BERGEN OP ZOOM – The summer holidays in North Brabant have started. This year, about eighty percent of the Dutch are planning to go on holiday again. Older people are more likely to stay at home. They receive less visitors in the summer and have fewer social contacts. In the summer campaign One against loneliness, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport calls on people from Brabant to keep in touch with the elderly, even when you are on holiday.
For elderly people staying at home, the summer months are often quieter than normal. They receive less visitors and have fewer social contacts. Also, some social activities are canceled due to a summer break. Elderly people who indicate that they feel lonely in the summer do not speak to anyone for a week. State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen: “This year, when we are on holiday, let’s keep in touch with our neighbors, parents or acquaintances who stay at home. Whether you are at home or abroad, going away for a long or short period of time, a call or voice memo to the home front a little more often can make all the difference. A small gesture for you, very valuable for the other.”
Annemieke and her in-laws have a good relationship. In the summer, she contacts her a little more often by calling or sending a card. “My mother-in-law Nelly always has something to do with her own sewing workshop. But I do notice that her social contacts have decreased considerably over time. She also lost her mother not long ago. She normally speaks to her brother a lot, but he is now on vacation for 6.5 weeks. I can tell she’s having a harder time right now. That’s why I’m looking for more contact. This week I sent her an app: shall we have breakfast together?” The 67-year-old Nelly is happy to have such a daughter-in-law. “It feels normal for them to go on these kinds of trips with me. But it is worth a lot to me.”
The summer campaign is part of the action program One against loneliness of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The action program aims to make loneliness a topic for discussion and to combat loneliness. The action program does this with the campaign ‘A small gesture can make a difference’. The action program has been in existence since 2018 and since then more than 250 municipalities and about 170 national organisations, companies and institutions have joined. Knowing more? Look at www.eentegeneengedrag.nl