This year, TDK Electronics and TDK Europe will present its EUR 25,000 Christmas donation to the Munich-based "LichtBlick" ("Ray of Hope") senior citizens' aid organization. LichtBlick provides financial assistance to elderly people and arranges events to ease the dual pressures of poverty and loneliness. The aim is to help ensure that, even in old age, people are still treated with respect and continue to live a dignified life.
A life of hard work followed by a pension that does not even cover the basic essentials? LichtBlick reckons that more than three million people in Germany are affected by old-age poverty. "Many years ago, there was an old lady in my neighborhood who had the same worn-out shoes on every day, in summer and in winter. One day I realized that they were the only ones she had," says Lydia Staltner. To help people like this woman, the trained marketing assistant set up the LichtBlick organization she now chairs in 2003."
The association is funded solely from donations, of which it received more than three million euros (in small amounts) in 2018. It has so far been able to support around 40,000 senior citizens. Staff use a questionnaire and accompanying documentation to assess their needs: "We provide aid quickly and unbureaucratically," Staltner says. Aid takes the form of vouchers for food, clothing or furniture, with small amounts also set aside for pharmacy prescriptions. "That lets senior citizens choose what they need for themselves," Staltner adds. "It also helps them get out and meet people."
Meeting people, having an active social life: That is the association's second major focus. To help senior citizens escape the rut of loneliness, the staff organize events such as visits to the theater, cinema and museums, games afternoons and trips out to Bavaria's picturesque Lake Tegernsee. "Some were depressed and never left the house anymore before they came to us," Staltner notes. But the club gives many older people human contact – and the chance to enjoy life again. Three men struck up a friendship in this way and now meet regularly to play cards. There is even a love story: One couple, both aged over 80, met at the club and fell for each other.
"If we can bring a little joy to older people, that adds to the joy we experience as a team," Staltner explains. She still often thinks back to the old lady with the worn-out shoes.