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Essential needs of educators to support seniors

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Abstract

Active ageing means helping people stay in charge of their own lives for as long as possible. Because keeping minds active is equally important as keeping bodies physically active, there is an urgent need for an educational, cultural and social context.
Supporting Elderly Needs Is Our Responsibility
Cooperation for innovation and exchange of good practices
Strategic Partnerships for adult education
2020-1-RO01-KA204-080320
“SENIOR”
D6 Need analysis
Revision: v.1.1
Intellectual output
IO1 - Essential needs of educators to support seniors
Activity
Research
Project coordinator
TEAM4Excellence, Romania
Deliverable lead
INBIE, Poland
Due date
30 April 2021
Authors
Nicoleta ACOMI, Luis OCHOA SIGUENCIA, Manuel CARABIAS, Any Mary
Elisabeta DRAGAN, Fabiola PORCELLI, Renata OCHOA-DADERSKA, Daniel
DRAGAN, Savino RICCHIUTO, Damiana SUDANO, Bogdan CHIRIS, Laura
AMORUSO, Agata CHMIELARZ, Jonas MARTIN VEGA, Ovidiu ACOMI
Abstract
Active ageing means helping people stay in charge of their own lives for
as long as possible. Because keeping minds active is equally as important
as keeping bodies physically active, there is an urgent need for an
educational, cultural and social context.
According to the Active Ageing Index Analytical Report (UNECE, 2019)
the involvement of older persons (age 55-74) in education varies among
the 28 EU countries from 0.2% to 19.3%.
A consortium formed by five non-governmental organisations
conducted primary research national country analyses and interviews to
understand the causes of the reduced level of commitment of seniors to
participate in activities for education, inclusion and exchanges of
experiences.
The results revealed that there is a lack of enabling environments to
foster active ageing and lifelong learning. In addition, only a few
initiatives at the national and European levels address the professions of
educators and staff working with the elderly.
The report summarises the educational needs of educators and staff
working with seniors, along with good practices identified. These may be
adapted and implemented by relevant social workers in communities.
Based on the data collected, the research team concluded upon an
innovative course framework to improve the skills of the educators and
staff working with seniors.
Keywords
Active ageing; lifelong learning; elderly; seniors; educational context
Acknowledgement
This paper has received funding from the European Commission under the Grant Agreement number
2020-1-RO01-KA204-080320, ERASMUS+ Strategic Partnership project Supporting Elderly Needs Is Our
Responsibility”.
Disclaimer
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an
endorsement of the content which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be
held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Copyright notice
© 2020 - 2022 SENIOR Consortium
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Summary
Active ageing means helping people stay in charge of their own lives for as long as possible. Because
keeping minds active is equally as important as keeping bodies physically active, there is an urgent need
for an educational, cultural and social context. From this perspective, the report addresses the educational
needs of educators and staff working with the elderly.
The study is part of the Erasmus+ project “SENIOR - Supporting Elderly Needs Is Our Responsibility”,
implemented by a consortium of five partners from Italy, Romania, Spain and Poland, aiming at increasing
the level of commitment of seniors to participate in activities of education and exchanges of experiences.
Educators and adult education institutions play an important role in the development of an enabling
environment for an active ageing society. In this context, the report addresses several aspects of
education, from the needs of educators that work with seniors to the methods of keeping the seniors
engaged in activities. The report is structured in three main sections.
The research methodology section summarizes the research methods applied to identify the needs of
educators, the categories of respondents, the approach to interviews and the limitations of the study.
The national reports set forth a range of country-specific aspects, with references to political frameworks,
educational opportunities and potential barriers to active ageing. Drawing from desk research and
individual interviews, the report summarises the challenges around active ageing and education with and
for seniors, along with areas of improvement suggested by interview respondents. Each interview was
guided to foster an understanding of what working with seniors implies and what the educators teaching
seniors need to consider. Questions lead to recommendations concerning the cooperation between
different actors for an active ageing society.
The European synthesis chapter generates the basis for creating an innovative educational context for
educators of seniors. It offers organizations working with seniors the possibility to improve their processes
with methods developed at the European level. An array of educational instruments and initiatives are
presented to underline the potential of transferring models and good practices across local communities.
Currently, there are efforts at the national and EU levels to improve active ageing. The analysis reveals
that harmonization of the educational programs for educators and staff working with seniors at the
European level can foster an active ageing society. In addition, developing moderns and effective
cooperation models that enable networking is expected to improve the continuous professional
development of staff by sharing and exchanging pedagogical models validated across Europe.
