I - CARE demographic challenges 2012-2014

International Communication and Active ageing in a Rural Environment


The coneed eG member association LEB Kreisarbeitsgemeinschaft Aurich/Ostfriesland e.V. ist partner in this international Grundtvig learning partnership (In cooperation coneed eG / LEB the cooperative manages the national web presentation).


  • Spain - Associació per la cooridnació de membres i entitats de lleure rurals de Catalunya, Coordinació Rural de Catalunya
  • Belgium - Landelijke Gilden vzw
  • The Netherlands - Stichting Welzijn Midden-Drenthe
  • Germany - LEB Kreisarbeitsgemeinschaft Aurich/Ostfriesland e.V.
  • Hungary - Balatonszepezdi Népfiskola
  • Denmark - Grobund ApS



During the last decades, significant demographic changes took place in small villages: not so long ago, people used to work and live in the same area, which leaded to natural commitment with village life. Nowadays, less people work in their own village and newcomers do not always participate in village life. The number of older people is rising while young professionals leave the rural area.

Partners involved in I-CARE want older people to be actively involved in an intergenerational debate about the future of their village. Education must play a mayor role in this process and can inspire older and younger inhabitants to take initiatives together.

I-CARE partners will arrange study visits, exchange good practices and research on several topics: methods to involve seniors in future planning and action, intergenerational debate and practice within the community organization, voluntary involvement and educational needs of the ageing population, changing lifestyles and how to make use of this, methods to increase the power of local capital and anticipation on future care needs.



  • to realise learner-centredness
  • to increase individual and minor community autonomy and action-capability
  • to address the problems of marginalisation through learning as well as community development
  • to increase openness to European practices and values
  • to recognise and support all forms of learning
  • to increase participation in learning
  • to recognise the role of learning in individual and family life, social role taking, employment and career planning.



Spain                2 3 . 1 0 . 2 0 1 2 - 2 6 . 1 0 . 2 0 1 2

Netherlands     1 2 . 0 3 . 2 0 1 3 - 1 5 . 0 3 . 2 0 1 3

Denmark           1 8 . 0 6 . 2 0 1 3 - 2 1 . 0 6 . 2 0 1 3

Hungary            2 2 . 1 0 . 2 0 1 3 - 2 5 . 1 0 . 2 0 1 3

Germany           2 5 . 0 2 . 2 0 1 4  - 2 8 . 0 2 . 2 0 1 4

Belgium            1 9.  0 5.  2 0 1 4  - 2 3.  0 5.  2 0 1 4



Short description of the study visits and discussions

First visit to Associació d Amics de la Gent gran de Pinós- Association of elderly people s friends of Pinós.

Pinós is a municipality of Solsonès region with 307 inhabitants and has 104,3 km2. Other characteristic of the region of Solsones is that is known as a region of 1.000 farmhouses because houses are isolated and in almost all the municipalities don t have a nucleus as a village. So, villages are formed for farmhouses scattered in the area, that aspect is really important because usually is a disadvantage to move to the local where take place events or others. Also we have to keep in mind that some women don t have the driving license.

This association created in 2009 is formed by 56 members of the entire municipality. On the study visit came almost all persons of the board members to explain their association detail by detail. (In Annexes you can see the presentation attached).

After the presentation started a debate between participants of Grundvitg project and Board members of the association. It was really interesting to discuss because they could see that in other countries have same problems and same situations in rural areas and focus in elderly people.

Three important points:

1. The association gives a chance to people from the rural area to share time and be together, so, promoting a social life and the interaction between them. This fact is remarkable because some people live alone at home and if they don t go to the activities of the association can spend all time alone.

2. People from that association are so worried about a residence or some space to host elderly people specially who has some mobility problems and so on. The big problem is the money, is a huge inversion and however they have some spaces or ideas also the project is disapproved for the number of beneficiaries. During the discussion participants from Grundvitg told them a proposal: Arrange an old farmhouse as a residence building, the answer was hey thought already on that but problem still being the money or from where they can receive some grants. They really believe on that and they were so motivated to work it.

