How to get loneliness

Across Germany, over two million people over the age of 80 live alone. One in four of them only gets a visit from friends or acquaintances once a month. Some no longer have any contact with the outside world and live almost in complete isolation. The consequences: depression, listlessness. In the long run, people lose their courage to face life. The inclusion makers in Erlangen want to counteract this.

From the beginning, coordinator Felicitas Keefer was particularly concerned with the group of lonely elderly women and men. She wishes that as many people as possible who live in Erlangen but have been forgotten, find their way back into the middle of society. With the meeting “Erlangen tells - life stories in the generation café” that has already worked in part.

“Again and again women and men come to me after the event and thank me for the offer,” she says happily. “Tell them that it finally made them social again and that it was good for them. Some explicitly say that they felt lonely and then ask me what else they can do about it. "

New ideas

The generation café gives young and old a space to exchange ideas. The group of participants is constantly expanding. “Nevertheless, one of our greatest challenges remains to reach people who really live in isolation, who isolate themselves more and more, are ashamed of them and end up in a downward spiral,” reports Felicitas Keefer.

That is why the team at Kommune Inklusiv would like to find other ways to get to these people. This should happen through things that inevitably occur even in isolation. “Where do even lonely people go? To the pharmacy, to the post office, to the hairdresser, to the bakery. We can take advantage of that and get the people who work there on board. "

For example, by informing them about the offers from Kommune Inklusiv Erlangen and possibly even training them. Health insurance companies, “meals on wheels” and care services should also be contacted in a targeted manner. The KI team is also working with the health region plus partner on a sponsorship model.

Invited to the specialist congress

Despite new approaches and measures, Felicitas Keefer also wants to further develop the tried and tested series of events at the Generations Café. Above all, a creative preoccupation with one's own biography was well received by the participants. That is why more generation cafés should have this kind of workshop character in the future.

Incidentally, not only the venues of the generation café are barrier-free. A translation into German sign language and an FM system for people with hearing difficulties are also provided. In addition, there is a transport service for people with limited mobility, which brings them to the next appointment about “Erlangen tells” on time.

The Federal Office for Family and Civil Society Tasks has recognized that this is something special: With the concept of the Generations Café, the team from Kommune Inklusiv made it onto the shortlist in the BAGSO competition “Lonely, together, together”. Felicitas Keefer was therefore able to present the offer in March 2019 at the specialist congress "Prevent loneliness in old age".