Statistics point to an increase in Brazil's elderly population. This is indicated by data released in June 2023 by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). In 2012, 11.3 percent of the Brazilian population was 60 years old or over. By 2022, ten years later, that rate had risen to 15.1 percent. With the growing elderly population also comes the need to generate alternatives that guarantee their quality of life.
With this in mind, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), represented by its regional office in Paraná, has been developing a project for senior citizens with the aim of providing them a socializing, bonding service.
According to Raquel Hipólito, the social worker who coordinates the initiative, around 25 participants are registered. "The aim of Viva Mais [“Live More”] is to bring together people over the age of 60, providing a space to exchange experiences, giving them a place to speak, where they are heard, and for this we bring together professionals from a wide range of areas to help us," she says.
Solange da Silva, age 67, retired, has been taking part in the project since it was launched in May 2023. "With the pandemic, we're used to staying at home, and here we have an opportunity to go out, meet people, get rid of boredom. We do everything: we play, we laugh, we learn how to feed ourselves, we do gymnastics. It's a lot of fun!" she exclaims.
For participant Lúcia Fernandes, 60, the initiative is an opportunity for the elderly to be seen. "We're a family here, and I've filled what I was missing, which was socializing with people my own age. If I were at home, I'd be asleep," she says.
One of the activities carried out by the participants is making blankets, cuddly toys, and shoes for newborns. "We're working in partnership with another social project, which aims to make these items for babies who are in the neonatal ICU," says Hipólito.
Registration to take part in the group's activities is free, and the meetings take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m. at the South Paraná Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, located at Avenida Senador Salgado Filho, 5280 - Uberaba, Curitiba - PR.