Based on the data collected, the research team concluded upon an innovative course framework to
improve the skills of the educators and staff working with seniors.
https://trainingclub.eu/senior/
Contents
Summary ....................................................................................................................................................... 1
Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 1
Background of the study ........................................................................................................................... 1
Objectives of the study ............................................................................................................................. 2
Chapter 1. Research methodology ............................................................................................................... 3
Aim of the research ................................................................................................................................... 3
Research methods .................................................................................................................................... 3
Report structure ........................................................................................................................................ 4
Research boundaries and limitations ....................................................................................................... 5
Desk research ............................................................................................................................................ 5
Desk research areas .............................................................................................................................. 5
Data sources and keywords .................................................................................................................. 6
Interview guidelines for needs analysis .................................................................................................... 8
Categories of respondents .................................................................................................................... 8
Interview confidentiality and anonymity .............................................................................................. 9
Contacting the potential interviewees ................................................................................................. 9
Interview consent and scheduling ........................................................................................................ 9
Interview sample size .......................................................................................................................... 10
Interview questions ............................................................................................................................ 10
Data analysis ....................................................................................................................................... 11
Chapter 2. National needs analyses ............................................................................................................ 12
National needs analyses. Country report Spain ...................................................................................... 12
Desk research results .......................................................................................................................... 12
Interviews and results ......................................................................................................................... 17
National needs analyses. Country report Italy........................................................................................ 19
Desk research results .......................................................................................................................... 19
Interviews and results ......................................................................................................................... 25
National needs analyses. Country report Poland ................................................................................... 27
Desk research results .......................................................................................................................... 27
Interviews and results ......................................................................................................................... 31
National needs analyses. Country report Romania ................................................................................ 33
Desk research results .......................................................................................................................... 33
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Interviews and results ......................................................................................................................... 38
Chapter 3. European synthesis report on needs analysis ........................................................................... 40
Political framework ................................................................................................................................. 40
Provisions for elderly .............................................................................................................................. 41
Provisions for elderly educators ............................................................................................................. 42
Initiatives to support learning and active ageing of elderly ................................................................... 44
Potential barriers .................................................................................................................................... 47
European and international initiatives ................................................................................................... 47
European Networks ................................................................................................................................ 50
Conclusions of the research ........................................................................................................................ 51
Recommendations for the design of the training course modules ............................................................ 52
Transferability ............................................................................................................................................. 53
About the authors ....................................................................................................................................... 54
About the partner organisations ................................................................................................................ 56
References .................................................................................................................................................. 58
Appendix 1 Research interview template ................................................................................................... 64
Appendix 2 Research interviews in Spain ................................................................................................... 65
Appendix 3 Research interviews in Italy ..................................................................................................... 70
Appendix 4 Research interviews in Poland ................................................................................................. 75
Appendix 5 Research interviews in Romania .............................................................................................. 84
https://trainingclub.eu/senior/
1
Supporting Elderly Needs Is Our Responsibility
Essential needs of educators to support seniors
DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4739253
Introduction
Education and lifelong learning are essential for all people, no matter the age, background or social
statute. As set out in the Sustainable Development Goal no. 4, efforts shall be directed to Ensure an
Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Promote Lifelong Learning Opportunities for All. In this
regard, the slogan “You are never too old to learn new things” worth being recalled. Even at 65+.
Adult learning courses help to keep the brain healthy as seniors are continuing to challenge it. The more
the brain works in old age, the higher its defences are against the onset of dementia.
Apparently, there are plenty of adult learning courses and plenty of advantages to signing in. Even so,
according to the Active Ageing Report (UNECE, 2019) the involvement of older persons (aged 55-74) in
education, varies among the 28 EU countries from 0.2% to 19.3% in Denmark. The lowest level was for
Romania, where only 0.2% of the respondents received education within the latest 4 weeks preceding the
survey. Low percentages were accounted for in all other consortium countries: Poland (0.8%), Spain (3.1%)
and Italy (3.8%).
In this context, the project consortium assembled by five non-governmental organisations conducted
primary research national country analyses and interviews to understand the causes of the reduced level
of commitment of seniors to participate in activities for education, inclusion and exchanges of
experiences.
Background of the study
Europe is getting older and socially isolated. To make it more age-friendly and better adapted to the
seniors' needs, there is an urgent need for intergenerational cooperation. This report encompasses the
essential needs of educators and staff working with seniors, and the enabling environments that foster
intergenerational activities. To provide an overview of the needs of educators, five NGOs collaborated
with 10 associated partners and summarized the outputs in this report.
