The first meeting of the Nazdravje project partners was held today. The project is co-financed under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism Programme 2009-2014 and addresses health inequalities which arise from, and increase due to the socio-economic status and the fact that the healthcare system and individuals are not adjusted to longer lifespan.
The project “Potentials of the population and the institutions in Pomurje in reducing health and social inequalities of the older population in local environments” addresses three challenges which arise from longer lifespan of Slovenia’s population:
Not being prepared for retirement or old age
Lack of integration between the sectors for older population and the older individuals themselves, lack of responsiveness or inclusion of the older population in active ageing programmes
Too much burden is put on the informal carers who are often under-qualified
In the long run all of the three abovementioned challenges result in health inequalities among the older population and between the older population and the rest of the population.
The project aims to reduce user inequalities, and specifically develop programmes to prepare people for old age, establish inter-sectoral support network to care for the older population and for their inclusion, as well as reduce inequalities in terms of the quality of home care in comparison to institutional care and thus the inequalities that exist among users.
Longer lifespan represents a real challenge for each individual and for the society as a whole. We should prepare for the additional period in life in the same manner as we would prepare for the period of education or professional life. After retirement the majority learn as they go along without having the adequate knowledge and skills which often leads to social and health inequalities among the older population, especially among those with the weakest economic status. There are no programmes in Slovenia which would prepare individuals for old age by providing simple, sensible and feasible advice. The first solution would be to develop an educational programme and to train the promoters thereof. The programme would address the need for a professional preparation to life after retirement or old age, namely understanding demographic change, health-related issues, social inclusion, old age-related major changes, property-related and legal decisions. At the level of the whole society, the programme aims to promote prolonged vocational stamina, social policies and various forms of social inclusion, maintain dignity of the older population, draw attention to the various forms of discrimination against older population, and find new forms of intergenerational solidarity. Target group: people older than 55.
The second challenge pertains to participation of the older population in active ageing programmes, and to the increasing inability of the system for equal treatment of the socially isolated and socially and economically weaker older population in rural area, whom system-oriented services do not reach. In Pomurje the economic status has a great impact on the accessibility of healthcare services and on the inclusion of the older population. The mobility of the older population is also an issue – in rural areas poor mobility results in isolation and dependence on the assistance of others. The fact that such assistance is not sustainable from a systemic point of view (it has become too big of a burden from the financial and staffing point of view) results in health inequalities leading to early institutionalisation and unnecessary impairment to health. By implementing actions targeting local partnership integration, upgrading the existing networks and training the institutions and individuals, the project will enhance the participation of the older population into active ageing programmes, reduce isolation and thus enable the older population to continue living in their own homes in a more high-quality manner and for a longer period of time. The pilot 65+ Clubs will be established at the local level which will activate and integrate local resources to carry out preventive, healthcare, social and other programmes and services for the target groups within the local environment.
The third challenge pertains to care for ill older individuals and/or older individuals with disabilities who are in the most part cared for by their relatives. Those who provide home care (layman or informal carers) do not have the necessary training and knowledge to provide appropriate care. Family-related issues are often the reason for placing individuals in need of care to nursing homes or hospital institutions. In their homes they have poorer access to healthcare services as their homes do not enable proper healthcare or social care and rehabilitation. A pilot model of healthcare and social care will be developed to address the above-described issue. The model will enable the individuals in need of care to remain in their homes for a longer period, and will improve the quality and offer of care, healthcare and social services in the field of home care for the older population. We will thus train and support informal and formal carers from various sectors and thus reduce the differences relating to the quality of care and healthcare supervision of the older population staying in their homes and of the older population in institutional care. In order to enhance rehabilitation at home a pilot mobile multidisciplinary rehabilitation team will be established; we will also test the mobile rehabilitation home service.
The Centre for Health and Development Murska Sobota acts as the lead partner. Project partners are:
– Emonicum Institute, institute for active and healthy ageing, Ljubljana
– Slovene Federation of Pensioners’ Associations (ZDUS), Ljubljana
– Institute for sustainable development of local communities, Ljutomer
– municipality of Razkrižje
– DOSOR, home for the elderly, d.o.o. Radenci
– KUN equal opportunities centre from Norway