Program duration: 12/04/2020 - 30/06/2021

Friendship at every Age: A program to combat loneliness and social isolation of elderly people

Prolepsis Institute implements the program Friendship at every Age aimed at tackling social isolation and loneliness of elderly people, in collaboration with the international organization Les Petits Frères des Pauvres. The program is implemented with a donation by TIMA Charitable Foundation and is also supported by Envolve Entrepreneurship.

Within the program Friendship at every Age, groups of volunteers are set up at a local community-neighborhood level. The volunteer groups provide support to older people through:

·        Telephone communication or home visits on a weekly basis

·        Collective activities, events etc.

Due to the new coronavirus pandemic, volunteer visits to beneficiaries, as well as collective activities have been replaced by regular telephone communication.

Within the framework of the Friendship at every Age program, a helpline (210-6101300) is available to older people who feel lonely. The help line operates from Monday to Friday, 11am-5pm, providing communication in a safe environment with suitably trained staff.

A phone call to the 210-6101300 helpline is charged as a local call. Calls are not recorded, and Prolepsis Institute does not maintain or process personal data.

Prolepsis Institute has conducted extensive research on preventive medicine and multiannual awareness-raising and information actions addressed to senior citizens. Thus, this program was launched with a view to:

·        Fighting loneliness and social isolation of senior citizens through human contact and bonding

·        Strengthening self-confidence of older people

·        Highlighting the needs and problems of senior citizens

·        Promoting volunteering in Greece

This program is implemented by Prolepsis Institute in cooperation with Les Petits Frères des Pauvres (PFP), a large international organization based in France, with experience and extensive presence in supporting older people. PFP executives provide expertise and guidance on training and implementation throughout the program. With this cooperation, Greece is the eleventh country worldwide in which this initiative is implemented.

The program was implemented as a pilot scheme from December 2019 to April 2020, with the participation of volunteers and beneficiaries in the fire-stricken areas of Eastern Attica (Mati) and Palaio Faliro; in March 2020, a cooperation with the following care centers began:

·        Athens Nursing Home, (Eleimon Etaireia Athinon Girokomeion-Ptohokomeion)

·        “Home of Christian Love”, a welfare home for elderly women, operated by the “Orthodox Christian Corner” foundation 

·        The Elderly Care Unit of the Meropeio Charitable Foundation

Greece is one of the countries with the highest percentage of people over the age of 65 (21.5% of the population corresponding to 2.3 million people). At the same time, approximately 24% of older people live alone. Social isolation and loneliness not only reduce their life quality, but also have adverse effects on their health. Concurrently, 22.8% of senior citizens in Greece (529,000 people) are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. More than 80% suffer from chronic diseases, while over 53% have limited their activities due to health issues. Additionally, it is a fact that after a natural disaster, older people get affected to a greater extent and more directly, as happened in the case of the devastating wildfires in Eastern Attica.

Based on the above, comprehensive social inclusion of the elderly through appropriate measures and through the adoption of good practices applied internationally, is of the utmost importance. 

You can contact Prolepsis Institute if you wish to participate as volunteer or as beneficiary or if you know of someone who could benefit from this program. Telephone number: 210 6255700, email: info@prolepsis.gr