Analysing the common challenges that adult educators face, as well as the needs of seniors in Italy, Poland,
Romania and Spain the consortium noticed not only internal capabilities of organizations must be
improved for addressing the newly identified challenges, but also the fact that the needs are not
adequately defined. This category of educators needs to consider various problems resulted from health
or mental problems, even psychological and low self-esteem. This is the main reason for carrying out this
research, where these needs and challenges to be thoroughly investigated.
By this approach, the research team creates the premises that the following course modules and practical
scenarios planned to be developed for educators of seniors are fit for purpose.
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Supporting Elderly Needs Is Our Responsibility
Essential needs of educators to support seniors
DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4739253
Objectives of the study
This study investigates the needs and challenges of educators and staff working with seniors in four
European countries. To allow for the integration of models and practices implemented at the EU level, the
study addresses the European policies and strategies for ageing well.
The objectives of the study are:
To determine the educational context for staff working with seniors
To provide an understanding of challenges encountered by those who work daily with the elderly
and today’s problems
To identify the needs and requirements of caregivers/educators
To highlight the potential barriers with regards to seniors involvement in social activities
To strengthen cooperation between organizations working with seniors for further exchange of
good practices
To determine the areas of improvement in the field of continuous preparation and motivation of
caregivers for the elderly
To stress the importance of cooperation between state agencies, community and seniors for the
creation of an enabling environment for active ageing.
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Supporting Elderly Needs Is Our Responsibility
Essential needs of educators to support seniors
DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4739253
Chapter 1. Research methodology
The research methodology summarizes the aim and objectives of the study, the research methods applied
for the identification of needs of educators, the deliverables envisaged, the limitations of the research
and the approaches to desk research and interviews.
Aim of the research
“Europe is getting old” (EC, Demographic Aging Report, 2018). In 1950, just 12% of the European
population was over 65 years old. By 2050, we expect more than 36%.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic affected these statistics. More than ever, it is our stringent
responsibility to value our seniors and create an enabling environment for them to learn and to express
themselves. It is urgent to take them out of this picture, where the human rights were limited and the
seniors’ rights were limited even more than for other categories.
The needs of educators are widely addressed and several courses are available on the internet. The topic
of our project is special, addressing the needs of those educators and workers that support the elderly.
Analysing the common challenges that adult educators and staff working with seniors face, as well as the
needs of seniors in own countries our consortium noticed not only that our internal capabilities must be
improved for addressing the newly identified challenges, but also the fact that the needs are not
adequately defined. This category of educators needs to consider various problems resulted from health
or mental problems, even psychological and low self-esteem. This is the main reason for carrying out this
research, where these needs and challenges to be thoroughly investigated. This way, we ensure that the
course modules and scenarios created in the SENIOR project are fit for purpose.
Research methods
The ASSURE model is being employed as an overarching approach to the development of the “Essential
needs of educators to support seniors” study.
ASSURE is a very successful tool to plan effective educational content. ASSURE is an instructional design
model that has the goal of producing fruitful teaching and learning. We adapted the model to guide us
through the process of elaborating the current study. ASSURE is an acronym that stands for the various
steps in the model. The following is a breakdown of each step:
Analyse target group (learners) needs
State the objectives of the research
Select the research methods for desk research and interviews
Utilize media and materials for elaborating the report
Require target group (learners) participation
Evaluate (peer review with partners) and revise the final version before transferring to target groups
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Supporting Elderly Needs Is Our Responsibility
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The research deals with all the above-mentioned activities, most efforts being focused on collecting
primary and secondary data, analysing these and elaborating the report.
To provide a complete and consistent report, a three steps research approach has been applied:
1. Data collection from international and national aggregated sources
The collection of data envisages carrying out a preliminary literature review as a secondary research
method to inform the interview questions. The literature review addressed political framework,
provisions for the elderly, provisions for elderly educators, initiatives to support learning and active ageing
of elderly and potential barriers, as available from national and international reports, research studies,
Eurostat data, as well as national and international laws and regulations. Based on these data, the
questions being answered by educators/ facilitators/ social workers/ volunteers working with the elderly
within the next step were formulated.
2. Data collection from national sources
The interviews (as primary research method) are followed by further secondary research at the national
and European levels. This iterative process is designed to provide data of sufficient quantity and quality
data to enable course designers to create meaningful course materials later during the SENIOR project.
The desk research and interview activities are expanded upon later in the next sections of this chapter.
3. Compiling a complete and consistent study
Based on the data collected in steps 1 and 2, the analysis has been completed applying the below
methods:
Highlight the key points resulting from the analysis of the data collected
Categorize the results to meet the objectives of the study
Structure the results of the analysis and formulate conclusions and recommendations
Report structure
The report comprises chapters, which are simply the results of the project or the processes in the project.
