Teresa Sousa, responsible for the association, spoke to The Portugal News, detailing the Program that has a social aspect, which will help the population of Coimbra.
According to the official, “the Programa Abraço de Gerações is part of the Projeto Oficina D'Os Avós”, aims to “promote active aging” and tries to combat isolation in the elderly, as well as helping the elderly to “keep physically and mentally active.” Faced with the loneliness of the elderly in Coimbra, and the number of young students who move, even with financial difficulties in the city to study, ACERSI joined the Academic Association of Coimbra (AAC) and the Association of Former Students of Coimbra “to provide a better quality of life for the elderly and young higher education students.”
The Program will be in force during each academic year, “from September to July, according to the school calendar”, with the possibility of extending the term, through a sealed agreement between the two parties. Accommodation is free, however, the student should be able to pay normal household expenses, such as water, electricity and gas. The Programa Abraço de Gerações indicates that “a room with space for a desk must be made available to the student”, which must be kept clean and tidy by the young person.
Currently, 10 students are enrolled, who have undergone an assessment “at a socioeconomic and psychological level”, and who show that they have the “suitable profile to cohabit with older people.” However, the entire period of cohabitation, there will be monitored by a specialised team of social workers and psychologists.
Teresa Sousa reveals to The Portugal News the objectives and benefits that both parties can feel when participating in the Programme. For example, the elderly may live in a less solitary way, consequently alleviating “depressive symptoms.” As for the students, it is expected that at the end of the experience, they will be able to understand “life as an ongoing process”, and respect the “limitations of others”, as well as learning activities such as “crafts, traditional games, cultural history, among others.”
To enrol in the project, students must study in a higher education institution in Coimbra and express interest in participating in the Programa Abraço de Gerações. Students may contact ACERSI by telephone – at +351 969 372 028 or +351 969 371 983 – contacts can also be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bringing together the youngest to the oldest
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