3. The participants in the activities are mostly women. And they offer a lot of activities. Some participants from Grundvitg told that this association is really similar of the Elderly club.


Second visit to Associació Peramola et crida- Association Peramola calls you

Peramola is a municipality of Alt Urgell region with 384 inhabitants and has 56 Km2. Peramola is a village, so is really different situation and has other problems if we compare with Pinos. In fact, the idea was to see different situations of rural areas in Catalonia. And also see how different could be live in a rural village or life in the countryside in a farmhouse.

Also, we noted that Peramola has half extension in Km2 that Pinós and has more or less the same population. This is really important just to understand how difficult is the mobility and the big dimension of the neighbourhood for the reason we talked, houses are isolated in the territory.

The association Peramola et crida is an umbrella organization created in 2011 with the aims to work all the associations from Peramola as a net to share resources, fiscal identification to apply for grants and do activities together, besides, an interactive and intergenerational work.

The chairwoman told to the participants how important is work as a net and if all people believe on the project but specially in the village and they want to contribute to have a life village this is the key. Also, she told all is volunteering work and one project was made in the last summer time in 2012, July, was the first international work camp in the Alt Urgell region.

The project called recovery of prehistoric heritage hosted 15 youngsters between 18-30 years old from all over the world. The international work camp is an activity which youngsters in the morning work with technicians with the topic of the project and in the afternoons and weekends is time to learn and be involved in social life on the area. The duration of the project is fifteen days. A rich experience for youngsters and for all villagers because youngsters came mostly from huge big cities as Paris, Bratislava, etc. and was their first time in rural village. And for the other side, villagers through Peramola et crida association prepared every afternoon a specific workshop focus on rural life to teach and explain them things as to make sausages, bread, traditional recipes and others. That project was a really very good experience and intergenerational work. And all villagers are waiting for the second edition, also is necessary to tell that give some job to youngsters from Peramola as a leaders, was organised by Coordinació Rurall-Ruraltia escola and the village hall gave support on that.

So, as a conclusion is important to work all together for the village but mix local projects with international ones. All of them could help to develop rural areas and is a good opportunity to receive people from other countries and to show knowledge, cultural, gastronomic, natural, social and historic rural heritage, moreover, is a good time to learn from others. Participants and chairwoman discuss and dialogue about the association.


The project team in LEB Aurich Ostfriesland and the second circle of relevant organisations around the project, first activities:

During the first project months a project team was set up in the region. Members of the team are persons from LEB Aurich, from Land-Seniorenvereinigung Ostfriesland and from Education Cooperative Coneed. They together (also including their own networks) are in the second circle in realizing the project in the region and to be the link to the international partners. For e.g. one first measure was, to start with a English language course for involved persons, to be better in communication in international project community.



During the 2nd meeting I-CARE (March 2013), the partner Welzijn Midden Drenthe / Netherlands presents their important results about the regional project Active Ageing Midden Drenthe in practice , which is active since 2009.


Outline of the results (pro and cons):


1. Social relations:

+ Workgroups Active Ageing are formed in 10 villages

+ Open air sports facilities like Jeu des Boules and physical exercise gardens

+ New activities: Senior restaurants, lunch or high tea children+elderly, informative and sociable get togethers like a reading about history of the village, creative activities or

just having a cup of coffee together

- Workgroups Active Ageing only partly succeeded in motivating the existing organisations to develop a special programme for the elderly

- Until now there has not been developed a successful approach for volounteers in the villages to tackle loneliness and seclusion among elderly


2. Body and mind:

+Individual consult by professional of Welzijn Quderen

+ Cooking club for men

+ Project 60+ Health and Wellbeing

- Loneliness and seclusion

- Awareness of needs and wishes of the elderly among existing sport organisations


3. Education

+ Local newspapers , websites, Local Community College and village halls are used to spread information and educate elderly and everybody who has something to do with

elderly people

- Slow decrease of attention for education over time.

