This section highlights actions that aim to improve health literacy among the ageing population. They have been selected in our search for promising interventions or have been suggested by Consortium partners in the project, but have not been tested by IROHLA. The examples we highlight come from the private, social and health sectors. 

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United Kingdom : Multilingual pharmacists phone up South Asian patients in Glasgow

Glasgow's large South Asian population experiences a substantially higher incidence and mortality from heart disease compared with indigenous Anglo-Irish Scots. Accordingly, a pharmacist-led anticipatory care project for the South Asian community was launched.

Southeast Asian ethnicity patients in economically deprived areas of Glasgow were telephoned by speakers of their own language and invited to meet multilingual pharmacists in their community for screening and education about the elevated risks of heart disease within their ethnic group. Patients identified as high risk after screening in pharmacy were referred back to their general practitioners for further counselling and assessments.

In total, 800 patients were screened for heart disease and given opportunity to increase awareness of extra risks or precautions among their ethnic group.


Organisation: Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Spain : Video campaign promotes correct medication habits in Catalonia

A survey in Catalonia showed that citizens have a low knowledge about suitable use of medicines. Therefore, CatSalut, the Catalan Health Service, has produced an education campaign about lifestyle and medicines, comprising 13 videos (culturally specific and often humorous) between 1 and 3 minutes long. The aim is to promote correct medication habits and improve citizen knowledge about medicines and technical terms. The videos are first shown in primary health centres, with plans to show them in other venues (e.g. public libraries) in Barcelona.

This material was produced after a survey to establish actual knowledge about medicines and attitudes and opinions about rational use of medicines. Main results were: citizens have a low knowledge about suitable use of medicines; people think it would be necessary to perform campaigns to improve public attitudes and opinions about rational use of medicines. Also, they prefer video and TV campaigns to receive such messages. Messages in the videos include the importance of adherence, not mixing different medications, understanding different names for the same active medication ingredient, and about the merits of healthy lifestyles to prevent illness.

The video target is general population, but the same research group are developing other health programmes to educate older people about medication, in collaboration with community pharmacy professionals, and sponsored by the Catalan Health System.

In the first 5 months, each video was visited an average of 83 times (42-175) on Youtube.

Informal evaluation has been done with a focus group of eight people. Videos may help people understand concepts and be aware when to use a medicine. A Pharmaceutical commission from Consorci Sanitari de Barcelona has reviewed each part of the project.

EIP-AHA Best Practices on Adherence booklet has best English language info on this programme.

Name: CatSalut education campaign about lifestyle and medicines

Organisation: Catalan Health Service

United States : Why pharmacists should encourage their patients to adopt “ask me 3”

A strategy to improve health communication advocated by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) in the US has been the Ask Me 3 programme. This encourages pharmacists and other healthcare providers to make their patients aware of three key questions to ask:

1. What is my problem?
2. What do I need to do?
3. Why is it important for me to do this?

In an exploratory study in 2008, Miller et al evaluated the Ask Me 3 programme in US pharmacies. They concluded that the programme was a practical tool that creates awareness and reinforces principles of clear health communication and strives to improve health literacy.

Name: Ask Me 3

Organisation: American National Patient Safety Foundation

Germany : Multigenerational house and café in Berlin

The Multigenerational house and café in Spandau, Berlin, is a meeting point for people of different age groups which offers learning opportunities to children, parents and seniors. Also, advisory services are offered on issues of rental law, personal debt, pension and education.

Name: Multigenerational house and café

Organisation: Berlin-Spandau

Switzerland : Swiss health promotion courses for older migrants

The Swiss Red Cross in Zürich offers multilingual health promotion courses to educate migrant people from the age of 50 about health-relevant factors and to strengthen their health-related self-responsibility. During the courses, up to now held in Albanian, Turkish and Italian, participants learn about nutrition, exercise, social issues and preventive medical checkups in old age. The course management also answers the participants’ health queries. Print information is also available in the different languages.

Name: Health promotion courses for older migrants

Organisation: Swiss Red Cross in Zürich

United States : PEARLS programme to encourage active, rewarding lives for seniors

PEARLS for Older Adults is primarily a community-based, participant-driven intervention that uses problem solving, social and physical activation, and increased pleasant events to reduce minor depression in physically impaired and socially isolated adults aged sixty and older.

The PEARLS intervention is delivered by professionals over the course of six to eight sessions in a six-month period. The intervention consists of problem solving treatment, behavioral activation, and pleasant activities scheduling. The three basic components of PEARLS include:

• Problem-solving treatment – a seven-step, participant-driven approach in which the individual is supported by a counsellor to identify and solve problems that the participant wants to address.

