Lonely? Let’s unite! News! | October 2022
October 31, 2022

PROFILE (Prevention of Loneliness in older people in the Euregion) actively involves stakeholders and network partners. And Profile was picked up by international policymakers.

The various activities and products of the euPrevent PROFILE project (Prevention of loneliness among the elderly in the Euregion) are increasingly taking shape. The project team carefully coordinates the activities together with the network partners. We are convinced that this is important in order ensure that various activities are closely linked to the issue and effectively reduce loneliness. For this coordination, network meetings have been organized in the 4 regions. During these meetings, our network partners also shared their examples and experiences.

Would you like to know more about the euPrevent PROFILE project? Then check out our website.

And other news:

  • Our project was picked up by the WHO International, resulting in a news item spread by them. Of course, we of euPrevent knew of it already as they contacted us to ask permission. A big achievement because the project is now accessible and spread worldwide! They put it on their website. See here
  • Our project coordinator Marja Veenstra had the opportunity to bring the results of our work into a discussion with the Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Lisa Paus, and many other international experts. We invite you to get an impression of the conference and our contribution to the panel discussion here

Stakeholdermeetings: how to share experiences and exchange developments

Stakeholdermeeting for Belgian Limburg & South Limburg

Project partners of the regions Belgian Limburg and South-Limburg (NL) organized two stakeholder meetings. The first meeting took place online the second meeting was in person.

On Thursday evening, June 23, the euPrevent PROFILE network partners from the regions of South Limburg (NL) and Belgian Limburg met each other. After the reception and a joint snack, everyone was welcomed by Frans Verhey and Marja Veenstra. Afterwards, the in-depth workshops about the various activities of euPrevent PROFILE started. The input, wishes and experience of the participants were very valuable. Many inspiring ideas from the practice of the participants were exchanged and contacts were made for further acquaintance.

We therefore look back on a beautiful and valuable meeting with involved participants. Read more about how these workshops went.

Outcome of the network meeting

Together with network partners from the regions of South Limburg and Belgian Limburg, we discussed our plans and exchanged ideas during the workshops:


1. Online overview of best practices

When is an activity a best practice that contributes to the prevention of loneliness? Together we looked for criteria for good practice examples, so that the selected ‘online best practices’ will meet the expectations of the professionals.

During the workshop, many nice examples were discussed. For example, to organize an intergenerational exchange about the local dialect. It was also suggested to adapt the wording by not using the often-stigmatized term ‘loneliness’ but instead use terms like ‘connection’.
We then literally created a solid basis for best practices with Duplo building blocks, where each block represents an important criteria such as recognizability, creating meeting places, accessibility, outreach work, clinging to work, etc. We will continue to work on this!

More information via:
Frank Willems LOGO Limburg -> Frank.Willems@logolimburg.be
phone: 0032 4 92 06 77 74

2. Guideline intergenerational exchange and Citizen summit old – young

This workshop focused on the development of a guideline for promoting intergenerational exchange and the intergenerational citizen summit. After a further introduction, participants talked about their experiences with intergenerational exchange.

In this workshop, a variety of great initiatives were presented. Also, the importance of context was emphasized: What works in one region, can work less in another region (e.g. due to cultural differences, among other things). Consider a possible difference between a more urban region and a more rural region. Intergenerational exchange should be about a mutual interaction and an activity of which both ‘generations’ can benefit. Finally, Niels Janssen talked about the citizen summit (old-young) that will be organized this autumn. This citizen summit focuses on the exchange and dialogue around loneliness among younger and older adults. We are still looking for organizations or initiatives for the concrete elaboration of a citizen summit (old – young).

More information via:
Niels Janssen, Universiteit Maastricht / Alzheimer Centrum Limburg niels.janssen@maastrichtuniversity.nl

3. Training on loneliness for professionals and volunteers

In 2023 we will have a training on loneliness for professionals and volunteers. The preparation includes a survey into the wishes of the practice. This has been done in spring 2022. We discussed experiences with existing trainings and the use of the trainings to be developed. All attendees were able to explain their involvement in various projects. This was a valuable exchange.

An important conclusion was that there is a need for training for volunteers and professionals. In the past, some projects have had trainings but for new volunteers and professionals and for new projects, these trainings are also relevant in the future. There is a lack of diversity among the volunteers, which are often somewhat higher educated middle-aged white women at the moment. The training is also important because the issues are often complicated, such as when there is (incipient) dementia.

More information via:
KlaasJan Hajema, GGD Zuid Limburg -> klaasjan.hajema@ggdzl.nl

4. Starlight theatre package

In a small but enthusiastic group we looked at the contents of the Starlight theater package. In addition to a script and accompanying film, we also provided tips on how to link a preliminary preparation of the audience to it and how to hold a debriefing with the audience after the play. We were pleasantly surprised by the positive reactions of the attendees.

