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Elderly volunteers, at the centre of the Seniorforce Day events in Spain and Lithuania

Elderly volunteers, at the centre of the Seniorforce Day events in Spain and Lithuania

A Seniorforce Day took place on October 16th in Madrid, hosted by the Institute for Seniors and Social Services (IMSERSO) and organised by the Democratic Union of Pensioners (UDP).

The event in Spain was inaugurated by institutional representatives, who welcomed the participants and stressed the importance of non-formal volunteering done by seniors at these difficult economic times. Paca Tricio, Managing Director of UDP Madrid, remembered the crucial role of the elderly, helping their unemployed children and taking care of their grandsons.

Afterwards, academics Javier Álvarez Souto and Celeste Dávila explained how volunteering is beneficial for the health and the wellbeing. “It lowers the level of depression and the probability of getting Alzheimer disease and helps to raise the perception of self-sufficiency” explained Ms Dávila.

But the real protagonists of the Spanish Seniorforce day were the elderly volunteers, who explained their experiences to the audience. They all agreed that volunteering becomes “addictive” and, at the end, the volunteer receives much more than what he offers. “Volunteering gives you more self-esteem”, they concurred.

Some of the beneficiaries of these volunteering actions were among the audience, and they all expressed how happy they are when their new friends come and spend time with them at their homes or care centres.  

The audience also had the opportunity to see the video “Tal y como somos” (Just the way we are), showing testimonies of senior volunteers.

The Day was officially closed by the Secretary General of IMSERSO, Francisco Ferrándiz, who called for a major promotion of senior volunteering.

A Seniorforce Day was also held on October 16th in Lithuania. The context of the event was the Generations Volunteering Day, celebrated at the National Philharmonic Society, in Vilnius.

“This is the perfect occasion to discuss about co-operation, and also about the projects developed so far in terms of senior volunteering” recalled Donatas Jankauskas, the Lithuanian Minister of Social Security and Labour, in his opening speech.  

Over 300 senior participants attended the event, in which there was a specific recognition to the activities carried out by several organisations as well as the Third Age University in Lithuania.

The central part of the programme was a round table discussion with panellists from non-profits, academics and senior volunteers. During the debate, participants outlined some of the challenges ahead to strengthen seniors volunteering and intergenerational cooperation in Lithuania.

A concert offered by the Vilnius String Quartet and the famous young Lithuanian soloist Liudas Mikalauskas closed the fruitful event.