Elderly, meetings in Milan to get to know “grandchildren on demand” and relieve loneliness

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Loneliness is a real scourge for the elderly, who have often lost friends and are often unable to see their families. It’s a problem that gets worse especially in winter, the season in which opportunities for contact and socialization are reduced.

This is why the “Being together is more beautiful” initiative was born: in February, in some of the Milanese offices of the Santagostino polyclinic network (piazza Sant’Agostino, via Muratori (Porta Romana), corso Vercelli and piazzale Corvetto), a series of events dedicated to the elderly and their families is scheduled to find out about the “grandchildren on demand” servicewhich was born from the collaboration with the Milanese startup Uaf – You Are Family.

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Practically, young boys and girls, often college students inclined to volunteer, selected by the center, will be able to provide company to the «grandparents». Who will purchase the service with packages at discounted rates (13 euros per hour for the 20-hour package), after a first hour free to test the service and evaluate whether to continue.

A game of cards, a walk, reading a bookhelp with shopping or running errands, but also going to the cinema or going to the theatre: there are countless activities that «on demand grandchildren» can offer, including practical lessons to learn how to use smartphones and computers, to navigate internet or make video calls.

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Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon in February, while sipping tea in company, the elderly will be able to get to know the “grandchildren”, discover their stories and see how the algorithm developed specifically for the service works. In fact, to find the best company, technology is also used: the characteristics of the grandfather are processed and matched with the best grandson, so as to ensure the most personalized service possible.

«Several studies have shown that social isolation and a sense of loneliness, particularly if protracted over time, constitute a risk factor for cognitive decline in old age», explained Pietro Davide Trimarchi, psychologist expert in clinical and experimental neuropsychology at Santagostino. «Furthermore, a recent study by the Mario Negri Institute in Milan conducted on a large sample of European elderly citizens showed that high levels of social isolation and a sense of loneliness were associated with a greater risk of developing a condition of frailty, a geriatric syndrome in which minor medical problems, such as a flu or urinary tract infection, may have a serious long-term impact on health and well-being”.

More stories from Vanity Fair that might interest you:

«Let’s rethink the RSA: one day we will all be elderly»

Fausto, 80 years old: «Here’s how a residence for the elderly can become a salvation»

Source: Vanity Fair

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