• Social and physical activation - counsellors work with participants to increase their engagement in social, physical and recreational activities, in both their homes and in their community.

• Pleasant activity scheduling – participants are encouraged to select an activity they would enjoy doing on their own or in the company of others; over 200 diverse activities are offered in the PEARLS Toolkit as possible options for participants to consider.


Organisation: University of Washington

Germany : Cultural mediators help migrants navigate the German health system

The MiMi – Mit Migranten für Migranten programme (With migrants, for migrants) recruits, trains and supports individuals from within immigrant communities to become cultural mediators who can help navigate new and different ways of dealing with traditions of health and illness and the body.

The goal of the programme is to make the German health system more accessible to immigrants, increase their health literacy while simultaneously empowering immigrant communities by prompting their direct participation in the process.

Name: MiMi – Mit Migranten für Migranten

Organisation: Ethno-Medizinisches Zentrum, Hannover

Germany : Shop more health consciously with smartphone app

“Bewusst Einkaufen” (Shopping consciously) is a smartphone app which helps people to shop more health consciously. The user can create shopping lists in three ways: barcode scanning, searching in food category and manual text entry. The groceries are rated by a traffic light system which provides information on fat, saturated fatty acids, carbohydrates and salt. Additional information about calories, proteins, carbohydrates are also available. The app is made by German health insurance company AOK.

Name: Bewusst Einkaufen

Organisation: German health insurance company AOK

Australia : Mobile phone-based peer support for Nuer refugee women in Melbourne

Refugee women have poor psychosocial health as a result of past trauma and difficulties associated with settlement. This study was a pilot to find out how to use mobile phone-based peer support to improve the psychosocial health of, and facilitate settlement in a group of nine Nuer refugee women in Melbourne, Australia.

The program demonstrates the positive psychosocial effect of peer support in a refugee community, and provides a viable model for using mobile phones in health promotion interventions. The successful outcomes, as perceived by the participants, are indicative of the potential of using technology to bridge health inequities in a marginalised group.

Wollersheim, Koh, Waler and Liamputtong (2013). Constant connections: piloting a mobile phone-based peer support program for Nuer (southern Sudanese) women. Australian Journal of Primary Health.



Australia : Cooking courses at the Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney

Aboriginal people access diabetes and nutrition education less than non-Aboriginal people. Culturally appropriate, effective and accessible diabetes and nutrition education for Aboriginal people is urgently needed

A qualitative approach was used to explore the experiences of Aboriginal people who had attended cooking courses run at the Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney between 2002 and 2007.

Despite reported improvements in nutrition knowledge and cooking skills, the ability of participants to implement desired dietary changes varied. A new health diagnosis, such as diabetes, pre-diabetes, heart disease or cancer and the desire of participants to influence their families to lead healthier, diabetes-free lives were strong motivators for dietary change. In contrast, lack of family support for dietary change and a sense of social isolation caused by dietary change strongly impeded some participants' attempts to improve their diets. Other significant barriers were poor oral health and depression, the higher cost of healthier food and generational food preferences.

Abbott, P; Davison, J; Moore, L & Rubinstein, R (2010). Barriers and enhancers to dietary behaviour change for Aboriginal people attending a diabetes cooking course. Health Promotion Journal of Australia.



Australia : Increasing recognition of the role of Aboriginal health workers

In this article, the work of Aboriginal health workers in the primary care setting is discussed, emphasising that partnership with non-Indigenous health providers such as nurses and general practitioners brings complementary skills together to improve the health care available to Aboriginal clients, and to decrease the cultural and communication barriers to delivering such health care.

The diverse skills and responsibilities of Aboriginal health workers, which include clinical, health promotion, education and leadership roles, are illustrated. The current focus on increasing Aboriginal health workers’ educational opportunities, and the need to recognise Aboriginal health workers as core health professionals and equal members of the health care team is presented. The increasing recognition of the role of Aboriginal health workers in providing cultural mentorship for non-Indigenous colleagues is discussed.

Abbott, P; Gordon, E & Davison, J (2008). Expanding roles of Aboriginal health workers in the primary care setting: seeking recognition. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession.



United States : Mammography services among elderly rural and urban African American women

This study was a two-year educational intervention and research project aimed at increasing the awareness of breast cancer and the utilization of Clinical Breast Examination services and Self-Breast Examination among elderly rural and urban African American women who are Medicare beneficiaries.

