Sharing Stories, Sharing Life

The Erasmus+ project Sharing Stories, Sharing Life aims at increasing the social inclusion and decreasing loneliness among the most vulnerable group of elderly: those with low (digital) literacy levels. This will be done by the development of an innovative story-telling based e-training, facilitating volunteers and caregivers in valuable conversations. Development takes place in close collaboration with the target groups. The three-year project will be executed by a transnational consortium of five partners, from four different countries (NL, LU, UK, AU). The partner organizations are representatives of elderly people, a design partner with expertise in co-design and a technical partner with experience in technical solutions for the older population.

Loneliness is a serious problem among the elderly in Europe. Chronic feelings of loneliness can bring people down into a spiral of social exclusion. Older people with a lower literacy level are especially at risk of social exclusion as participation in current knowledge based societies are very much based on the ability to read and write. Storytelling can help them to make sense of their lives and connect them with their social environment.

We use stories constantly; to inform, to connect with others or to share our feelings.  Stories are used to organize our thoughts, find meaning and purpose and establish a sense of identity in this world. This is also why some people keep a journal organizing their thoughts by writing them down on a regular basis. The proposed project aims to use these principles of storytelling in the development of a training against loneliness.

Digital developments provide new opportunities in sharing personal narratives. However, many elderly people feel hesitant using them. They are for instance anxious to retain their privacy and distinguish between what they want to share with family, close friends or acquaintances. This is particularly true for those with a low literacy level. This is a pity as these digital tools may help to arrange, capture and use stories.

Taking into account the needs of older people with low (digital) literacy levels and those working with them, the Sharing Stories, Sharing Life project will develop an e-training especially focusing on this target group.

Project partners:

  • Stichting Nationaal Ouderenfonds (coordinator, NL)
  • Cambridgeshire County Council (partner, UK)
  • Netural GmbH (partner, AT)
  • Lifetool Gemeinnützige GmbH (partner, AT)
  • RBS-Center fir Altersfroen (partner, LU)