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Muuta kiinnostavaa
International pool play afternoon for men aged 65 plus and for students of Turku University of Applied Sciences
Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS) is a partner of Hasic, nine students got the chance to work for this project. Student group was multi-professional and international. There were students from nursing, teaching and social services from four different European countries.
In Winter 2015, their aims were to promote opportunities for men aged over 65 to develop healthier lifestyles through the use of preventive health care and community working methods. In order to do this it was important to explore the needs for those at risk of unhealthy lifestyles and to discover new ways to motivate them to engage with activities.
the survey route
Project of more than just health encouragement
“HASIC is a European wide project that aims to promote the adoption of healthier lifestyles for people aged 65 plus by developing the knowledge and skills required to prevent both health problems and social exclusion of the elderly, as well as giving ‘older people more healthy years and more quality in their lives.“ (Hasic, Online)

Additionally, the student group needed to explore ways to initially contact the target group, and to use practical implementation to assess the effectiveness of the areas explored. This project contributes towards HASIC’s long term aims of changing the health and participation of people aged over 65, by generating a possible working method to access one hard-to-reach target group.
advertising the events for elderly men
How to find men
So the first hurdle was to find the solitary men because most of them would rather stay at home instead of going out for organized activities. The first aim was to figure out new methods to find men. The chosen method was to go to the field and talk with elderly men and with an open questionnaire get a hint of their wishes for the suitable ways to inform them about further action.

Initially, it was discovered that elderly man in Turku meet in their already formed social groups within different kinds of cafés in the city centre, however, they do not normally interact with the other groups that are also in the same café. In one particular café there appears to be around three different groups that meet independently.

As questionnaires showed elderly men liked to get information in very informal ways. That is why leaflets were made and shared for these groups that meets regularly in the cafés at the city. Many men were interested while advertising this up-coming events.
learning new skills with the professional player
I want to learn new skill
Having found around twenty men who were willing to participate in this project, the next step was to organize a suitable event where they were able to meet and to socialise. In a previous survey, the men were asked what they would be interested in going as such an event and most of the men came back with “I want to learn a new skill, at home I just watch TV.“

It is shown that billiards is a realistic tool for supporting activity and promoting healthier lifestyles within the elderly peoples’ community. On the basis of that survey, the students then decided on a pool afternoon as this activity encouraged not only their physical activity, which means health encouragement but also were they able to learn some new skills. Moreover, this activity encouraged these groups to integrate with each other and was something that was within their possible physical capabilities.
playing together
Pool play events
The pool play event was held two times as it was important to see, if the number of the participants increased or if it would be the same men coming. If it increased, it would state a success for HASIC as the aim was to gather the men and form new groups.

The students were happy to announce that the desired success happened. Furthermore, it was also considered that if an opportunity such as this pool event was offered to them on one or two occasions, it might initiate the possibility of word- of- mouth advertising, which would enhance the popularity for such events. This would then empower more men to participate in healthier lifestyle activities.
active participant
The role of the animateur
Socio-Cultural Animation, also known as Community Animation, is the more specific idea, were the role of the animateur is to work alongside people and groups within a community in order to help them to manage it. More than this their role is to inspire members of a community to become actively engaged as a participant within their own area, and encourage them to develop the abilities they require to do this.

Luckily the working group had a few enthusiastic participants who had conducted their own research into HASIC’s background and aims. This generated interest towards the active roles in mentoring or participation later on with the project’s aims, therefore contact information was given to the working group’s contact person.
So as a result of the project these few active men were important found for Hasic-projects aims. Because according to the theories of socio-capital when forming new groups there has to then be few key people who hold the means of building up peoples’ trust and ways of encouraging participation.

Summarised these facts, the students were more than pleased with their results they had achieved. Having found elderly men with a chosen method, having given them a possibility to socialise and simultaneously participate in healthier lifestyle activities has been a satisfying experience. In hope that this project continues, everyone participating has had a valuable time and can now take many good memories home.
Marion Lutz & Anna Miettinen, students