The results suggest the following: (1) one of the primary reasons elderly women do not utilize Clinical Breast Examination services is because they do not consider it necessary when they experience no symptoms or pain; (2) elderly African American women have moderate awareness of the incidence and prevalence of breast cancer; and (3) they are generally aware of the benefits of Clinical Breast Examination. Analysis of the pre- and post-tests data failed to provide evidence of the impact of this project on the utilization of Clinical Breast Examination among elderly African American women.

Agho, A O; Mosley, B W; Rivers, P A & Parker, S (2007). Utilization of mammography services among elderly rural and urban African American women. Health Education Journal.



United States : Building healthy tribal nations in Montana and Wyoming

In this article, researchers describe a collaborative approach to reducing health disparities affecting Montana and Wyoming tribal nations while promoting health-protective practices and interventions among these populations. Under the auspices of the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council, a consortium has undertaken activities to (1) establish the research infrastructure necessary for conducting ongoing health disparities research, (2) develop a target research agenda that addresses tribally identified priority health issues and tests the feasibility of interventions, (3) develop increased research skills and cultural competency through mentoring activities, and (4) develop effective collaborative relationships. All research projects are user-defined and -authorized, and participation is voluntary.

Andersen, S R; Belcourt, G M & Langwell, K M (2005). Government, politics, and law. Building healthy tribal nations in Montana and Wyoming through collaborative research and development. American Journal of Public Health.



United States : Culturally sensitive obesity prevention curriculum in an underserved Latino community in Phoenix

Salud con Sabor Latino is a culturally sensitive obesity prevention curriculum that incorporates the traditions and values of the Latino community and family. The 4-week curriculum meets twice a week and includes an education and cooking component. Key components of the curriculum are portion size, reading food labels, taking small steps, eating a variety of foods, and the importance of physical activity. The curriculum is taught in English and Spanish by a bicultural promotora. Participants are primarily low income and uninsured.

Goals of the program are to improve (a) knowledge of fitness and nutrition, (b) physical activity, (c) healthy eating, and (d) body fat measures. This study was a pretest and post-test evaluation of nutrition, physical activity, and body fat after the obesity prevention intervention with Latinos. Results indicated a significant increase in physical activity. For nutrition, there was a significant increase in knowledge and improved behavior. In addition, there were decrease in waist circumference, percentage of body fat, and body mass index.

Araiza, Christina; Valenzuela, Maria & Gance-Cleveland, Bonnie (2012). Salud con Sabor Latino: a culturally sensitive obesity prevention curriculum in an underserved Latino community. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education.



Canada : Screening programs for high blood pressure run by graduate students in the pharmacy setting in Montreal

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. Despite this fact and the development of effective drugs, high blood pressure is often poorly controlled. Community pharmacies are an ideal site for the management of high blood pressure and other modifiable cardiovascular risk factors. The purpose of the current study was to develop and assess a pharmacy-based cardiovascular risk screening program implemented by graduate students.

Four graduate students trained as health coaches screened adults who were interested in cardiovascular risk assessment in 21 Montreal area pharmacies. The screening program identified individuals with modifiable cardiovascular risk factors and poorly controlled hypertension. The intervention program was well received by participants and the majority provided contact information for future cardiovascular screening clinics. These findings support the feasibility of screening programs run by graduate students in the pharmacy setting.

Banack, H; Lowensteyn, I; Marchand, S & Grover, S (2012). The MyHealthCheckup study: Training graduate students to implement cardiovascular risk screening programs in community pharmacies. Canadian Pharmacists Journal.



United States : How to engage peer coaches and retain them in their role

Despite mounting evidence that peer coaches can make significant contributions to patient health, little is known about factors that must be addressed to engage and retain them in their role. The objective of this study was to identify motivators and barriers to serving as a peer coach through open ended semi-structured interviews with patients who were recruited and trained to serve as peer coaches for African-American patients.

In a randomized trial of peer support, patients with well controlled hypertension and good interpersonal skills were recruited and trained to serve as peer coaches for African-American patients from the same practices who had poorly controlled hypertension. Peer coaches spoke by telephone at least three times with their same sex patient-clients on alternate months during the 6-month intervention and counseled about medication adherence as well as other healthy lifestyles.

