Context of SenEmpower
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The SenEmpower project intends to combine two aspects of civil society
and the roles that seniors can play in it:

  • On the one hand, the number of seniors who need support in being an active member of the local community will increase. Single, older women are particularly at a high risk of social isolation, but the same is true for other vulnerable groups of older people in marginal social contexts. Besides poor health and poverty, the most important risk factor for social exclusion is a low level of formal education. For these seniors, ways have to be found and developed to utilise their hidden strengths to enable them to participate in community life.

  • On the other hand, a growing number of seniors are ready to work in self-help groups and initiatives on issues of public welfare, including the re-integration of isolated seniors into community life. Their contribution to social welfare is tremendous but needs to be acknowledged and supported by educational offers and cooperation at community level. Their locally based work is not usually integrated into networks, so they miss out on the transfer of knowledge and good practice.
Given this background, the project aims at offering training courses to members of seniors self-help groups and voluntary work initiatives to improve their skills in empowering seniors, with weak family and social networks, to take a greater role in society. It builds on work outlined by the European project “Isolation to Inclusion” in which Local and Regional Action Plans for the re-integration of isolated old people into community life were set up.

Work at local level is performed by partnerships of seniors associations, governments, adult education bodies and research institutes. At European level, SenEmpower is coodinated by Institut für Soziale Infrastruktur (ISIS), Frankfurt am Main.