The social issue and our work

We are in a time when people suffer from symptoms of aging in increasingly younger ages. Against such an important issue that will sooner or later become our own experience, we have decided to design an action aiming to offer smiles and mental clarity – temporary though -, to help the elderly develop interpersonal relationships as those arise from their contact with animators and volunteers who visit them.

The method we implement is based on the active participation of the elderly. Each session encourages creativity through art and is enriched with activities such as playing selected games, leading discussions on specific subjects, role playing and singing. In this way, the elderly are actively involved in the process.

The recreational method we propose and implement stimulates and provokes intense emotional reactions, removes thought from pain, reduces stress and anxiety, while at the same time helps towards the big fight against depression. In addition, it stimulates self-concentration and helps memory, two of the basic mental functions.

The road to thāllo

The “Andama” (greek word for “together”) program was the first contact of our team with the elderly, at an entertainment level. It was an initiative run by the Cultural Society “Synthesis” and was implemented with the support and funding of TIMA Charitable Foundation. In this context, an important social program for the elderly was planned and carried out in response to the reduction or total absence of recreational activities in the Elderly Care Units, due to the increasing economic difficulties.

The program was designed not only for entertainment purposes but also for the cognitive empowerment of the participants, and was based on a recognised model of entertainment for the elderly designed in the United Kingdom. The coordination of the program was carried out in collaboration with distinguished Greek Gerontologists.

Within the framework of the program, short interactive meetings were organized specifically for the elderly, based on participatory approach, which temporarily eliminated their social isolation.

After a round of activities in many nonprofit nursing homes and other structures in Attica, the program was successfully completed and paved the way for new activities and initiatives for the elderly.

In January 2016, a fruitful collaboration was launched with the Charity Social Care Association of Moschato: “Dionysios Theophilatos” aiming at the implementation of an entertainment program for the elderly, under the “Points of Support” program, with the support and funding of the TIMA Charitable Foundation.

This activity took place at the Charity Nursing Home of the Moshato Social Care Association and lasted until March 2017. Its aim was to entertain people living in the nursing home through a weekly program, which involved elements of cognitive empowerment, for the elderly residents.

Particular emphasis was placed on individual engagement with the guests, the instigation for creation, and a first attempt to contact the group of those bedridden in order to assess the needs of this particular, ever growing target group.

A brief account

It has been 3 years since we visited the first care unit for the elderly. 3 years filled with strong feelings and beautiful moments, even when the news was not pleasant. There, in small and big halls, we met people full of dreams and sweet memories.

It wasn’t too long before we realized that entertainment is a two-way action. We found ourselves spending beautiful mornings and afternoons, laughing, being moved and getting filled with optimism. With several of the people we met, we have built a relationship and a bond that can hardly be found and forgotten and even more difficult to be left behind. For us, it was a great experience with spectacular results and a proof that we have to continue doing what we do. For them, it was a unique atmosphere, a warm embrace, smiles, dances and a feeling of love.

This is how the idea of thāllo was born: an innovative recreational program for the elderly hosted in care units, which aims to improve and upscale entertainment services for the elderly.

So far, we have received the help and support of individuals, artists, scientists and big organizations without whom we would not have the strength to continue. We are beyond grateful for their help in implementing such a unique and difficult work.