Anita Rappauer, a Community Story from Austria
I am a social scientist and researcher at queraum. kultur- und sozialforschung. I have many years of experience in designing and implementing projects at national and European level in the fields of adult education, social participation for the elderly, and lifelong learning. I am currently coordinating the Erasmus+ project 'Invisible Talents’, encouraging and recognising the contributions of people aged 80+.Our contacts at the Österreichische Austauschdienst (OeAD) told us about EPALE. Since then, we have enjoyed using the platform to find out about exciting projects, report on our projects and present our project results and products. Our Invisible Talents project seeks to support and showcase the interests and talents of elderly men and women. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, it suddenly became impossible to hold events or meetings in person.
COVID-19 not only changed our everyday (professional) lives, but above all it impacted the visibility and image of elderly people in society. Therefore, we feel that now is a particularly important time to highlight the diverse skills, valuable contributions, and creative potential of the older generation.
We launched the video series “Daheimbleiben für Fortgeschrittene” (“Staying Home for Advanced Learners”; since renamed “Aktivbleiben für Fortgeschrittene” or “Staying Active for Advanced Learners”) and invited senior citizens to share with us what they are doing to stay active and make their everyday lives as enjoyable as possible in the current situation. Whether it is sewing, knitting, painting, writing poetry, or coming up with innovative ways to stay in touch with their grandchildren, the videos show not only the tremendous creativity elderly men and women are using to get through the COVID-19 crisis but also the fact that many older people are still living their lives to the fullest despite spending more time at home. The selection of videos has now grown to nine and can be viewed on our YouTube channel. The videos aim to inspire as many people as possible to (re)discover and make use of their own talents. We are especially pleased that senior citizens have participated and continue to participate in our initiative.
For many of them, this has been the first time that they have recorded a video or allowed themselves to be filmed via videoconference.
The ideas presented in the video series are just as colourful and diverse as the personalities of the participants and the stories of how their videos came into being. COVID-19 has challenged us to rethink our activities and approaches. Together with our participants and partners, we have embarked upon unfamiliar paths and had many enriching experiences.
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