Growing old can be a lonely experience that often leads to excessive alcohol misuse. Engaging with the elderly on alcohol related issues requires an innovative outreach approach - one that requires the support of multiple agencies to help people find their way to the Blue Cross support groups. There is no criteria what the person should fulfil or how they should change in order to fit within the group. Everybody is welcome. Many people feel they need encouragement to join and talk about the challenges of ageing.
“Indeed, I need encouraging. One day the battery had run out in my sugar level measuring machine. Unless I had “Auntie Monica” to push me out to this 50 meter walk to the shop I would not do it. So, it is this sort of small things that make the difference.”
“The folk in the group help in many ways in the life of a lonely person.”
“When one is lonely and friends have died, here you get companionship and I can chat. I can tell jokes and sometimes they even laugh at them …”
“The group is an enlightening and refreshing experience in my week, I always look forward to Thursdays.”
The staff have run information and training sessions in various networks linked with support for aging population in Finland. This truly equips staff to provide best support for all those in need.
Our staff have reached out to train social and health care professionals and raise the public awareness of the issues related to alcohol and aging including a lively discussion forum called "Age Academy" in the city of Jyväskylä. Additionally, Sininauhaliitto (Finnish Blue Ribbon) arranged a special seminar on 11.2.2015 to discuss life skills of aging population in Helsinki. The same concept will be repeated in North of Finland in Rovaniemi on 24.2.2015.
The team is now busy developing more transferable tools to empower the aging population in their daily lives in anticipation of the National substance abuse conference for professionals.
We want to warmly thank the donors as these activities make a real difference in the lives of many older people and their families.
You can see more about our work (in Finnish) at http://www.ikaantyneidenpaihdetyo.fi/fakta/ikaantyminen-ja-alkoholi/