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"Caretakers and listeners on site": VdK Tölzer Land celebrates anniversary - tasks more relevant than ever

2023-12-04T12:16:56.715Z

Highlights: "Caretakers and listeners on site": VdK Tölzer Land celebrates anniversary - tasks more relevant than ever. More and more young people on the fringes of society. Volunteers act as the first point of contact and contact person for members and people who are often little noticed in society. On Saturday, 9 December, a ceremony will take place in the Alpenfestsaal in Lenggries, Germany. The focus of the association is on socio-political advocacy and social law advice.



Status: 04.12.2023, 13:00 PM

By: Felicitas Bogner

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They are committed to helping the disadvantaged: Erika Goergens (left) and Ruth Kunzmann are the chairmen of the VdK Tölzer Land. More and more young people on the fringes of society © arp

The VdK Tölzer Land celebrates its 75th anniversary. According to the chairmen, the work of the social association is extremely important at the moment.

Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen – They stand by the side of the disadvantaged. Whether pensioners, socially disadvantaged people, people with disabilities or chronically ill people – the VdK is the contact point for everyone who needs help. The focus of the association is on socio-political advocacy and social law advice. This year, the VdK Tölzer Land celebrates its 75th anniversary. On Saturday, 9 December, a ceremony will take place in the Alpenfestsaal in Lenggries.

Vdk Tölzer Land has around 2040 members

The social association is divided into a national association (there are 2.2 million members throughout Germany), regional associations as well as district and local associations. The VdK Tölzer Land currently has around 2040 members in Bad Tölz, Bad Heilbrunn, Wackersberg, Reichersbeuern and Greiling. Volunteers act as the first point of contact and contact person for members and people who are often little noticed in society.

Vdk still relevant and important: Chairpersons explain areas of responsibility

Since 2021, Ruth Kunzmann (65) and Erika Goergens (75) have been chairing the Tölzer Land. Even though the VdK was founded in the post-war period (the abbreviation stands for Association of War Victims, War Survivors and Social Pensioners of Germany), its task is more topical than ever, according to Ruth Kunzmann. She explains the raison d'être of the association and the direct connection on site with an example: "It was only a few weeks ago that we were contacted late at night by an elderly lady who was faced with the question of whether or not she should have the machines that keep him artificially alive switched off for her seriously ill husband." It is so important for many members – especially when they are alone – to "have someone they can reach". Of course, Goergens emphasizes, no one can make such a difficult decision. "But she had someone to talk to about it in those difficult hours. In the end, I just advised her to do what would be good for her husband, and that was enough for her."

After severe strokes of fate, had a desire to help others

Erika Goergens herself also feels safe in the VdK's network. With great charitable commitment, she is committed to being there for people in difficult life situations. She herself has a lot of experience in mastering crisis situations and dealing with strokes of fate. "My husband and I had a devastating accident eleven years ago. He died in the process, and I was in hospitals for a long time with several life-threatening injuries," reports the Tölz woman. "I had to go through a lot of difficult experiences during this time and build a new life for myself." Five years ago, when Erika Goergens was slowly getting better, she wanted to get involved locally and be a support for other people in difficult life situations. Ruth Kunzmann, who has been a member of the VdK for six years, also lives with a disability. "Almost all of our board members have had to deal with strokes of fate themselves," she explains.

More and more young people on the margins of society

In order to secure the offer on site, a great deal of voluntary commitment is needed, the two chairmen emphasize. "Whether it's regulars' tables, excursions, our consultation hours or other assistance – we have to organise and get everything up and running ourselves." The two women consider themselves lucky to be able to hold their consultation hours in the room of the AWO's migration office in Bad Tölz. "It was hard work to find a new place." Speaking of migration: "It is an increasingly important issue that there are older people with a migration background who suffer from loneliness or disorientation in society. The VdK is also a point of contact for these people," says Ruth Kunzmann.

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Even far away from the refugee situation, the association's offer is highly topical. "Corona has increased the loneliness of older people, and since all prices have exploded so much, more and more younger people are coming to the margins of society and can no longer keep up," explains the 65-year-old. Nevertheless, the offer must be clearly distinguished from a counselling centre. Erika Goergens sums it up: Whether old or young, healthy or sick: "We are there, as caregivers and listeners on site."

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Source: merkur

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