The concept was approved and, according to them, is well put together. Some organizations already have plans to work with the theater package in the region. Even corona cannot throw a spanner in the works because alternatives such as an open-air theatre are already being considered. Are you also thinking about working with the theater package and would you like to see the script? Then don’t hesitate to ask us for the materials.

More information via:

Uschi Nys LOGO Limburg -> Uschi.Nys@logolimburg.be
Phone: 0032 11 15 12 35

Frank Willems LOGO Limburg -> Frank.Willems@logolimburg.be
Phone: 0032 4 92 06 77 74

5. Guideline for professionals

We have talked about experiences with the use of a guideline in practice and what a guideline or handbook should meet.
The existing guidelines are hardly used in practice.

However, examples such as a signaling card and a collection of various activities on loneliness were discussed. The most important conclusion is that a roadmap or guideline can help to complement the components in an existing approach. A roadmap to find out which instruments or activities are already being used and which possible components could additionally inspire or be added in practice.

More information via:

Evelyne Linssen GGD Zuid Limburg -> evelyne.linssen@ggdzl.nl
Phone:  0031 6  43 02 98 60

Meetings with the associated partners on the Walloon side and in Germany

We are happy to have a large number of associated partners from the EMR who support the PROFILE project with their expertise and network. We met with our partners and discussed the current status of the project.

Meetings on the Walloon side

In June 2022, the Walloon associated partners met in Liège and Verviers. The objective of these meetings? To present the progress of the project achievements and to exchange on the expectations, needs and experiences of each one.


Two meetings

Two dates were proposed to the Walloon associated partners: June 13 in Liege and June 28 in Verviers. Two moments to allow a maximum of people to join us. Throughout these meetings, we presented the progress of the different tools and actions of the project. The explanations on the development were provided after an exchange between all our associated partners. After these face-to-face meetings, it was important to bring the attendees together and to connect the different organizations as they share similar interests on the project and on the issue of loneliness among the elderly in general. Fortunately, the offered actions and tools of the project contributed substantially to the ongoing networking. Afterwards, a get-together completed the exchange on the project.

Presentation of the project’s progress

Since April 2021, the project partners have been working together to create tools and implement actions. An important aspect of these two elements is to respond to the needs and expectations of the relevant stakeholders. However, our objective is not to redo what has already been done or to respond to a demand that does not exist. Therefore, it is essential for each region to meet with associated partners and interested persons.

During these two dates in June, we were able to discuss the different accomplishments: the theatre play, the inventory of good practices and a guide to set up intergenerational actions. Overall, everyone had the opportunity to express themselves on their everyday professional life, their needs but also on what already exists and is important in the area of action. These moments also allowed us to gather the interests of each one regarding the actions and the proposed tools. It illustrates a valuable exchange that allows us to strive for our achievements, which meets the respective needs in the best way possible.


Exchange between the associated partners

These two meetings were more than just presenting the progress on actions and instruments, but rather a day of exchange. We wanted to give everyone the opportunity to express their everyday working life, their experiences or raising questions. The realities of each actor are overlapping and a review on the experiences and resources of every attendee allows us to proceed with and strengthen the actions carried out. Thus, we were able to address issues such as:

  • Mobility difficulties that make it hard for the elderly to participate in certain actions
  • The difficulty to meet and identify certain isolated people
  • The need to be able to identify more easily the actors they can call upon
  • The importance of meeting people, listening to their needs and make them as a starting point
  • The need to exchange between the actors within the field

The meetings highlighted the multitude of subjects around the loneliness of the elderly, but likewise emphasized the work of the actors within the field of prevention, awareness-raising and countering loneliness. The need for meetings and exchanges is existent and continues to be one of the central objectives of the PROFILE project.

We would like to thank each of the project’s associated partners for their participation in these meetings, for their responses to our requests and for their interest in this project.

Meeting in Germany

Cooperation between BAGSO and four associated and regional partners in the EMR

The cooperation between BAGSO and representatives from 4 partner organisations in the EMR started with a digital meeting on 16 December 2021: The Aachen city region, the Düren district, the Maltesers in the Aachen diocese and the Aachen/Eifel regional office for older age, care and dementia.

During the following meetings held in February, May and June 2022, current initiatives and projects from all the regions were discussed. Main points of the discussion included experiences with intergenerational exchange, the consequences of the Corona period and older people’s fear of stigmatisation. Results of a study from Aachen supports the assumption: The development of innovative methods for special dialogue formats on the topic of loneliness is very important.

Through regional events and networking activities, the partnership promoted the participation of younger and older citizens in the 4.5-hour “Generation Dialogue on Loneliness” on 10 June 2022 in Düren. In total, 17 participants from all regions participated enthusiastically in the intergenerational exchange. The 4.5-hour training on the “Guidelines for the preparation and implementation of an intergenerational dialogue event on the topic of loneliness” on 24.6.22 in Herzogenrath, offered the opportunity to engage in cross-border exchange and qualification.