Of 15 trained peer coaches, ten were contacted and agreed to participate in the qualitative interview. Peer coaches had a mean age of 66 years, 50% were women, and 80% were African-American. Themes regarding favorable aspects of the peer coach experience included: meaning and satisfaction derived from contributing to community health and the personal emotional and physical benefits derived from serving as a peer coach. Negative aspects centered on: challenges in establishing the initial telephone contact and wanting more information about their patient-clients' personal health conditions and status. Peer coaches endorsed gender matching but were less clear about race-matching.

Programs that utilize peer support to enhance positive health behaviors should recognize that a spirit of volunteerism motivates many successful peer coaches. Program planners should acknowledge the special characteristics required of successful peer coaches when selecting, motivating and training individuals for this role.

Barg, F K; Weiner, M G; Joseph, S; Pandit, K & Turner, B J (2012). Qualitative analysis of peer coaches' experiences with counseling African Americans about reducing heart disease risk. Journal of General Internal Medicine.



Ireland : Literacy campaigns encourage older adults to return to education

Did you know that one in six Irish people have literacy difficulties? The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) took this challenge as an inspiration to improve the well-being of older adults. NALA's aim is to improve the literacy and numeracy competencies in the Irish population. Thus, encouraging them to fully take part in society and pursue learning opportunities to meet their daily needs.

Usually, older adults feel discouraged to study at their age. Through literacy campaigns, NALA encourages those older adults to return to education by calling the NALA freephone support line. Independently from their social and economic background, older adults have the opportunity to actively learn in long distance courses provided by NALA. A lot of people have also reached this freephone support line in order to help as tutors. Currently, there are a total of 4,000 volunteers helping in the adult literacy courses.

In addition, NALA also targets the government. It is fundamental to reach the government policies in order to make large achievements. That is why NALA is also involved in research, to provide evidence to the policy makers and politicians of the best approaches to deal with literacy and life skills.

Do you want to know more about how to help or be helped? If so, visit the NALA website.

Name: NALA

Organisation: National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA)

Netherlands : Dutch social network for older people is a Dutch successful profile-based internet community which allows its 33.000 or so active senior members to expand their social network, engage in activities with people who belong to the same age group, and learn from each other. 50plusnet is a partnership between the Dutch National Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Dutch public broadcaster Max.


Organisation: Dutch National Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Dutch public broadcaster Max

United Kingdom : Local digital TV and mobile site INtouch kirklees

In Kirklees, UK, the city council and partners have developed a digital TV site named INtouch Kirklees. It contains information provided by local services, local people and community organizations. INtouch allows people to get local information and use services using their TV and remote control. It is particularly valuable for people who don't have access to a computer and the internet.

Name: INtouch kirklees

Organisation: Kirklees City Council and partners

United Kingdom : CareOnLine helps vulnerable adults in the community to use computers and the Internet

Another British initiative is CareOnLine, which is a service to help vulnerable adults in the community to use computers and the Internet, provided by Leicestershire County Council's Adults and Communities. CareOnLine provides a home visit service for advice, support and training to people who have difficulty leaving their home. The services are designed for people with little or no previous experience of using a computer or people who can no longer use them because of medical condition or age. CareOnLine talks to vulnerable adults about how a computer can help their life; how to get information on home care services, having shopping delivered to the door or exploring new ways of keeping in touch with family and friends.

Name: CareOnLine

Organisation: Leicestershire County Council's Adults and Communities

Spain : Social interaction and access to services through ICT tools designed for and by older people

This action combines two ongoing ambient assisted living projects (AWARE and BANK4ELDER) as well as training activities for ICT tools adequate for older people.

AWARE develops new ICT-based services for older workers and retired people which will result in the development of an accessible, user oriented platform that will provide training in the use of ICT technologies, social networking tools and an innovative service that could enable flexible workplace and home environment adaptations.

BANK4ELDER aims to develop new interfaces for different ways of banking (online, ATM, mobile and TV) satisfying functional, accessibility, usability and aesthetic needs of older users. Smart interfaces will be customised and adapted to each user. Also, the Biomechanics Institute of Valencia trains people in the UDP, the biggest older people's association in Spain, who will, in their turn, be able to train other associate older people.

Counties involved in this action are Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain.


Organisation: EIP-AHA initiative

United Kingdom : LIFEMATTERS: self care, wellbeing and emotional health

LIFEMATTERS is a positive psychology, cognitive behavioral coaching programme that focuses on providing older adults with tools for self care, wellbeing and emotional health. Over 1000 undergraduate, postgraduate and mature students at the University College Cork have completed the programme. Both qualitative and quantitative research findings in 884 students have confirmed the efficacy of the intervention. LIFEMATTERS was originally developed and used as a mental health users and carers self-help tool in the National Health Service in the UK.