- Difficult to school volunteers in educating villagers, still mostly dependent on professional organisations


4. Facilities

+ Help available for garden, house and small services

+ Physical help desk

- Difficult to link demand and offers

- In the near future more health care facilities are needed in rural areas


5. Housing and environment

+ House adaption on the older age

+ Attention to needs of elderly in village planning

+ New village hiking paths

+ Course low maintenance gardening



Denmark: Community centers, self organized stores and a football club, which supports rural village development

In the north of Jylland (Denmark) the 3rd project meeting took place in June 2013. The intergenerational work in different local community centers was in the centre of interest. So the participants visit the centers in Dostrup, Rorbaek and Norholm. Beside it was real interesting in Dostrup, that the local football club was extensive included in rural village development activities: For example they are engaged for the   local kindergarten. In Norholm the local store runs by volunteer members from the village, who are organized in a cooperative.  Two workshops during the visit were also joined by local volunteers, member of rural parliament and municipality employees = so the interaction with the local situation was quite interesting and informs about practical experiences.



During the 4th project meeting in Hungary in October 2013 the  participants visit in the municipality Vászoly in the Balaton Uplands (extract from project description):

Vászoly has a population of 260 people, out which 38 people (18 women and 20 men) belong to the 60-69 age-group, while 19 people (11 women and 8 men) belong to the 70-79 age group. Several generations of a family live in the village, which means an active relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. The economic situation of seniors is characterized by low pensions, that is complemented with what they can produce in their household gardens; thus they are able to keep their subsistence costs extremely low.


The Community Club of the elderly has now 27 members. They hold their meetings in the Community House , which also houses the library and the computer centre. The Club takes active part in the diverse activities of the Public Fondation for Vászoly, in the events of the local Summer Festival and work as helpers in the gallery. Also garden grandparents days are organized and seniors contribute to the preservation of traditions; documents on local history are kept by seniors and used by many people in their school essays. Sporting events include a table tennis championship in the autumn, with the regular participation of seniors.


One of the main activities of Community Club includes lectures on healthy life style. The local physician´s assistant can deliver some medical services directly in people´s home. In cooperation with local kindergarten a community  health care plan is being developed, which aims at prevention and health education. Vaszoly has a market place for household producers, where seniors can sell their surplus agricultural produce, and earn a little extra income to their pensions.


In 2012 Vászoly won the title of Senior Friendly Settlement annually awarded be the Hungarian Government. So they are very successfully in

·         Improve the quality of life of seniors, the operation of local organizations and promote the organization of free time activities

·         Involve senior citizens and their organizations in participating and shaping local public life


In the other visited municipality Bazsi, the mayor informed about the self-sustaining village approach and the involvement in the EU  LEADER program about rural regional development. One important aspect was, to establish a  kind of local incubator to assist any kind of entrepreneurship in the village.  




During the meeting in Hungary the team from LEB Aurich e.V. presents a own Case Study about the following topic : What are the educational needs for senior citizens and how respond to this needs? In one example about managing an international exchange the questions get be answered:


What are the educational needs for senior citizens and how respond to this needs?

It´s important for the older ones, to be active component in society and to keep this integrate and active position as long as possible. It´s the way how senior people become enough self- confident, (1) to be aware of their own knowledge and skills, (2) to be qualified to inform, to assist and to be in dialogue with other ones  and (3) to redefine this stage of life and find it´s own new position. 

To start this process, it needs to work with those women and men, who are ready for intergenerational work. Starting this new kind of common approach, it needs to identify the competence of the  senior people and to strengthen their self- confidence. They have to be aware of the own valuable knowledge and the motivation to use it for intergenerational and social engagement together with other parts of society.  Pathways to be up to date, can be e.g. education offers in the formal way, but also by not formally or informally transfer of knowledge.  And many other possibilities are conceivable, e.g. project work, workshops, excursions, tell and read aloud.