That means a chapter can be something as big as the objective of the project itself or as small as a report
chapter or data set.
The research team of the SENIOR project structured these chapters to meet the workflow requirements
of course designers. Hence, the main sections are:
Research methodology for desk research and interviews
National needs analyses: Italy, Poland, Spain and Romania
European synthesis report on essential needs of educators
Conclusions
Recommendations
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Source: Authors
The above structure of content enables us (and any other designer of courses for the elderly) to use
Chapter no.1 as guidance for interviews which lead to the interview results included in Chapter no.2. The
latter feeds into the national needs analyses Chapter no.3. Finally, Chapter no.4 wraps the whole
research effort together in a complete document of reference for educators/ facilitators/ social workers/
volunteers working with the elderly.
Research boundaries and limitations
The current study is thought to explore the needs of educators to support the elderly at its early stages,
then to explain why and how these needs should be addressed, in an explanatory approach. For this
purpose, the research does not carry any statistical significance. Moreover, while an overview at the
European level is provided, the study collects data mainly from four EU countries, namely Spain, Italy,
Poland and Romania.
Desk research
The literature review sought to explore mainly documentary data from various sources, thus building on
the initial secondary research carried out during drafting the SENIOR project proposal, when the main
directions of research were formulated.
Recognising the limitations and disadvantages of the secondary research (Saunders & Lewis, 2009), the
secondary research is integrated into the research design together with the primary research, thus
overcoming the possibility of the previously collected secondary data being inappropriate for the current
research purpose (Denscombe, 2007).
Desk research areas
The following areas were investigated using the 5WH (What, Who, Why, When, How, Where) technique
to guide desk research:
Essential needs of
educators to
support seniors
National needs
analyses
Documentation of
interview results
Interview
guidelines for
needs analysis
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Supporting Elderly Needs Is Our Responsibility
Essential needs of educators to support seniors
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Data sources and keywords
While primary data can be collected through questionnaires, depth interview, focus group interviews,
case studies, experimentation and observation, the secondary data can be obtained through internal
sources (within the organization) and external sources (outside the organization). For the SENIOR desk
research, a limited amount of data was available inside partner organisations. Therefore, external sources
were investigated to provide answers to the themes previously set out. The collection of external data is
Laws, public services, state agencies, national programmes
Political framework
Relevant laws for elderly and elderly educators
Structure of the relevant public services and state agencies
National programmes. State efforts to support elderly education and active ageing. Examples:
oSubsidising social workers who support elderly
oSubsidising facilities for elderly (housing, medical care and activities)
oHoliday and health/wellness tourism
Demographics, retirement age, housing options
Provisions for elderly
Demographics
Retirement age
Housing options and elderly distribution in these; housing by age distribution:
oAgeing in place (staying in own home)
oIndependent living (housing arrangement designed exclusively for older adults apartments, freestanding houses)
oAssisted living facilities (residential option for seniors who want or need help with some of the activities of daily living)
oNursing homes (providing medical are + custodial care, including getting in and out of bed and providing assistance with feeding,
bathing, and dressing)
Who are those working with elderly people
Provisions for elderly
educators
Educators, facilitators, volunteers and paid staff
Where they work
What they do
Payment levels
Formal, non-formal, informal education opportunities for educators
Volunteering opportunities to support elderly
Career opportunities
Challenges
Networks, websites, projects, good practices, community activities
Initiatives to support learning
and active ageing of elderly
National, regional, local networks
Elderly support websites (in own countries)
Small scale projects (EU, Erasmus, privately financed) implemented
Good practices in terms of elderly learning
Community activities for and with seniors (empower + value), e.g.:
oBook club,
oElderly Club
oSchool programmes (e.g. Tea with a grandparent)
oActivities in parks
ovolunteering opportunities for elderly (volunteer at old age), etc.
Focus on barriers that SENIOR project can help solving
Potential barriers
Depending on your findings in the national context
May be: lack of educators/personnel, lack of supportive laws and financing, lack of good practice examples, problems not known,
misconceptions, lack of intergenerational activities.
With focus on barriers that SENIOR project can help solving through direct intervention or lobby.
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Supporting Elderly Needs Is Our Responsibility
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more difficult because the data have much greater variety and the sources are much more numerous. To
cope with that, the project researchers identified a range of most relevant sources for this research, with
a focus on publications not older than ten years:
Publications from the European Commission
National policy frameworks and guidelines
European and national reports
Annual reports and other census data
Databases (including peer-reviewed scholar literature)
Relevant textbooks
European projects
Professional social networks
Global and local newspaper
Adult organisations websites
Other relevant literature produced by civil society organizations/grey literature.