Organisation: National Health Service

Germany : German “Online Year 50plus”

“Online-Jahr 50plus” is a project that wants to give older adults an understanding of the internet and the next generation of social networks. By gaining access to the internet, older adults can improve their education, create social contacts and gain financial literacy, according to the German National Association of Senior Citizens' Organisations, which is managing the project.

Name: Online-Jahr 50plus

Organisation: German National Association of Senior Citizens' Organisations

Germany : Experience the internet

“Erlebnis Internet - Erfahrung schaffen” is a German National Association of Senior Citizens' Organisations project that helps older adults to get familiar with the internet. Participants are first instructed and then guided through their first steps on the World Wide Web. This intervention is based on the project “Wegweisers durch die digitale Welt” (Guide to the digital world).

Name: Erlebnis Internet - Erfahrung schaffen

Organisation: German National Association of Senior Citizens' Organisations

United Kingdom : Active learning for visually impaired seniors

Although they represent an increasing part of the population, visually impaired seniors are one of the most marginalised communities in terms of lifelong learning. This is a clear obstacle to their active involvement in society. This is why British and Dutch experts on visual impairment and older age will develop a non-formal training course tailor-made to both the age-related and disability-related specific learning needs of elderly visually impaired persons. The course will:

- Provide visually impaired seniors with adapted learning contents,

- Improve elderly visually impaired persons' social and professional skills,

- Increase visually impaired seniors' self-esteem and motivation to learn further,

- Promote elderly visually impaired persons' active involvement in society.


Organisation: European Blind Union

Austria : Helping senior travellers to navigate in towns

The ASSISTANT project contributes to maintaining the mobility of older people in Europe by helping them to travel safely and independently by public transport. ASSISTANT provides an on-line means of planning a trip, guidance on transfers when making multi-step journeys, an alert which tells the user when it is time to leave the vehicle, and assistance with getting from the vehicle to the final destination. Essentially, the project will offer seamless support for the entire length of a journey, across different means of public transport and in both rural and urban environments.


Organisation: Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme

Netherlands : Dutch national smart living and telecare initiative

The Dutch Smart Homes community works for the implementation of smart living and telecare solutions. They offer a complete quality assured chain of services, starting with a for each resident easily accessible web portal for welfare and care services. Other services range from the most simple community alarm, to the more complicated telecare and telemonitoring services. This initiative is based on standardised and open source technology.

Name: Smart Homes

Organisation: Foundation Smart Homes

Germany : Network for safeguarding in-home care in Essen, Germany

The NAEHE project in Essen, Germany, links social offers and welfare programmes for older people still living at home, but who require help to manage their daily lives. The objective is to increase seniors' quality of life and to relieve their relatives. The project is developed by German health insurance company AOK in cooperation with the city of Essen and the government of Nordrhein-Westfalen.

Name: NAEHE project

Organisation: AOK, City of Essen and Government of Nordrhein-Westfalen

Germany : Coffee afternoon as therapy at the Bethanien Hospital Heidelberg

At the Bethanien Hospital in Heidelberg, older people get together to bake cakes and cookies and exchange views during an “Erzählcafé.” They also invite medical students to join them and listen to their stories. These coffee afternoons prevent social isolation, promote contact between generations and improve the cake and cookie bakers’ motor abilities and cognitive skills. A recommendation on transferring this intervention to local government level has already been made.

Name: Erzählcafé

Organisation: Bethanien Hospital in Heidelberg

Germany : Multigenerational House - district community centre of Dahlhausen-Bochum

The multigenerational house of the district centre of Dahlhausen- Bochum, Germany, has been standing for contact between generations and cultural exchange for ten years. Children, adolescents, families and seniors, especially those with a migrant background, are addressed with numerous offerings. Under one roof you can find an open field for children and adolescents, a field for seniors, intergenerational projects, intercultural district groups like the toddlers’ group, parents meetings, ADHD self-help groups, integration courses, integration agency, a special service for migrants, intercultural and interreligious events, the district stock exchange and a district newspaper “Tausch” (Exchange).

Name: Aktives Altern Älterer Menschen mit Zuwanderungsgeschichte

Organisation: Ministry for the Generations, Family, Women's Affairs and Integration of North-Rhine Westphalia

Austria : Graz students assist older people in exchange for housing

In Graz, Austria, older people who live in large flats but need help with activities of daily living provide students with accommodation in exchange for practical assistance through a project called ‘Wohnen für Hilfe’ (Housing for help). It is a truly intergenerational project that benefits both old and young people by making their specific resources available to each other. Wohnen für Hilfe is jointly run by the GEFAS older people’s association and the Students Union of the University of Graz.