Associated partners on our website

You want to learn more about our associated partners and how they support PROFILE? Then take a look here.

Citizen summit in Düren and training in Herzogenrath

Citizens’ summit: First intergenerational dialogue event in Düren

On 10th. June 2022, a series of dialogue events on the topic of loneliness in the euPrevent PROFILE project started in PrymPark Düren.
In the focus of an intergenerational housing project, 17 participants (16+/55+) met on a Friday afternoon. Based on the concept “Intergenerational dialogue events on the topic of loneliness”, they experienced a 4.5-hour moderated exchange.

The discussion was stimulating in terms of content and methodology and, above all, encouraging with regard to the development of future joint actions, initiatives and projects against loneliness.

The event was divided into three parts – as proposed in the guideline for this dialogue format and communicated to all participants in advance:

  • Getting in touch with each other
  • Exploring the topic of loneliness
  • Developing ideas for further action

By forming a “generation queue”, it became visible that the age of the participants ranged from 17 to 84 years. Everyone had some experience with loneliness. However, the participants proved to be very committed to address this taboo topic: They reflected on particular risks, worked in different group constellations – and most importantly discussed ideas for further actions.

As a concluding remark, we would like to quote a statement by one of the participants “Don’t stop bringing young and old together. Keep talking!”

Sharing is caring: good practices to tackle loneliness in older people

Neveo newspaper

Since December 2016, the newspaper Neveo supports families with sharing pictures and experiences about their daily lives with their grandparents, regardless of the distance that separates them or other obstacles.

We often experience moments that we want to share and communicate to our loved ones. New technologies enable an uncomplicated and easy transfer of pictures and materials in case we cannot be with them. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to use these innovative approaches. To facilitate the exchange, three friends decided to create the newspaper called Neveo. In this manner, it is possible to gather and share desired pictures via a mobile app and subsequently, organise them into a journal. Afterwards it will be printed and delivered to the selected person every month. The recipient is empowered to discover the journal, with your included pictures and messages, at his own pace. This initiative is in alignment with the values and objectives of the PROFILE project as it promotes the reduction of digital divide, facilitates communication between generations and thus fights against loneliness.

Learn more about this good practice

MEE Zuid Limburg: Video call training for the elderly

During the pandemic, MEE Zuid Limburg started training courses for elderly on how to make video calls. The MEE Zuid Limburg recognizes a high demand in these trainings among the elderly.

Still, a lot of older people do not have digital skills and are overwhelmed with acquiring these. The training includes three meetings, in which participants learn what options are available and which program they must install. Some participants want to conduct very specific video calls, for example to their daughter or to the GP. Moreover, helpful tips and tricks are shared during the training. At last, the participants practice around different places (e.g., on the other side of the building).

About MEE Zuid Limburg

MEE Zuid Limburg is an organization that enables participation with the aim to create a society in which everyone engages. MEE supports people who are not able to participate in their community due to their disability or vulnerability. Furthermore, MEE encourages the informal sector of affected people. MEE Zuid Limburg has a diverse range of services, but primarily focuses on preventing and combating loneliness among various target groups, including the elderly.

Hasselts Dialect at school

The ‘Dialect at school’ project of the city of Hasselt and the Senior Citizens’ Advisory Council stimulates intergenerational exchange between grandparents and their children in class.

During a one-hour lesson, senior citizens who are members of the Senior Citizens’ Advisory Council give an introduction about the Hasselt dialect to the classmates of their grandchildren. During this initiation, the children will get introduced to the dialect, learn a few expressions and re-enact everyday situations in Hasselt dialect. In this way, the senior citizens’ advisory council wants to draw attention to the Hasselt dialect and tries to preserve it. By cooperating with the schools, an intergenerational aspect is created in which the elderly pass on their knowledge to the children in a meaningful way. The children, in turn, gain insights into the world of the elderly.

“Together instead of lonely”

According to the idea “together instead of being lonely”, volunteers in Würselen are involved in the new projects “Good on foot” and “Morning gathering” for senior citizens. These projects, in which the aspect of “being together” is the core theme, were initiated by the city of Würselen.

In the “Good on foot” project, volunteers plan different walking routes for senior citizens and guide them through. In doing so, they usually walk the routes beforehand to give a time appraisal. A senior citizen specialist arranges healthy snacks and drinks. At the end, the group decides jointly which route could be the next one.

The “morning meeting” takes place every two weeks and is run by volunteers. In this project, the volunteers plan the themed breakfast, they buy the food, set the table and prepare everything. This also includes doing the groceries, preparing the table, serving and cleaning up if necessary.

Read more

Would you like to contribute to the euPrevent PROFILE project? Or maybe you have a good practice you would like to share?
Then be sure to let us know via: communication@euprevent.eu