About the Project

Loneliness is a serious problem among elderly people in Europe. Half a million older adults in the UK alone go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all (AGE UK 2016). Chronic feelings of loneliness can bring people down into a spiral of social exclusion. Older people with a lower level of literacy are especially at risk of social exclusion as participation in current knowledge-based societies are very much based on the ability to read and write. Storytelling can help them to make sense of their lives and connect them with their social environment. We use stories constantly: to inform, to connect with others or to share our feelings. Stories are used to organise our thoughts, find meaning and purpose and establish a sense of identity in this world.

The 'Sharing Stories, Sharing Life' project is developed to train volunteers to better understand what moves older people through sharing life stories. Volunteers learn to have meaningful conversations with older people about their lives and what they consider important. By having conversations that delve deeper than today's weather, people feel more connected with each other and with themselves and their own identity. With the tools developed for this project, volunteers can help older people to share and tell their (life) story. The training contains offline and online elements that are easy to use and accessible.

‘Sharing Stories; Sharing Life’ is a project under the umbrella of Erasmus+ KA2 - Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices and KA204 - Strategic Partnerships for Adult Education. The project started September 2018 and finished August 2021.

Sharing Stories, Sharing Life project- short introduction

 Sharing Stories, Sharing Life project - pilot participants tell their story

Sharing Stories, Sharing Life project - pilot benefits existing befriending scheme

Keynote presentation of Maryse den Hollander given during the multiplier event on 20 July 2021.

Dutch with English subtitles

Dutch with German subtitles


National Foundation for the Elderly (Stichting Nationaal Ouderenfonds)

The National Foundation for the Elderly (NFE) is a charity that promotes quality of life for older persons in the Netherlands. We encourage the elderly to consciously remain socially active, stay connected with others and engage in meaningful activities. We advocate for an age-friendly society where age doesn’t matter. Our work focuses on three pillars: stimulating active aging, inspiring an age-friendly environment and combating loneliness. NFE develops projects, services and activities which encourage older people to keep active in an inclusive environment where age doesn’t matter, and  combat loneliness among older people. We do this based on three principles: working locally, working together and working as a catalyst.

CCC - Cambridgeshire County Council

Cambridgeshire County Council is the local government body for the county of Cambridgeshire, UK. Working in partnership with our public and private sector partners we have adopted a ‘Think Communities’ approach that is committed to putting people and places at the heart of everything we do. We are helping communities to build strong local support networks and community-led action so that people can feel safe, healthy, connected and able to help themselves and each other.

GERO – Kompetenzzenter fir den Alter

GERO – Competence Center for Ageing was founded on the initiative of the Luxembourg Ministry of Family Affairs and continues to work in close cooperation with them today. Events, projects and publications by GERO are addressed to older people and all those who are interested in the topic of ageing well - on a personal as well as on a professional level. Our approach is innovative, participatory, progressive, diverse and multifaceted. Our objectives advocate for an active and healthy ageing in a changing society.

LIFEtool gemeinnützige GmbH

LIFEtool is located in Linz (Upper Austria) and is a non-for-profit organisation founded by Diakoniewerk and AIT Austrian Institut of Technology.

LIFEtool wants to contribute to opening up the world of computers, something that many of us take for granted, to children, teenagers, adults and elderly people who suffer from physical and/or learning disabilities or multiple impairments. LIFEtool’s mission is to create a world where disadvantaged people can fully integrate and have equal opportunities. LIFEtool provides the following services: research & development, consultation & training, renting & selling of electronic communication systems, individually adapted input devices for the computer, alternative input devices, mouse-simulating devices, special software programs and environment control systems


Netural was founded in 1998 in Linz and has steadily grown to a team of 100 with a second office in Vienna. In twenty years, Netural has become an agency leading the Austrian market for new media. Netural achieved outstanding results in the areas of internet/intranet, multimedia, design and eMarketing with creativity and know-how. Netural provides tailored services to customers with both regional and international approach, from the outset through design to realization. It also develops unique integrated communications and community solutions. The company also accomplished numerous R&D projects, some of which funded by the FFG (Austrian Research Association). Netural has expertise in design, usability, multimedia applications, social media, augmented reality as well as virtual and mixed reality. It also contributed its expertise to numerous projects in the healthcare sector including “SafeMove” and “Rehab@Home” (both AAL program projects) “VR4Therapy” as FFG project within the framework of impact innovation as well as “New Reality” and “Journey into the Body” as regional cluster projects. In the coming years Netural will continue to develop digitisation in the healthcare sector.