These sources may be accessed using search engines such as Google, Google Scholar and any academic or
training databases partners have access to. The reason for including such a wide selection of sources is to
ensure that there is sufficient coverage of a complex topic that is differently understood across various
stakeholders and countries.
To guide researchers during the desk research, the following keywords are suggested to be used, in English
and partners’ languages:
Seniors, elderly
Public policies for elderly/seniors
State agencies for elderly/seniors
Public services for elderly/seniors
National programmes for elderly/seniors
Seniors retirement
Educators, facilitators, volunteers and paid staff working with elderly
Elderly/seniors support
Education for elderly caregivers
Elderly support networks
Elderly support organisations
Activities for elderly/seniors
Active ageing
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Interview guidelines for needs analysis
The interviews in this study seek to address a simple, yet fundamental question: what are the needs of
educators in their endeavour to support the elderly? The main purpose is to offer insight into different
opinions, beliefs, attitudes and experiences of interview participants by conducting an interactive
dialogue (Mason, 2002).
The overall rationale of the interviewing method is to provide rich and detailed answers on the research
topic. Moreover, during interviews, new issues and new ideas may emerge that could further facilitate
the analysis of any topic in question. To help these new issues and ideas to emerge, interviews in
qualitative research tend to be less structured. This flexibility yields, in turn, wider aspects on the topics
in question as well as unexpected themes that can, however, be as important as the initial researcher’s
concerns.
Each project partner is expected to undertake the following actions in the context of the interviews (Collis
& Hussey, 2014):
1. Translation of the interview questions
2. Conducting of Interviews
3. Producing partial transcripts of interviews
4. Coding data for confidentiality and anonymity
5. Analysing data towards meeting the research aim
6. Conceiving the interview results report, including the interpretation of data and comparison of findings with
existing literature
The above interview process was designed to allow for generalisability and transferability of the research
in the area of essential needs of educators to support seniors. Everyone can benefit from this study, free
of charge. This is one of the key features of Erasmus+ strategic partnership featuring innovation.
Categories of respondents
The current research seeks to identify the essential needs of educators to support seniors. But who are
these educators which support the elderly?
Our preliminary literature review shows that the lifelong learning of seniors does not and must not take
place in schools or alike class settings. Instead, it takes place in the everyday life of senior citizens. That is,
one shall not seek to bring the elderly into class, but shall create learning contexts and opportunities at
places and institutions in the community which represent the living environment of the elderly. In this
context, the educators are not just professional trainers, but people active in a wide range of disciplines,
roles and institutions. Although the list below is not exhaustive, these people may be:
Educators/Trainers
Institutionalised caregivers
Home caregivers
Elderly parent caregiver
Healthcare employee (doctors, nurses, etc.)
Psychologists/counsellor
Rehabilitation Counsellor
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Supporting Elderly Needs Is Our Responsibility
Essential needs of educators to support seniors
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Speech Therapist
Occupational Therapist
Social workers
Physical Therapist
Volunteers
Local/regional agency employees
Policy makers
Each partner is to select five interviewees. These may be members of the partner organisations, delegates
from associate partners or other organisations. In selecting the interview participants, project partners
shall consider gender equality, equal opportunities and relevance in terms of knowledge, experience, skills
and line of work.
Interview confidentiality and anonymity
Confidentiality and anonymity: upon request, the name of the interviewee will be anonymized and coded
with initials.
The interview process is designed to overcome concerns from interviewees regarding the anonymity and
confidentiality of data. In this regard, interviewers shall seek permission from participants for video/audio
recording before carrying out the interview. If permission is not given, then interview data are collected
by note-taking.
In addition, the interview contextual data are stored separately from the interview transcripts. The two
sets of data were linked together by using a code system. While the contextual data will be available only
to the partner organisation which conducted the interview, the transcripts in English will be available to
the entire consortium, which will use these for the research report. The names of the interviewers will be
publicly available.
Contacting the potential interviewees
A pool of suitable interviewees is considered upon delivery of the interview methodology with questions.
The potential interviewees are initially contacted directly or via email or phone. Following their
preliminary expression of interest, the interviewees are provided with the interview sheets (Appendix 1)
in electronic form. Along with interview questions, the interview sheet includes basic information
regarding the project and the research study.
Interview consent and scheduling
Upon completion of the contacting process, the interviewers require the interviewees’ confirmation for
participation and agreement with the associated arrangements. The interviews are then scheduled at the
earliest convenient opportunity.