Name: Wohnen für Hilfe

Organisation: GEFAS older people’s association and the Students Union of the University of Graz

Poland : Polish lone mothers adopt a grandmother

A fascinating example of informal intergenerational support is provided by a NGO from the poorer regions in the southeast of Poland. They established a project to adopt a grandmother. They matched two particularly vulnerable groups in Polish society – lone mothers and old people living in institutional care. The lone mothers who agreed taking part in this scheme are visiting these older people on a regular basis. The lone mothers would come with their children to visit these so-called grandmothers. They also have common activities, like meetings, they talk to each other, they are playing cards. Many of them developed new friendships this way.

This informal socialising programme turned out to have practical beneficiary consequences as well. Some of the unemployed lone mothers found a new job in these care homes. Their voluntary involvement was seen as a very good preparation and recommendation of their attitudes.

Name: “Adopt a grandmother!”


Poland : Special newspaper attachments for Polish pensioners

This example of good practice is a recent development in Poland. Some newspapers started to include special attachments for senior citizens on a particular day of the week. For example, there is a local newspaper in Cracow that publishes 2-4 pages with information and advice for older people and topics of particular interest to senior citizens on Fridays. Similar initiatives can be seen in other regions in Poland. Apparently, some awareness of older people and their specific interests has begun to emerge – but it’s not a rapid change.

Name: Special newspaper attachments for pensioners

Organisation: Some Polish newspapers

United Kingdom : ‘Happy to Translate’ promotes equal access by overcoming language barriers

Happy to Translate is a not-for-profit national initiative which helps organisations to provide access to information and services by overcoming language barriers. Happy to Translate is a catchphrase that is intended to include translation, interpretation and other types of communication assistance and alternative formats. Organisations which are members of Happy to Translate have staff who have been trained to use specialist tools to make it easier to overcome communication barriers.

Happy to Translate was created with Scottish Government funding in 2004 and a pilot scheme launched with a membership of 10 in 2005.

Name: Happy to Translate

Organisation: Happy to Translate

Germany : Intergenerational and intercultural holiday breakfast in Mannhein, Germany

In the intergenerational and intercultural project ‘Holiday Breakfast with Teens,’ teenagers and older late repatriates, i.e. ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe, meet up once a week during school holidays for a joint breakfast, to learn from one another and engage in joint leisure activities. The aim is to promote activities of migrant elders with teenagers and therefore to prevent loneliness in older age via activation of competences, to preserve older migrant peoples´ abilities as well as to convey values to adolescents.

Name: Holiday Breakfast with Teens

Organisation: Caritas Association Mannheim

Germany : German adult education on the web (I want to learn) is a project which helps adult citizens to learn how to read and write as well as to improve their skills in calculating and their knowledge of economics. In this way, the adults citizens can even complete a school diploma. Since 2008, an online platform is available which allows participants to learn anonymously and free of charge. is provided by the German Adult Education Association since 2004.


Organisation: German Adult Education Association

United Kingdom : The Silver Line free, 24 hour, confidential helpline for older people

The Silver Line is a free confidential helpline in the UK providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The helpline aims to support vulnerable older people, sign-post them to projects and services, break through the stigma of loneliness and isolation, and tackle the problems of abuse and neglect. Following a successful pilot in 2012 covering the North East, North West, Isle of Man and Jersey, The Silver Line was awarded a grant from the Big Lottery Fund in September 2013 to support part the first two years operation.

Name: The Silver Line

Organisation: The Silver Line

Germany : Active 55+ counsellors visit older adults to carry out personal needs assessment for healthy ageing

The German Healthy Aging—Active 55+ project shows how existing health and social services can be enhanced with the help of health promotion strategies. Counsellors specifically trained in “client focused counselling” started to visit older adults who were interested in the project in 2002.

During the first visit, the client and counsellor jointly carried out a personal needs assessment, produced a personal action plan and, where necessary, made appropriate referrals to other services.

Throughout the project the participants were provided with social skills training and supported in increasing their self-esteem, building up peer relationships and thus building social networks. During the project, the participants, the community and the public health service cooperated in creating ways to support the health of older adults in the community. Support for the counsellors was provided through weekly peer meetings to exchange ideas and experiences.

