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Duplo Program

ancianos y chico leyendo
Anciano detalle

Duplo Program- Fundación Gregal

Mutual learning and shared benefits. That is the objective of this program that intends to reduce the isolation of the elderly. To do so, a group of young people gets into contact with this reality and receive training and practice their communication and social skills.

  • 25 students from the UC3M already collaborate on the Program

During the academic year 2017/18, the Duplo Program was started at the UC3M with Bachelor’s students and care homes in the areas of Getafe and Leganés. The call to participate in the program was well received. 140 student applications were received, from which 25 were selected, based on their academic records, income levels and skills for integrating into the project (communication, being proactive, sociability...).

In September 2017, the chosen students received training run by doctors, geriatricians and rehabilitation workers from the Móstoles Hospital. They approached old age from a theoretical perspective, but also received practical training in functional and cognitive stimulation and how to work with the moods of the elderly.

Starting in the month of October, the 25 students from the UC3M began to visit the care homes to spend time with the eldest residents. Some of the activities they conducted with them were: walks, reading, board games, chatting about how life used to be and how it is now, memory exercises, handicrafts...

This intergenerational collaboration has not delayed in obtaining satisfactory results for both parties. The elderly people waited expectantly for the arrival of the students and the students themselves had established bonds with the elderly people that transcend everyday life. On asking them what it meant for them, they all replied that it provided them with enrichment and values. Nerea Larringa, student of Law and Political Science said that participating in Duplo has improved her social relations.


Enriching experiences

Iván López is in his third year of Film, Television and Media Studies on Getafe. He speaks with a strong Murcian accent. One of the activities he carries out with the group of elderly people is exercising their arms, legs, hips, shoulders... A session to improve psychomotricity. Rhythmically raising and lowering an elastic ribbon with their hands, stretching. Afterwards he invites them to move their legs, followed by the hips. His comments accompany the movements, without a doubt there is chemistry between this student and the group made up of ten people, men and women of ages comprised between 75 and 94 that live in the care home in Getafe.

Iván, María, Nerea and Daniel are some of the students from the UC3M that participate in the accompaniment program for the elderly in care homes in the Community of Madrid. There are 25 young people in total from different degrees, chosen by the Fundación Gregal to form part of the Duplo Program. The objective of this program is to promote intergenerational relations and reduce the isolation of elderly people living in care homes. Duplo not only aims to improve the quality of life of the elderly, but also create values in young people who gain an important experience and have their social and communication skills awoken. The learning is mutual, just like the benefits. 

María Sánchez studies a Dual Bachelor in Law and Business Administration. The academic workload that her 5th year studies on the Getafe Campus bring doesn’t stop her from participating in this intergenerational program. Her strong Cádiz accent and energetic voice transmit a contagious vitality. María sits in the middle of a circle of elderly people, mainly attentive women, some of which have arrived with a walking frame and have sat down with difficulty. A man supporting himself with a walking stick watches the girl with interest. When María tells them that they are going to read poetry, the majority appear enthusiastic. They start with Alberti, a poem that she reads with feeling, and then they read Octavio Paz. Finally, María moves on to Lorca. This time, they all fall silent and listen to the voice of the poet in that of María. The chosen poem is “At Five in the Afternoon”. After the poem, the group lights up, begins to talks, exchange experiences, they remember fragments; they talk of bull fighters, of squares, of front row seats, sun, shade. Some remember, others listen and there, in that diverse group, emerges an explosion of words, of dynamic exchanges. There are no ages, only experiences, from one side and the other, without boundaries of gender, age, studies... just people that talk and listen. People that help. 

Detalle manos libro

A story of life to seal friendships

One of the projects that the students carry out is to write a biography of an assigned resident. This allows them the best way of talking and recalling fragments of their life: what their childhood was like, their youth, their work, what society was like and how they watched it grow, what their education was like. The conversations set up a bond between the elderly and young people, allowing them to exchange opinions and above all help them not to forget. The students copy these biographies and conduct a life story. Each student chooses a different format with which they feel comfortable: this can be an exercise book with a book format, a report, a video, a work of art, a painting. 

For more information: Fundación Gregal