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Supporting Elderly Needs Is Our Responsibility
Essential needs of educators to support seniors
DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4739253
Interview sample size
The numbers of interviews were already established during the planning phase of the SENIOR project. The
interviews were divided among the project partners, who carried out interviews in national contexts.
The interviews are sought to complement each other, rather than overlap. Because of that, these
interviews are considered sufficient for providing sufficient quality and quantity of primary data.
Interview questions
The nature of the research requires rather non-standardised interviews (Healey, 1991). However,
(Robson, 2002) recommends participant discussions rather than informant interview, because
explanatory interviews are best direct (Center for Human Resource Development, 2021)ed by the
interviewer.
For that reason, the research methodology envisages semi-structured interviews, with a key set of themes
and a range of guiding questions relevant to those themes being formulated.
The main interview themes draw from the preliminary literature review and include:
Background of interviewees and their organisations
Societal misconceptions about elderly
Activities with good results in practice
Training opportunities for people working with seniors
Character traits of people working with elderly
Useful skills of people working with seniors
Challenges in the line of work related to senior citizens
Community support in existence and potential
The themes for the semi-structured interviews aim at allowing for asking both descriptive and explanatory
questions during the interview. Based on the chosen themes, a set of nine complex and open-ended
questions were designed, with explanations and examples to guide each interviewee:
1. Introduce yourself and your organisation. How long have you been working with the elderly? What is your
role and what kind of activities do you do with seniors (e.g. education, training, caregiving, healthcare,
counselling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work, volunteering, public service, policy making,
etc.)? Your organisation: name, field of action, country, region.
2. In your experience, what do you think is the most common misconception about the elderly? (e.g. related
to mental health, look, functional ability, role in society, etc.)
3. What is the most positive experience that you had while dealing with senior citizens (e.g. an activity/ real
fife moment which was rich, enjoyable, motivating, rewarding, meaningful, value-adding for you and/or for
seniors, etc.)? What activities do you recommend to engage the elderly to remain active in society?
4. What kind of relevant training have you received over the last 3 years, to help you in your work? If so, what
kind (e.g. face-to-face, online, conferences, seminars, shadowing, written or video materials, etc.)? What
kind of training would be helpful to you (e.g. what topics and delivery method)?
5. What do you think are some of the most valuable character traits for professionals who work with elderly
individuals?
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Supporting Elderly Needs Is Our Responsibility
Essential needs of educators to support seniors
DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4739253
6. In your opinion, what are the most important skills which help the overall relationship and experience of
working with the elderly (can be skills related to knowing, understanding, working with, health, lifestyle,
participation, activities, etc.)?
7. What are the difficulties encountered while working with the elderly? What is the biggest challenge (e.g.
related to your role, the elderly and/or the immediate environment)?
8. How can the community help you more in your work? How can it help the elderly? What opportunities for
social activities could be (e.g. outdoor, indoor, online, intergenerational activities, games, mentoring, etc)?
9. Do you have anything else to add?
The interviews carried out using the above question-based framework may last for 20-30 minutes, with
some degree of flexibility. The expectation is that the above questions could clarify the essential needs of
educators and those working with seniors in their line of work. Course modules and activities will be
designed later during the project, to meet those needs.
Data analysis
The transcription of the interviews is a process that requires a lot of time and effort. A good tip is the act
of taking notes during the interviews (Patton, 2002). This can facilitate the formulation of an axis upon
which the major themes. Although time-consuming, the partial transcription of interviews ensures the
quality and authenticity of data. Although the use of computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software
could speed up the processes of coding, grouping and comparing, it is preferred to conduct the analysis
manually, since in that way the analysis of data will be a continuous process and in constant relationship
with the data collection.
The data collected during interviews are intended for being furnished in the results section. To confer
focus in relation to the research aim, the results are laid out to five critical areas, previously set out in the
project plan:
Knowing seniors
Understanding seniors
Working with seniors
Empowering seniors
Valuing seniors
The key research outcomes emerge by taking into consideration their high frequency and importance
underlined by the interviewees. The use of any quotations by the interviewees is classified accordingly to
maintain the anonymity of the participants.
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Supporting Elderly Needs Is Our Responsibility
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Chapter 2. National needs analyses
Partners in Spain, Poland, Italy and Romania carried out desk research and interviews aiming to collect
knowledge on learning and active citizenship of old people from studies, political discourse and practical
experiences in their countries.
National needs analyses. Country report Spain
The national needs analysis from Spain summarizes the results of desk research and interviews together
with suggestions from respondents.
