Quarantine is the perfect time for ̶s̶e̶l̶f̶-̶d̶e̶v̶e̶l̶o̶p̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ procrastination. Probably that’s why we are just now sharing our impressions about training in the Spanish city of Santander.

In times when the whole world on the quarantine and a certain pause, with the blurred (of course, the bright!) future and unclear prospects of traveling inside of own country or other countries… We can just to go back to travel in our memories.
So let’s remember 😉

In mid-February, two representatives of our organization attended an international training “InterGENERATIONAL”. In a small international group of youth workers from Armenia, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, Poland and Spain they discussed the concept of growth / adulthood / aging, the perception of thus phenomenons, the public and personal support of the elderly people in each country, stereotypes and perceptions, the exclusion of elderly people from public processes. The participants were able to meet for some talks with the visitors of the Santander Center for the Visually disable people and make presentations of own countries to residents of an nursing home not far from Santander.


“We agreed that intergenerational communication will become more relevant over time, as more and more elderly people become in the world: medicine is improving, quality and life expectancy are increasing. At the same time, the knowledge, experience and traditions that traditionally much more known by older people, too quickly lose relevance and meaning for the younger generations. So finding common themes and opportunities for interacting for people with age differance in 20-40 years is a complicated challenge for today. Even with older relatives, it is not always easy to find a common language to speak, neither with neighbors or just acquaintances. But we must to overcome this obstacle if we are want to live in a society based on equality and non-discrimination.

During the presentation of Ukraine for elderly clients for nursing home we spoke about the features of lives of elderly people’s in Ukraine and the differences we have seen with Spain. Spanish grandparents listened intently and asked many questions. So why not take a step back and not to present how we saw the lives of the Spaniards?


  • First thing is a Spanish siesta. For ALL without exception. It means a very early start of the working day, a very long lunch break and a late finish. For example, we worked from 9:30 am to 1 pm, and the next meaningful part of the day started at about 5 pm. The locals were sure that the break lasted 2 hours :). The arithmetic is simple: from 1 pm till 2 pm, we go to the tavern and get ready for dinner, then have lunch for an hour (well, the dishes are served slowly). That’s about two hours to rest.
  • The Spanish (again, regardless of age), have a late dinner. In many restaurants the kitchen starts working at 9 pm to 10 pm. And nobody are worries about the harm of eating after 6 pm 🙂
  • Elderly people in Spain are more “visible” on the streets, in cafes and restaurants. To go with peers for coffee or a glass of wine with a sandwich, just to stroll through the streets of the evening, even the night city – is not unusual. In Santander after 12 am we met a company of 60+ y.o. people dressed in costumes of British royal family and guards, who sincerely enjoyed themselves and enjoyed the attention of passers-by.
  • In the nursing home there are comfortable conditions and extremely friendly and attentive staff. People who live in the home are not considered as patients or sick, stuff try to provide maximum convenience and organize leisure and opportunities to maintain physical and mental activity. They do the sport exercises, and the coloring draws, and communicate with each other. Most of all this is remaind the kindergarten (exhibitions of drawings and other crafts, sports equipment like balls), but only “children” are a little bit different.
  • In general, the infrastructure and facilities for low-mobility people in the cities we visit can be an example to follow. For example, freeopen-air escalators are installed that can be used to climb the rather high hills of Santander and Bilbao. Such adaptations are useful not only for elderly people or people with disabilities, but also for moms with baby carriage or, for example, tired cyclists.
  • We found an example of development of tourist potential that could be interesting for Kremenchuk. We had a boat trip across the bay. Half an hour of trip for a few euros is fun and relaxing. But … with us, the locals were just traveling home or business to another part of town with the same boat. That’s the thought: can we do this? For Kryukivsky bridge is unloading, for tourists is attraction, for locals is an alternative opportunity to travel home. What do you think about such idea?

So, we have received enough intercultural experience and reflection material. It would be nice to implement some of this ideas at home. Would you like to join? 🙂 »

It’s no secret that the elderly have become more defenseless in times of pandemic and need help. If you want to support and help them, search and join the community online.

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By alena

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European Solidarity Corps    Eastern Europe & Caucasus Resource Centre    Громадські ініціативи України