HomeAfundación and Matia Instituto start this week the program "Emotions", aimed at the elderly.

Afundación and Matia Instituto start this week the program "Emotions", aimed at the elderly.

  • ABANCA's Obra Social, in collaboration with Matía Instituto, launches this novel initiative, the result of rigorous joint work since 2017 between both entities.
  • This program is part of the "Emotions and Loneliness" series aimed at reflecting on the emotional well-being of the elderly and the stereotypes associated with this stage of life.

Afundación, the Social Work of ABANCA, in collaboration with Matía Instituto, launches from tomorrow, through +60 online, a new project focused on the emotional health of the elderly. Thus, the "Emotions" program will address, through participatory workshops, the importance of knowing and becoming aware of our emotions and promote the learning of strategies to increase our emotional well-being. The development of this innovative program, unprecedented in our environment, is the result of the collaboration that since 2017 Afundación and Matía Instituto have been developing to generate resources that contribute to the knowledge and emotional well-being of people as they age. An aspect that has become more relevant if possible in the current context of pandemic, which has revealed the rapid deterioration that society as a whole is experiencing in the emotional sphere, yielding data that indicate that up to 52% of people manifest evident signs of fatigue or that 30% show signs of anxiety.

The "Emotions" program, which will start tomorrow, has been co-designed through an innovative pilot project with elderly members of espazos+60. Articulated in a total of 8 two-hour sessions, taught by Sara Marsillas, a researcher at the Matía Institute, the program is aimed at seniors interested in knowing and understanding the emotional process and acquiring skills and strategies on how to manage emotions in our daily lives to improve our well-being.

This program is part of the cycle "Emotions and loneliness" which also includes different informative actions, through Afundación TV, for all audiences, in order to invite reflection on loneliness in aging and social image and stereotypes towards old age, both relevant issues for both people aging and society as a whole. Thus, on May 5, experts Mayte Sancho, Sara Marsillas and Daniel Prieto will discuss the phenomenon of loneliness and its different facets, and on May 19 Elena del Barrio will address the phenomenon of ageism and stereotypes towards the elderly and how overprotection and paternalism towards this population group have worsened since the beginning of the pandemic. The program also includes a seminar aimed at professionals in which results and lessons learned from different research and projects related to the impact of loneliness on the senior population will be shared.

Emotions, a neglected aspect

In recent years, the paradigm of active aging has been taking hold in today's society and this has been reflected in the creation of a multitude of programs and activities to promote it. Most of them are framed in the field of lifelong learning, physical activity or travel and excursions, with notable benefits for the people who carry them out. However, other dimensions of active aging are often left without a space of their own in these programs, such as the affective or emotional area.

Following the evaluation of Afundación's active aging program with the Personal Index of Active Aging (IPEA) in 2017, a moderately high level of active aging was detected among its participants, although the emotional state showed a somewhat lower level compared to the remaining dimensions associated with health. As a result of that assessment, a series of recommendations were developed, one of them being the inclusion of initiatives that enhance well-being and emotional health.

To design these initiatives, Matía Instituto, commissioned by Afundación, carried out a first qualitative study in the spaces +60 of Pontedeume and Pontevedra using the focus group tool, which allowed to know the perceptions, attitudes and beliefs of the participants towards emotions and how to regulate them. According to the analysis of the information collected, a prototype training proposal was developed and during 2019 a pilot implementation of this training program was carried out, with the intention of extending it later to the entire network of espazos +60 and other entities interested in promoting the emotional well-being of the elderly. The results obtained after more than three years of research have led to the development of this "Emotions" program, through which Afundación approaches the aging process in a holistic way - addressing both physical and emotional issues.

The video about this innovative program and images are available aquí