Research team: Manuel Carabias, Damiana Sudano, Jonas Martin Vega
Desk research results
Spain is one of the European countries with the most significant societal changes in the 21st century
contributing to an ageing population, in particular, high life expectancy coupled with low fertility, which
will result in a doubling of the old-age dependency ratio. Demographic ageing implies important
challenges that affect the lives of people, families, the economy, public finances, and the reorganization
of the health and social systems.
Political framework
As Spain is divided into autonomous communities, each community has their law regarding the attention
and protection of elders, as well as the coordination of elderly residences is also the responsibility of each
autonomous community. However, there is a national strategy regarding active ageing.
The State Council of The Elderly of Spain, with the support of the Ministry of Health, Social Services and
Equality, has developed the project "National Strategy of the Elderly for Active Ageing and for Their Good
Treatment 2018-2021" (EUSKADI, 2018). The document contains a set of measures for the promotion of
active ageing, quality of life and good treatment in the design and implementation of public policies.
Aimed primarily at public administrations and entities but also with associations of the elderly and the
elderly themselves, its OBJECTIVES include:
Guaranteeing older people equal opportunities and dignified living in all areas.
Ensure the active participation of the elderly in the formulation and implementation of all activities of public
life and especially in the policies that affect them.
Promote the permanence of the elderly in their family and community environment.
Promote forms of organization and participation of the elderly, which allow society to draw on the
experience and knowledge of this population.
Promote comprehensive and inter-agency care, focused on the elderly, by public and private entities, and
ensure the proper functioning of programmes and services for this population.
Ensure the protection and social security of the elderly.
Avoid age discrimination.
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Prevent, diagnose, care for and eradicate situations of ill-treatment and abuse against the elderly.
Maintain the quality of life with worthy pensions, as set out in our Constitution.
Provide rights and legal certainty to the elderly in all areas that affect them.
Promote with effective measures active ageing since through it will achieve healthy ageing.
Lines of action
Taking as a starting point a comprehensive situation diagnosis (which delves into diverse issues such as
the residential environment, lifelong learning, health, access to new technology or care, among others),
the Strategy promotes the development and implementation of policies to achieve a higher quality of life
for older people, around five major lines of action:
Improve the work of the elderly and extend their working lives.
Promote participation in society and its decision-making bodies.
Facilitate a healthy and independent life, in adequate and safe environments.
Ensure non-discrimination, equal opportunities and attention to the most vulnerable situations.
Avoid ill-treatment and abuse of the elderly.
Provisions for elderly
In 2020, the general population of Spain was 47,329,000. The segment 54 to 64 years old represents
12.1%, with 2,899,088 men and 3,044,111 women. Moreover, the population over 64 years old represents
17.9% of the total population (3,763,989 men and 5,040,737 women). The legal retirement age in Spain
is set at 65 years and 10 months (INE, 2020).
It is also important to note that the increase of people older than 80 years of age is greater than the
remaining population groups (Abellán, 2012). In 2014, they form 5.3% of the total population. It is
calculated that in 2049 this will rise to 11.8%, which will cause a greater consumption of health assistance
and care in the home because chronic diseases have a greater risk of causing disability and will require
greater long-term care (Serrano, Latorre, & Gatz, 2014).
Spanish population 2010, 2020, 2049. Superimposed pyramids, Source: (IMSERSO, 2012)
Taking into consideration this data, the promotion of quality of life in senior centres should have the
following fundamental axes:
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The promotion of active ageing.
To ensure that equal opportunities for the elderly are recognized as citizens with legitimate rights.
Create structures and channels of coordination between all institutions and entities involved in the
recognition of the elderly in society.
The transformation of the elderly into agents of their development.
Specialized accommodation options
Age-restricted communities, also known as "active adult" or "55+" communities, cater to older adults who
have a common preference for not having younger people around. Usually, there is a mix of housing types
- single-family homes or apartments, often connected by sidewalks or trails. There is a focus on an active
lifestyle, so many communities have well-equipped clubhouses and other amenities, such as tennis courts
and golf courses.
Active adult communities are more appropriate for older people who are healthy, independent and
interested in the social benefits of living among people with the same characteristics.
Senior Apartments are apartments with age restrictions that are usually available for people 55 years of
age or older. Although some are luxury apartments with high prices, many have market prices or lower.
Some are even built specifically for low-income people. Because the units are built for older adults, they
are often designed to be accessible and include transportation services. Many of them also offer
recreational and social services.
