Overview of the project

Project leader: Telma Esperança, telmaesperanca@fis.uc.pt
Project location: Portugal

Project description:
Portugal is currently going through a deep and serious economic crisis that affects the elderly as well – their economic condition suffered a change and they are easily forgot by the society. In a country in which agriculture was once the maintaining source of the Portuguese people, the elderly are now isolated in faraway inland villages with no access to new opportunities or simply forgotten in retirement homes. There are several reports of old people found dead at home days after the happening.[1] Recent studies show that it is vital to maintain intellectual activity in order to prevent mental diseases. [2] [3]

In this project we intend to make the young and the elderly come closer by participating in activities related to astronomy. All activities are aimed at the involvement of the local youth community – schools and families of the elderly. It is planned to implement activities in the following places:

– Nursing/Retirement homes with the appropriate equipment for the target audience and the astronomy activities: Solar observation, Moon and Stars observation, clarifying doubts session, etc.
– Villages: churches, parks – depending on the specificity of the place and the characteristics of the target audience there will be organised outdoors festivals of astronomy using telescopes.
– Observatory: visit to the Telescope Dome, to the Planetarium and the Building of Museological Collection.

Through astronomy we can make people come together by participating in scientific activities, to demystify associated myths to astronomy and other phenomenon and at the same time provide unique experiences: looking through a telescope, Solar observation and visits to the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Coimbra.

[1] – Maia, Lino – Idosos deviam ser apadrinhados por jovens – in DN Portugal, http://www.dn.pt/inicio/portugal/interior.aspx?content_id=2271410
[2] – 2013 Apr;19(2 Dementia):372-81 Nonpharmacologic treatment and prevention strategies for dementia. Yaffe K, Hoang T.
[3] – J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2013 Jun 13. [Epub ahead of print]. Leisure Activity in Old Age and Risk of Dementia: A 15-Year PrProspective Study. Eriksson Sörman D, Sundström A, Rönnlund M, Adolfsson R, Nilsson

About the project leader:
Telma Esperança is a Scholarship Student of Scientific Research at the Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory of the University of Coimbra. Participated in scientific projects (Sun4All, Discover the Cosmos, among others) and science dissemination activities developed in the Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory of the University of Coimbra