A wonderful initiative will begin in Thessaloniki next year, as high school students will “adopt” a grandparent from their local nursing home, in an attempt to bring the young and elderly closer together.
The program also gives the elderly an opportunity to pass on their life experiences and stories to younger people, while the students, in turn, help their ‘adopted’ Pappou and Yiayia with their daily tasks, such as bringing them medication, taking them for walks and socialising with them.
The high school students from Ampelokipi will work closely with the local Elderly Day Care Center to ensure the pupils visit the elderly regularly and offer their assistance as much as possible.
The idea came from educator Maria Merehougia, who shared her thoughts with her students and after they reacted in a very positive manner, Maria proceeded to take the appropriate steps to ensure the program could take off.
Ampelokipi High School has already created a program as part of the “I Care Act”, whereby all students have an opportunity throughout the year to visit the Elderly Day Care Center and hear stories from the elderly, get advice from them and are able to share their own concerns about the future.
"This helps older people feel useful and important in children's lives and the kids become more connected and in touch with the elderly," explains Maria.
According to Maria, it also highlights the connection and important role grandparents play in their grandchildren’s life, "Many grandmothers raise their grandkids, take care of them, help them with their studies, assist them financially, and sometimes a child's relationship with their Yiayia is better than the one they have with their mother."
Maria and her students hope this will encourage more schools throughout Thessaloniki and the entire country to participate in the program and are looking at ways of promoting the great initiative to all of Greece.