency. Was set up for the first time in September, 2012.
The objectives at the origin of this project were: promoting social action and raising awareness by the development of knitting meetings where volunteers of all ages, promote intergenerational relationships and active ageing.
Les petits frères des Pauvres. France
This action, called “Mets ton bonnet”, was born in 2005. Innocent, a company that makes fresh fruit juice, launched an operation to support les petits frères des Pauvres. The objective was to help the association, but also to create a network of support.
The company suggested the creation of knitting mini-caps to be put on the bottles of smoothie and, for every sold bottle, Innocent will put back 20 centimes to the association. A 62 925,40 euro check marked the end of the operation "Mets ton bonnet" 2014.
"Time has another importance for her"
International exchange is important within our organization. Every two or three years our European volunteers have this possibility to meet each other: 2009 in Barcelona and 2012 in Paris. In 2014 it was up to Germany to be the host.
International exchange is important within our organization. Every two or three years our European volunteers have this possibility to meet each other: 2009 in Barcelona and 2012 in Paris. In 2014 it was up to Germany to be the host.
Volunteers and employees planed and organized hand in hand the meeting. “It was important for us that volunteers contribute to the program. Because they are the main actors and they know best which issues matter.”, says Klaus-W. Pawletko. Very briefly it became evident that the volunteers meeting should provide possibilities to exchange experience in volunteers work. The two days program was correspondingly organized. On Friday Barbara Weigl – member of a parliamentary party and Gertraud Hardtmann – a 82 years old psychoanalyst started with two speeches. Then the around 50 volunteers had the first chance in one-to-one-interviews to get to know each other better.
In the afternoon the volunteers discussed in workshops the issue what is special about the volunteer work within our organization. The answers were quite different. For Brigitte from France was it importance to share her time with an elderly. Because of her visits of an old lady she realized: Time has another importance for her. Attracta from Ireland learned through her volunteer work to listen to old people. “In Ireland there is this phrase: The human as one mouth and two ears. I always have to think about that when I am talking to elderly.”, is she telling other volunteers. Nuria from Barcelona is visiting an old lady and she likes best that her elderly appreciates so much the visits. “I am working during the week. We meet every Saturday. She is visiting a hairdresser before. Just for me. That´s very touching. The meetings with her are a real pleasure for me.”
On the second day the volunteers discussed the challenges in their contact with elderly and how can the organization support them. One big challenge came up very briefly: the appropriate dimension between closeness and distance.
After the two days all participants were satisfied with the exchanges and new findings they can take back home.
Ann Bieberstain, staff at Freunde alter Menschen