This needs assistance in the frame of operational adult education. Seniors  need to "be up to date" on skills to transfer knowledge and experience between the generations and to use it as new and important aspect for social cohesion


One possibility: To arrange an international  exchange between NGO´s:

Everything will be done in exchange between the partners. So there is a significant impact for the people, who are involved in project process. The seniors will find access to adult education methods, e.g. how to use non formal and informal information methods. For example, they will learn to inform about e.g.: healthy food, historical places, competences in regional languages, social family life.  So the learners get a little "professional background" for intergenerational / international work, knowledge transfer and - last not least - being in the middle of changing society.


An international exchange can be very attractive, to hear about educational activities / operational education work in other countries and to be motivated to do this in the same way in the own country. Such an international partnership contact permitted a "refresh" of personal soft skills! and is a real good method to interest seniors in necessary new knowledge



Description of the process                                                 

International exchange in August 2012, Germany and Latvia, Senior volunteer groups. The partners from Germany and Latvia start a (senior) learner group to prepare the international exchange visit. The learner group learns during the international visit and presents by themselves their own work. 

This is an education unit for seniors, how to deal - in general - to communicate their experiences and knowledge and how to get in interaction with social groups, even from outside the country. The intergenerational aspect will be important, learners from different ages will join - temporary the international exchange meeting. The host group will deal with this topic, but always in interaction with the surroundings. The host group is an innovative base for further adult education offers learned also form guest group. And it´s the chance to have a international reflection about the desired position in life ciycle. Also it has to be discussed what kind of motivating is needed from society and how social recognition can be ensured, a personal overuse of the elderly should be avoided,


The common program with NGO from local municipality (only some points):

> Meeting in health care center  Apothekervilla    

> Work with seniors in the municipality (general and library):

> Presentation of NGO Regional volunteers bus association Bürgerbus : Invitation: To use the 


> Holiday action for children organized by volunteer association  


What were the results and other effects?                  

> Seniors become active part in international exchange activity  and work within learning offers

   (Culture, to assist young people, health care, )

> Personal skills are trained: IT competence, Language, start intergenerational working group

   with associations in Saldus, Latvia

> International exchange in social care and to support people endangered with social exclusion

   is accompanied by senior NGO workgroup, knowledge about healthy life style is spread .

> The seniors inform about local products and explain natural beauty.

> Senior engagement in volunteer managing of bus transport is discussed on international level.

> Senior assistance in entrepreneurship.




Project meeting I-CARE / LEB Aurich Ostfriesland e.V

Germany, 25. - 28. February 2014

Main topic: Training of senior volunteers and the promotion of active ageing in the rural area


Four examples from East Frisia, how to support seniors in further training and active participating


1. Land-Senioren Vereinigung Ostfriesland - Rural Seniors

The Rural Senior Association was founded in May 2006 with assistance and organizational help from the LEB in East Frisia. The idea was, to connect all those seniors who want to be engaged in volunteer work, to be in more contact with seniors from the countryside, to learn from each other and take an active role in current changes in society. The Rural Seniors get financial support and donations from several companies / associations in East Frisia. There is no member fee.


Several times during the year, the seniors met for a kind of Education Breakfast in the central meeting places. Mostly they invite lecturers for current interesting educational topics. These morning events and the combination breakfast / lecture is a real success story since years!  


 An outline of lecture topics from the first six months 2014:

-       Energy Experience Center new pedagogical approach

-       International guests and their experience, how to activate seniors

-       The reformation in East Frisia

-       What is Feng Shui?

-       Mobility obtained - prevention through training

-       Information from the District chimney sweep: heating, fireplaces and smoke detectors

-       Discover East Frisian field names and what is the background?


