Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
We are daily confronted with the phenomenon of aging in our society. Topics such as the low pensions of the old people, the conditions in which they live, loneliness and isolation, and multi-pathology underlying need for polypharmacy and assistance in performing the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are matters addressed regularly in the media.
Repeatedly, the media focus on the more negative side of aging and lead us to create a derogatory and stereotypical image of the old age; therefore, being old is associated with someone dependent, incapable, ill or useless. These images influence a greater or lesser concern in preparing a positive aging, which is associated with the adaptability of a person and their ability to maintain independence and/or promote their potential rehabilitation.
Currently, social and health services are created, precisely, in order to respond to the "problems" of the old people. Being a senior citizen is considered as a synonymous of having problems and need help from another person. This approach tends to be focused on pathology and neglects aging as a stage of individual development, disregarding old people potential, life stories, skills, resources and abilities. In instance, these images cause a negative effect, with repercussions in the well-being and sense of competence of the old people, leading to dissatisfaction, reduced self-esteem, social inactivity, and limited opportunities (in which the person could show competence and resources). In this sense, old people tend to adopt a behavior that meets the negative expectations that are upon them. In terms of integration, this attitude translates into exclusion, but also in social self-exclusion. Create a new image of old people by considering their potential, skills and abilities is, therefore, a paramount issue.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
LOCALCare mission is to provide support services for old people and their families adopting a developmental and positive approach. It is proposed to empower old people (particularly over 50 years old) so that they feel fulfilled in the various spheres of life (personal, familiar, social, professional, spiritual). Through a process of personalized support, we intend to help old people to recognize the potential and richness of their life stories, fostering self-awareness and encourage them to set goals and strategies for the future. Our services are designed in order to strengthening people, fostering their social participation and promoting their social relationships through: (i) personal developmental plans (making use of coaching techniques); (ii) thematic workshops regarding active aging (e.g., nutrition, physical activity, volunteerism, finances management, spirituality); (iii) family activities (proposed by old people, and performed with our help, such as a family reunions); communitarian parliaments (where people from different generations can discuss political and social relevant issues that affect their daily lives); and meaningful occupation (e.g., functional and cognitive stimulation).
This project has relevant implications: it will empower old people and, by promoting their self-esteem, social participation and personal fulfillment, it will help to promote a positive and active aging; furthermore, it will help to break down the myths and stereotypes regarding old people, and promote family relationships and an intergenerational approach.