Name: German Healthy Aging—Active 55+

Organisation: Active 55+ association

Germany : German online platform offers information to people with disabilities, their relatives, administrations and companies is an online platform which offers information to people with disabilities, their relatives, administrations and companies. This information is brought to the users barrier-free (e.g. sign language), and the user gains access to data bases, special offers and contact persons. A calendar of events is also included. The project was founded in 2009 by the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.


Organisation: German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

Germany : Computer game helps adults improve their reading, writing and calculating skills

Winterfest is an educational adventure game developed for adults. It allows users to improve their reading, writing and calculating skills while solving quests. Winterfest was developed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is promoted as a part of their research project “Alphabit”.

Name: Winterfest

Organisation: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Finland : CaringTV supports independent coping and living at home

CaringTV is a service-oriented concept, which is based upon customer friendly and interactive programmes and e-services. These programmes support customer welfare through the aid of an interactive video connection. In addition, CaringTV offers the possibility for experts, families and peer supports to join the CaringTV customers life. The aim is to support CaringTV customer's independent coping and living at home.

Name: CaringTV

Organisation: Laurea University of Applied Sciences

Italy : Activating and guiding the engagement of seniors through social media

Social isolation is a growing problem among the older population but social media can be a way out of this. AGES 2.0 offers a creative solution to foster social participation in elderly residential and community-based care residents.

The project focuses on activating and guiding the engagement of seniors through social media (=AGES 2.0) and is an experiment aimed at testing the efficiency of an Internet and social networks training program. Two countries are involved in the project, Italy and the UK.

The objective of this project is to determine how social media can be used more successfully to facilitate social inclusion and to establish the effect of such participation on personal identity, cognitive ability and well-being. Computer literacy combined with social competence can be the key to success in the matter of social inclusion – it will be exciting to follow the progress of the project.

Name: AGES 2.0

Organisation: EU project

United Kingdom : Older people from Kilburn High Road in London draw attention to obstacles they face every day

Imagine you are waiting at a crossing: When the green light appears you will probably hurry across the street. But what would you do at the age of 70 or with a broken leg? Sometimes you have only five seconds to cross the street before the stop sign appears again for the pedestrians.

This is only one of the obstacles older people from Kilburn High Road face, and the Kilburn Older Voices Exchange (KOVE) project wants to draw everybody’s attention to this. You can go on a journey with them, following their steps and lives, see London from the angle of older and vulnerable individuals and recognise the barriers they are facing in everyday life. You can follow their adventures, even when you do not live in London, just go to the website and look at the project descriptions and video recordings filmed by the older people themselves.

Name: Kilburn Older Voices Exchange


United Kingdom : Age Action Alliance improves the quality of later life through partnership working between members and older people

As an independent partnership of organisations, Age Action Alliance works across a range of themes to take a collaborative approach to the challenges of an ageing society and promote opportunities and contribution by older people themselves.

Name: Age Action Alliance

Organisation: Age Action Alliance

Netherlands : Grip & Glow group course

The GRIP & GLOW (GRIP & GLANS) group course teaches women over 55 who are (psychosocially) vulnerable, how they can actively improve their own well-being and take their lives into their own hands (again). This course also contributes to diminishing loneliness.

Research into the practical experiences shows that the trainers who are conducting the courses in general are very positive about the course and the results achieved with the participants. Most of them find the manual clear, useful and attractive. The participants themselves give an average score of 7,9 out of 10. One experimental study has been conducted into the effects of the G&G group course. The results show that the course led to a substantial increase in self-management skills and well-being, and a decrease in loneliness. These positive effects remain visible after six months.


Organisation: Viven B.V.

Netherlands : Study circles by and for older people

Study Circles (Studiekringen voor en door ouderen) by and for older people aim to get older people into contact with each other and to use each others’ knowledge and expertise. All members of a Study Circle contribute in selecting and preparing a topic for discussion. A Study Circle Counsellor offers support until the group is ready to function independently.

Change research indicates that, after participating in the Study Circle, older people score better on participation and contact. Almost 40% of respondents manage to get out of their isolated position through participation and improve their contact with friends, relatives and acquaintances. In addition, over 60% start or increase participation in civil society or neighbourhood activities and almost 70% have met new people. No research has been conducted into practical experiences yet.

