The technological boom of the recent years, while the senior population is increasing in number, has strongly influenced the abandonment of the elderly. This situation is particularly present in Albania.
Although senior citizens in Albania do enjoy a great level of respect from society, friends and family, the majority of them have indeed been left behind in this digital age. They are not used to new technological channels of communication, because they have difficulty to adapt, and/or may have a low-income, or no other possibility to update themselves.
Senior citizens who live with family are less vulnerable to isolation and can always get by without the use of technology. When needed, some of them can rely on a variety of people such as kids and grandkids to show them or do something for them, but there are also others in nursing homes and those that are living on their own (without family to look after them) that could benefit the most from the project that we are currently planning.
We believe that we have to pay more attention to the elderly because they are conveyors of human values, and we must make them feel useful in the development of a healthy society. They can be more effective in terms of dedicating their time, knowledge and experience to younger people if they are more adapted to technology.
Our objective, therefore, is to provide support to the seniors’ society group through the empowerment of their relational skills and competence, and the possibility of getting them involved with the community through interaction with the youth.
Thus, our first goal in this program of ours is to introduce the latest technology and present-day ways of communications to seniors, to:
- avoid them of being forgotten and, instead, receiving a different type of socializing with others;
- making them feel equal to, and still as effective as other age groups;
- having them share their life experiences to influence the education of the young people;
- eventually increase the synergy in various youth volunteering activities focusing on the training of the young.
The long-term effect of this project can be the empowerment of an interactive, educated, and cultural society in Albania.
The predictable results will be the ‘unrealized gain’ that both the target groups involved in this project can gain from their interaction. The experience of the elderly can still be put to good use, and be self-beneficial by brightening their way of life, while the advantage for the young will be additional expansion of their horizons through the counseling and the sharing of know-how and skills of the elderly.
The program we are developing involves first of all the collection of some qualitative and quantitative indicators through appropriate surveys and interviewing processes, open discussions on a variety of topics to provide input and understanding about the participants’ time availability, level of interest in projects’ engagements, and type of expertise in sharing needs. Dealings through open discussion between the elderly and the young volunteers to create a bridge between the two groups and exchange experiences can be valuable to both sides.
At the same time we need to organize and provide the necessary technological tools that will allow us to train and service the selected seniors. Through this they can then continue to use our premises even in the future for their own gathering, in addition to other interactions with the youth for the implementation of projects of mutual interest, and some units we purchase may also be donated to selected senior centers for their in-house use.
The budget for this project of $20.000 USD, the work of which will span over a year, can provide a long-term solution for what we feel can turn out to be a successful merger of energy and expertise, which can easily expand to benefit a large population of seniors and youth in the years to come.
Our program involving staff and volunteers will kick off in October 2018, also in collaboration and participation of specialized personnel that will work with us on a part time basis: to interview and select the seniors that are willing and able to participate, to purchase the needed hardware and software, and develop the initial technical training suited for them, to be conducted on our premises or even in senior centers.
More details and additional timetables will be posted here as our plans continue, and our fundraising efforts proceed. Meantime, we invite all our readers to help us financially toward the realization of what we consider is a worthwhile and a very special and unique project.