Active aging in the areas affected by the 2016 earthquake: Communication and awareness

Active aging in the areas affected by the 2016 earthquake:
Communication and awareness

Marco Benedettelli

Active aging and generational solidarity in the areas affected by the 2016 earthquake: How did the Marche_active@net project come about?

We are in an area of Italy that, according to its sociological and morphological traits, is more unique than rare. There is the mountain, with its high climbs and its harshness. And the wounds of the earthquake that are still open. In addition, Covid, in this area more than anywhere else, has contributed to the fragmentation of already isolated communities, small villages where everyone knows each other, where people meet at the only bar around (very often, even now, a prefabricated among the Emergency Housing Solution S.A.E.), have dinner often together in the evening and welcome the visitors in summer. The landscape profile is indescribably beautiful.

Marche_active@net fell into this context: the Marche hinterland at the foot of the Sibillini mountains, where the 2016 earthquake occurred. An area densely populated by the elderly, and increasingly depopulated by young people who choose to try their luck elsewhere, perhaps towards the coast. "Marche_active@net - network action for active aging and generational solidarity with attention to the territories affected by the 2016 earthquake", the full name of the project, for two years has strengthened a network of collaborations between public and third sector actors, who have talked and exchanged information on the theme of "aging well" to develop better and more effective services for the elderly.

These are the territorial social divisions of the provinces of Ascoli Piceno, Fermo and Macerata, involving the seismic crater municipalities. And the CSV Marche, which stands for Center for Volunteer Service (which I represent). The path, supported by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers - Department for Family Policies, has resulted in a series of actions that have brought the elderly together, leading them to know, perhaps better, the young people of schools and their communities. And the other way around. Among the wooden Emergency Housing Solutions of the Appennine, thanks to the push of Marche_active@net there were parties and lunches, moments of mutual teaching, with the elderly passing on their experiences to young people and the boys and girls teaching their grandparents the use of whatsapp, for example, or some other new App. And then many workshops, moments of sport, and play.

Why is it important to create a communication campaign in this context?

From April 2021 to date, Marche_active@net has activated 23 projects, fielded by about twenty voluntary associations in the area, thanks to the support of two calls, which have animated the horizon of the post-earthquake hinterland with many activities. ​​All of this, as previously stated, in order to generate a new energy among people's communities, which we may call “active aging”. Or the desire that everyone can and should cultivate, to always question themselves, design, and look ahead, accompanied by the conviction: "I have the age for...!" To do everything related to "discovery"!

Recounting all this has been an exciting challenge, with which we have ventured with my colleague Monica Cerioni, Head of the CSV Marche Press Office, and Chantal Ionni,  who has followed the creation of the network action for the CSV Marche Center. As a result we decided to ally ourselves, in this operation, also to the professionals of Tonidigrigio, for the most "creative" part of the contents of the communication campaign that we had in front of us.

We all rolled up our sleeves since, as we said, the territory taken into consideration by Marche_active@net is wide and fragmented, and the target audience has its own characteristics: it ​​is not easy to intercept with the fluid communication media in which we are immersed.

The articulated strategies to achieve this have been many, based on communicative patchwork: from the Facebook post to the leaflet, passing obviously through the press releases issued on all types of newspapers and the preparation of eight television episodes with ÈTV Marche, entitled "I do not have the age", to tell about the opportunities for associations and services that the Marche offer, for active aging. And finally a video commercial circulated on TV and on social media. The messages spread on the screens, and on the leaflets hanging in the headquarters of the associations, reached people in their homes, on their phones, in the newspapers that people read in the square. And they helped to form a shared imagination on the value of vital energy that pushes us to "aging well". But the even more interesting point is that these messages have created, prompted, and accompanied actions of encounter. Exchange. Let’s say, a mutual rejuvenation. Communication in the social world has an intriguing feature: it is an open dialogue, immersed in a community, composed of messages that suggest, alludes to, and invites action for reciprocity, encounter, and active citizenship. A reminder of the importance of "getting off the couch" (although, let's be clear, the sofa remains essential) and participating in the life of our town. It is a dialogue that generates a free but incalculable good, nourished by the call of adventure, discovery and new encounters with others. Energies that always keep us young, at least on the inside.

Learn more about the Marche_active@net project at:
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