Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
In traditional society elderly people have a role: the community relies on their life experience and wisdom. In the modern world, however, this age group is often a burden, and beyond their physical existence there is no concern for their mental health, active and healthy aging. Loneliness, illness, poverty, conflicts in the family, even loneliness within the family, fear of death, mourning – these are the most frequent problems the elderly face.
In our fast moving world, elderly people tend to be excluded from the events of everyday life. They become more sensitive and vulnerable. They find it difficult to come to terms with the passing of the years, the loss of personal relationships and daily contacts with the family members. In a crisis situation old people are often left to their own resources, with nobody to call on if they feel exposed or have suicidal impulses.
The services that are available for the Hungarian elderly in the social care system provide exclusively physical care. The services provide meal, assistance in shopping and cleaning but the welfare workers have little time and a heavy work load, which does not allow a deeper and meaningful interaction with their clients including listening to their everyday problems, mental pains, joys or conflicts.
To be able to make anonymous calls to the center means that the older people in need can freely express their thoughts, bad feelings or doubts which have often been hidden even from themselves. They do not have to face the listener whose body language may imply to them criticism or judgment. They can enjoy the benefits of supportive listening, shared thoughts, empathy and confidentiality. Searching for the right words, finding previously unidentified connections stimulate progress and can provide a secure foothold.
Many elderly suffer from a new situation brought on by retirement and the psychological and physical burdens of inactivity. They ought to find a new community and sensible new goals as well as new skills to adapt to the new life challenges.
DélUtán offers assistance and ideas to facilitate this process. DélUtán Foundation helps preserve the mental health of a group, which is not dealt with properly by other social, civil or governmental organizations.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
The phone service, which helps the elderly with supportive conversations, is the primary and most important activity of DélUtán since 1998. Conversations may ease sadness and loneliness, help to avoid suicidal ideas. The discussions often reveal long-time hidden pain. The service also provides reliable practical information on home care, personal alarm systems, messenger service or home deliveries, which may help the caller to avoid the feeling of vulnerability.
The innovation lies in the demand based approach. DélUtán is ready to face new challenges and address newly emerging needs of the clients.
In 2001 DélUtán's launched a free legal consulting service.
In 2002 a patients’ rights legal counsel service was introduced.
Since 2003, free medical advice has been offered once a week. The DélUtán psychologist provides free personal counseling.
In 2008 DélUtán launched a computer course for the elderly. Getting acquainted with the Internet may ease the social isolation and may help finding job opportunities. These courses proved to be an incredible success. There is a long waiting list which includes applicants between the ages of 45 and 87.
The phone discussions exposed that there are lots of clients who are open to new relationships and would require personal encounters. For their sake DélUtán Clubs are organized in different parts of Budapest, where people can meet, play games, talk, and make new friends.
Based on the solid and long term experience, DélUtán has always been seeking partners in Europe to build partnership, to cooperate and to share experience and to learn. A European grant gave an opportunity to DélUtán to identify partners who work with the same target group in Slovakia, Romania and Serbia and are interested in cooperating and setting up a help line service based on DélUtán’s know-how.
As its newest development, DélUtán has started providing helpline service in e-mail and on chat.
DélUtán makes sure that posters and information leaflets with the programs and contact information are available at locations frequented by the elderly, such as hospitals, libraries and council client support services and pensioners’ clubs in all the country.
All the services of DélUtán are free of charge for the clients and all the services are delivered by volunteers that ensure sustainability since 1998.