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A Seniorforce Day event took place in the Czech Republic on October 18th at the retirement home in the town of Humpolec.
The event was attended by the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Jan Dobes, regional and local authorities, as well as two Ambassadors of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations: actress Kveta Fialova and parasitologist Michal Giboda.
"We are witnessing an enormous act of solidarity today. Humpolec can be a model for other social facilities proving that the institute of senior volunteering is beneficial not only for the society, but for the senior citizens themselves," remarked Mr. Dobes in his opening speech.
Organised by local non-profit FOKUS Vysocina, the Czech Seniorforce Day included the participation of members of the local seniors’ club, who were welcomed by the director and nurses of the retirement home and taken on an introductory tour of the facility. The staff and current senior volunteers showed the guests the activities currently provided: assisting with reading books and newspapers going for walks, playing games, etc.
"Even seniors with enough energy to live on their own might often feel lonely. Their partner might have deceased or their family has no time to visit them regularly. That’s why we invite older citizens to join us as volunteers. They read newspapers to the others, take our clients out for walks or just have a nice chat with them," explained Milan Cihlar, the Director of the retirement home in Humpolec.
EY2012 Ambassadors Kveta Fialova and Michal Giboda both claimed that they are trying to lead an active lifestyle as well. "I have a performance every day and I travel a lot. My recipe against ageing is not to let any negative energy hit my soul," said the famous actress.
Mr. Giboda shared his experience from abroad. "I worked for 13 years in tropical areas with absolutely no social welfare system. We mustn’t forget that in other parts of the world the conditions for seniors are much worse," reminded the scientist, who showed some photographs he took during his many travels in Cambodia and Laos.
In Vysocina Region there are currently around 160 active volunteers who spend almost 13,000 hours per year working for retirement homes and social welfare institutions last year.
In Hungary, a cheerful Seniorforce Day was staged on October 19th in the small village of Magyarpolány, where old craftsmen taught young people from five childcare institutions from all over the country the secrets of different traditional arts.
Miklós Soltész, State Secretary for Social, Family and Youth Affairs, and Sarolta Monspart, Orienteering World Champion and member of the Elderly Council, attended the event, organised to put the focus on the value of knowledge and experience sharing among generations.
Children had the opportunity to try to make ceramic mugs, wooden boxes and even horseshoes and discuss long kept secrets with the elderly masters.
A traditional folk show closed the joyful event, inviting all participants to dance out the rich traditional meals and treats provided by the local bakery.