Name: Studiekringen voor en door ouderen

Organisation: Gelders Platform Studiekringen van en voor Ouderen and Spectrum Gelderland

Netherlands : Unheard of Talent course

The course Unheard of Talent (Ongekend talent) encourages seniors to explore their talents and ac-tively put them to use in society. The course is presented by volunteer trainers who have first followed a train-the-trainer course. Over the course of five meetings each participant determines a goal, makes a plan and proceeds to carry it out.

In the evaluation study participants indicate that designing a structure for one’s plans is an important step in exploring one’s own talents. The course teaches participants how to break through barriers and how to handle the expectations of others. Working with ambassadors has proved to be important for recruiting participants. There are no known studies into the effects of this method.

Name: Ongekend talent


Netherlands : Visiting services for widows and widowers

The method ‘Visiting services for widows and widowers’ (Bezoekdienst voor weduwen en weduwnaars) offers concrete support in dealing with bereavement. The aim is to decrease the possibility of loneliness and social exclusion. Once or twice a month volunteers with hands-on experience visit peo-ple who have recently lost a partner.

Internal evaluations show that the personal contacts between volunteers and people visited works well. The volunteer has the opportunity to use his or her own experiences with grief and bereavement in a positive way. Effect research demonstrates that the method is effective for socially lonely, lower educated and physically ill widows and widowers.

Name: Bezoekdienst voor weduwen en weduwnaars

Organisation: De Gelderse Roos/Indigo

Netherlands : Heading for the golden years

The objective of Heading for the golden years (Op weg naar de Gouden Jaren) is to contribute to suc-cessful ageing. During the course older people learn skills to deal proactively with possible future problems. This increases their self-reliance.

Participants are positive about the method. A majority feels the course is easy to do. Effect research shows that the course actively improves proactive skills.

Name: Op weg naar de Gouden Jaren

Organisation: University of Twente and Utrecht University

Netherlands : Ageing in the Netherlands in the 21st century

The information programme ‘Ageing in the Netherlands in the 21st century’ (Voorlichtingsprogramma Ouder worden in Nederland in de 21e eeuw) focuses on migrants and refugees of 50 years and older. The objective is to support them in active and independent ageing, where they make their own in-formed choices and consider their needs in the field of housing, care and welfare. The programme consists of several practical meetings which focus on the individual’s ideas and expectations.

There are no known studies into the practical experiences or effects of this method.

Name: Voorlichtingsprogramma Ouder worden in Nederland in de 21e eeuw

Organisation: NIZW Zorg

Netherlands : Activating home visits with elderly people

Activating home visits with elderly people (Activerend huisbezoek bij ouderen) is a method to improve or restore the self-reliance and the well-being of people aged 55 and over. It concerns older people who live independently but have lost their balance in life.

Practical experience show that the method meets a need: older people breathe more easily when they are able to talk things over with a home visitor. Activating home visits do require specialised volun-teers who need training and support. Effect research provides indications for the effectiveness of home visits in general. There has been no study into the effect of activating home visits.

Name: Activerend huisbezoek bij ouderen

Organisation: MOVISIE

Netherlands : Seniors for … your municipality

The method ‘Seniors for … your municipality’ (Senioren voor … uw gemeente) aims to match seniors and volunteer organisations. During a meeting with seniors aged 63 and 64, volunteer organisations present their offer of activities and older volunteers relate their experiences. The stage of life and the wishes of the target audience take central position. The method has already been applied in many municipalities. The municipality, a social services provider and if possible a volunteer centre cooper-ate.

In the evaluation participating seniors indicate that they have acquired more insight in the opportuni-ties for volunteer effort in their municipality. The stories of older volunteers are very much appreciated. The coordinators who organise the meeting are positive about the practical application of the method. They find that good cooperation between stakeholders is crucial for success. There are no known effect studies of the method.

Name: Senioren voor … uw gemeente

Organisation: Bureau Senia

Netherlands : Feel like being friends course

Feel like being friends (Zin in vriendschap) is a course for women aged 55 and over, aiming to dimin-ish or prevent feelings of loneliness. In twelve weekly lessons participants work on actively engaging in new friendships or improving existing friendships.

Practice shows that the participants feel better after the course and take concrete steps to improve their friendships. Three effect studies demonstrate that the participants really have more friends and feel less lonely.

Name: Zin in vriendschap

Organisation: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

Belgium : CSR Europe Blueprint for Business Action on Health Literacy

A free toolbox accessible to all companies. The Blueprint for Business Action on Health Literacy is a free toolbox accessible to all companies aiming to strengthen the health literacy of employees. Besides concrete best-practice examples it provides additional elements for companies to become champions in health at workplace.


Organisation: CSR Europe

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