The lessons are accompanied by field trips to radio stations, cultural events and to learn about managing modern companies. Like in the last years there is trip, to learn about other European countries!



2. LAB Aurich - Lange Aktiv Bleiben / Long stay active

The overall goals: The LAB Aurich promotes the pursuit of seniors, to be longer active. This is accomplished by social, educational, and socio-cultural offers. The LAB manages educational events and field trips into the region. Seniors should give access to their skills and (vice-versa) get at the same time access to the abilities of the others. In this sense each one can benefit from the other.  

Regular events

-       Art course (and if there are enough interested participants: Art exhibitions)

-       English course

-       Computer course for beginners

-       Lectures and presentations

-       Consultation hours

-       Creative circle

-       Nordic walking

-       Games afternoon



3. Seniors assist Seniors   Anti - Rost-Aurich 

Anti-Rust Initiative Aurich support seniors, who want to continue their life well in familiar surroundings. They are men and women of different ages - often already retired - who want to do volunteer work for the elderly in Aurich.They want to contribute in this way to increase the importance of neighborly help and take over tasks and small repairs that were

previously done by family members and neighbors.

Anti-Rost-Aurich is active, because:

-       the anonymity of the people in different residential areas increases and the interest for, living neighborhood is not as strong as before

-       Disabled seniors can´t climb the ladder

-       There are fewer and fewer families that ensure cohesion

-       And: The number of single people is increasing.


They take over small tasks, where the use of craftsmen would be inconceivable.



4. Schlickmuseum Riepe To educate (senior) guestguides

Adult education program for seniors, who are interested to present local special features

Interested locals from the region have been informed about the course offer. Many of them accompanied the changing process in the landscape, during of the long process of improving the soil for better using in agriculture. So many (senior) people with experiences and many year of knowledge took part in the course.

In 32 lesson hours there were taught in:

-How to manage thematic presentation in the Silt Museum

-Knowledge about Geography and water regulation

-Flora and Fauna

-To present the area, techniques for guides



The results:

About 12 guides were educated by LEB Aurich - Ostfriesland e.V.

-They manage the local Silt museum

-The participants got an attendance certificate (this is also one module to become a higher  

  level certificate tour guide with star

-The senior course participants can go on to play a very active role in informing local  

  (younger) people and guests about changing life in the region.

- It´s chance for seniors to be in contact with children, youngsters, visitors and to transfer

  knowledge about landscape change processes. Also a base for discussion about pro and  


- The guides earn a little money  for guided tours 






Final I-CARE  meeting in Belgium in May 2014


General topics of the meeting in Belgium:

Activating seniors in the villages through (member based) organizations /  The link between local food production and local services /  Care for the elderly in a rural context /  Participation of older people who live in poverty  

In the first general conference there has been an exchange on the following questions: - Who has a range of senior activities in the villages? (associations, government ...) - What does it offer? - Is this offer open to all seniors in the village? - Are both young and older seniors participating in the offer?  The LEB Aurich gave some information about those activities, which are arranged by Land Seniors East Frisia. 

In relation to this topic the international team visit a school garden in Kampenhout-Relst. Volunteers of Landelijke Gilden Relst are responsible for the garden, in common with the local school.  Information was given about different variants of school and community gardening. The importance of intergenerational common work became clear. Another aspect has been focused in the village Scherpenheuvel: Poverty of elderly in the countryside. It was discussed in the team, if the presented methodology can be useful for other vulnerable groups of villagers (older seniors, people with disabilities, ...)?  

Finally, in the village Vissenaken the attention was focused on direct selling farm (work with different generations on the farm, local products) and the project   Vissenaken alive , active association life (including village association for seniors).




The international project website for whole overview:

Added to national reporting on own websites the partnership agree for a common website, host by the Danish partner. Here you can find further information about the whole project: www.i-ca.re

Here you have access to the final project brochure (PDF): brochure-i-care-project-english-2014

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