Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
The % of elderly is increasing. The population aged over 80 is the fastest growing population in need of help in everyday life at home. The homes for elderly can accommodate only 4% of those who can not live alone. On the other hand, homes are not ideal solution for many people. More and more elderly want to continue living at home, but in order to do that, they need some kind of support. Some people in need do not even search for help. Their adult children have full time employment. The practice aims to find these old people in order to provide them assistance if they are willing to receive it and if they need it. The practice introduces introdisciplinary approach in the field of providing support for elderly. It is based on the principle of self-help among the elderly in the local community.
The problems of old people are very different. Frequently they are lonely. Very often they need transport to the doctor, shopping asistance, someone to go for a walk, ...
These are the problems our volunteers are able to deal with. On the other hand old people also have many problems our volunteers are not competent to solve (poverty, violence, illnesses, injuries, nursing care,...). In this cases the volunteers are networking with other institutions in the local community who are responsible for that (Red Cross, Karitas, Centers for social work, Home nursing, Homes for elderly, Municipalities,...).
A specific problem are old people in the cities. They are alone in the apartments, they are afraid of strangers, they are not socially included, they have a small social network. They are very inaccessible also for our volunteers.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
The practice is an important supplement to other respective programmes in the area of social care. Including a great number of volunteers, who with a lot of working hours and little costs visit elderly at their homes. Older people do not have to go anywhere and this is, taking into account their age, very benefitial. The volunteers come to the user and deal with him face to face trying to understand his needs. If the person expresses a certain need, the volunteers try to find an appropriate help with connecting public or nongovernmental organizations. Some of the needs can be covered by the volunteers themselves (support for their peers). With the programme we are also establishing a civil society monitoring of all who deal with old people.
The practice is important and significant also for the local community. We have a questionnaire for the first visit a volunteer performs and it is about the quality of life and needs of old people living at home. The visited people are asked to answer the questionnaire (if they want to). People have a free choice to participate in the programme or not. We gather the answers into a special computer program for further work and for further analysis. This computer program enables volunteers to inform the municipalities about the quality of life and the identified needs of old people living at home. According to that analysis they can plan the correct politics for old people (with questionnaire we collect personal data, data about housing, health, social status, social network, need for assistance, acceptance of assistance, assistance provided).
The main goal of the practice is to help older people towards independant life, to improve quality of life of people older than 69 in Slovenia, who live in their households.
We would like to spread the programme all over the country to include every Slovenian citizen above 69 (those who agree to participate). We would also like that the programme would be a permanent one.
The important characteristic of the practice is that it is provided by users /elderly themselves and systematically embraces all elderly in one community. It detects elderly who are overlooked by other programmes and services.
The programme is based on the large number of volunteers who are led by coordinators on the local level, who are led by regional coordinators who answer to the umbrella organization.