The OOPOEH Foundation aims to match senior citizens who seek companionship and activity to families looking for a pet sitter.
OOPOEH addresses the potential of the elderly by emphasising the important role they have in the lives of pets and families, and helps them to build self-confidence, engagement and pride.
The project is based on the “matchmaking” of old people who are alone to a nearby family with pets. Even though elderly are the main focus, three parties benefit from the OOPOEH initiative: elderly experience an increase of companionship with both people and pets; owners find a sweet reliable sitter for their beloved pets; and pets get the attention and love they need when their owner is not around.
Employees and volunteers at OOPOEH personally help seniors and families to find and monitor their best matches. Thus far, 400 elderly volunteers and 350 families are registered in the organisation’s website.
Since its foundation in July 2012, OOPOEH has helped 150 elderly to find a family with a pet and become friends. OOPOEH aims to get at least 800 matches before the end of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.
To stimulate social cohesion among the parties involved in this initiative, a high tea (for OOPOEH’s exclusively) and a dog walk (to physically introduce families with their pets to the elderly volunteers) have been organised.
OOPOEH stands for "Opa’s en Oma’s Passen Op Een Huisdier": Grandpa’s and Grandma’s Looking After A Pet. The Foundation establishes new social contacts, by stimulating long-term relationships between families with pets and seniors.
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