The euPrevent PROFILE project, aimed at preventing loneliness in the Euregio, has been actively operational for two years. On June 1, 2023, the project team organized an activity conference that brought together approximately about 170 participants from the entire Euregion Meuse-Rhine.
During the conference, Marja Veenstra, the project coordinator, presented several notable achievements, including the promotion of intergenerational exchange and the compilation of literature reviews and data on loneliness. She also provided valuable information on e-Health applications, guidelines, and best practices. Additionally, Marja Veenstra introduced the training module on loneliness and the theater play, both developed as part of the project. Attendees had the opportunity to view parts of these deliverables, such as a film clip from the training module and an introduction to the play “Starlight” by its creator Luc Stevens, accompanied by a performance by KBO Heerlen.
In her keynote speech, Lise Switsers from Thomas More-Hogeschool emphasized that addressing loneliness is a lifelong concern that extends well beyond the elderly population. The morning program concluded with a lively and international panel discussion on loneliness, featuring participants from across the EMR, namely Thomas Hax-Schoppenhorst (Germany), Frans Verhey (Netherlands), Coraline Dubois (Wallonia), and Lise Switsers (Flanders), who provided insights from various perspectives: policy, science, and practical aspects.
During the afternoon, 17 organizations from throughout the EMR engaged the audience with dynamic and inspiring presentations on their best practices in tackling loneliness. These initiatives were showcased to different groups of participants.
The participants not only learned about loneliness in humans but also discovered its impact on animals, as impressively demonstrated by a presentation from the GAIA Zoo. The zoo served as an inspiring backdrop for the activity conference that day.
Lastly, Jo Paas elaborated on the municipality of Kerkrade’s initiatives in addressing loneliness among older individuals, inspiring participants to apply the knowledge gained from the activity conference within their own environments.
This intergenerational gathering fostered vibrant discussions among a diverse range of stakeholders, further stimulating their engagement with the subject matter. The conference theme resounded with the message of “Lonely? Let’s unite!”