Volunteer network to support expatriate seniors
The Finland Society’s expert and counseling services advice and guide Finns in various life situations, whether they are moving overseas, living abroad or returning to Finland. Advice on practical expatriate issues and solutions to problem situations are provided digitally through blogs and posts, webinars and counseling. The society’s one-to-one counseling focuses on seniors. The senior overseas advice service provides an opportunity to counsel expatriate Finns locally and also to reach out to elderly people without digital skills.
In early 2022, the Finland Society is gathering a group of enthusiastic new volunteers. During the spring, they will join the society to create a new model for overseas advice service, to support expatriate seniors. The volunteer group already includes a small number of expatriate Finns living in Europe. We hope that the new network and activities will expand to other continents as well.
Voluntary work and opportunities created by the digital leap
Many of the Finland Society’s elderly expatriate members are lonely. Either they do not have any family members left, or their relatives live in another country. Hearings arranged for expatriate seniors in May 2021 revealed that seniors wish for support from a local person in their native language especially with making a personal plan for ageing.
The Finland Society seeks to develop the aging planning concept earlier in use to a digitally accessible form. This will enable the society’s counseling experts to hold remote events on the subject matters to the volunteers around the world. And the volunteers can easily use the digital materials on their task.
As a part of the new senior advice model, the Finland Society will organize distance trainings and webinars for voluntary senior advisors. The advisors’ work will be supported with information and material as well as opportunities to share experiences and provide peer support. The goal is that the new senior overseas advice service will be properly launched by the end of this year.
The Finland Society develops its activities sustainably, which also shows in senior services. While material was previously mailed to volunteers in paper form, it is now possible to send and receive it digitally. In addition, meetings can take place as webinars, regardless of distance.
A digital material package called Varaudu vanhuuteen (Prepare for aging), created by the Finnish Association for the Welfare of Older People, provides excellent support for discussing planning for aging.
The new counseling model will be developed together with volunteers. If there are people willing to serve as social media ambassadors or organize remote meetings, the advice service can be extended to cover these activities in addition to traditional group meetings.
The Finland Society is a non-profit organization and overseas senior advisors work on voluntary basis. Voluntary work is rewarding: a senior advisor learns about the many interesting topics discussed at events arranged by the Finland Society and in the materials provided by the society. Moreover, makes one feel good.
The Finland Society’s website Seniorit maailmalla (Seniors abroad), social media channels and membership magazine Finland Bridge provide useful, up-to-date information for Finnish expatriates. However, there is still demand for personal advice and support, and the pandemic has further increased this need.
With our new service concept, we seek to improve the reach of our advice and support particularly to elderly expatriates.
If you wish to find out more about voluntary work or are interested in becoming a volunteer in senior advice services, please do not hesitate to contact us: Jenny.Orphanou@suomi-seura.fi