Cohousing designates "an intentional type of neighbourhood' in which residents actively participate in the
design and functioning of the community." Residents are private owners of their homes and do not pool
their income, but there are common facilities for daily use. Decisions are made cooperatively, rather than
through top-down hierarchies or by majority vote. Cohousing communities are vibrant places where there
are many opportunities for multigenerational interactions and social connections. In senior or senior
communities, the "intentional community" is for seniors only. Homes and facilities are designed to age
on-site, and residents often share the cost of on-site health care or a health care provider.
Often the reason families are looking for different housing options is that their older family members need
help on a daily basis. Depending on the level of care required, options include assisted living homes and
nursing homes.
Assisted Living arrangements help people stay as independent as possible while offering the necessary
help. They provide personal care and support services or help with basic daily activities, such as bathing,
dressing, and controlling medications. Most assisted living homes provide an apartment lifestyle, although
there are also "council and care homes" and "personal care group homes," which are state- or locally
licensed single-family homes to provide care. They offer meals, activities, cleaning, transportation and
some level of security.
Nursing Homes facilities provide specialized nursing care for older adults who require it. While households
have doctors on staff, nursing assistants provide most of the help with basic daily activities, and nurses
direct medical monitoring and intervention when needed. Their work is often supported by speech and
occupational therapists or physicist, who work to keep residents as strong as possible. The decision of
choosing a nursing home is one of the most difficult housing decisions families have to make. Quality may
vary across these facilities.
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Continuous Care Retirement Communities are facilities featuring independent apartments and living
homes and offer the diverse social, recreational and cultural activities of other retirement communities.
But they also have assisted living and nursing-level care. In this "continuity of care" system, residents often
enter the establishment to an independent standard of living. Later, if their health and abilities decrease,
they can move to assisted living and then, if necessary, to the nursing home level. The most important
feature of continuous care is that all needs can be met. Family members can be sure that if their loved
one's health status changes, the resources on the site are there to provide support.
Provisions for elderly educators
Social educators in Spain earn an average salary of 15,000 euros gross per year, which means having a
payroll of about 1,100 euros per month in 12 pays. As employment is mainly registered in the public
sector, these salaries can be increased with seniority, travel bonuses and other salary supplements to EUR
18,000 gross per year.
The social educator in residential centres and day centres for seniors: professional profile
In accordance with current regulations, as of Decree 284/1996 on Social Services, it is determined that
one of the functions of residential and day centres, is sociocultural dynamization. Historically, this task
has been developed by professionals in the field of sociocultural animation. With the emergence of the
University Diploma of Social Education, sociocultural animation activities became the competence of the
social educator.
Definition of the objectives of the Social Educator in residential centres and senior day centres
The philosophy of action is to "bring the years to life" and from it, the following objectives are
implemented:
To enhance the playful, creative and relational dimension of the person.
Generate illusion.
Contribute to the eldest person reworking and continuing their life project.
Integrate residents' relatives into the dynamization process.
Enhance the person's ability to make a decision and self-management.
Normalize the life of the eldest person as a person rather than as sick.
Recovering and maintaining the link with the institution, the environment and social life
Maintain and enhance physical, psychic and social capacities taking into account the person as a bio-psycho-
social and spiritual being.
Social functions of educators in residential centres and senior day centres
These include:
Design, plan and evaluate dynamization activities
Motivate, facilitate and channel initiatives.
Transmit strategies and tools that facilitate relationships and interpersonal communication.
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Initiatives to support learning and active ageing of elderly
Good practices
An example of good practices is the Regional Government of Andalucía, which has an information society
portal dedicated exclusively to mobile applications for the elderly, Andalucía es Digital (INICIO, 2016).
Depending on the purpose and objective, there are Apps from entertainment or leisure to health control
(Mendía, 2015). In addition, there is a volunteer for these people, called digital accompaniment, where
people with no knowledge or very basic knowledge about new technologies are helped to learn how to
work with ICT. Below are only cited some applications as examples, dedicated to health and
entertainment:
Medisafe or Pillboxie. Applications that warn when medicines need to be taken also inform family members
if they have.
Lumosity. Application designed to exercise memory.
Words with Friends. Mental agility application that allows you to play between people.
Fit Brains Trainer. Application to exercise through games concentration, mental agility, visual perception,
etc.
Prime Alert. GPS alert app that alerts family members and doctors where the person is located.
RunTastic Pro. Application to stay in shape by monitoring daily physical activity.
Dragon Dictation. Application for people who have difficulty handling the keyboard. It's done through
speech recognition.
BIG Launcher. Application for people with reduced vision. The icons and keyboard are much larger.
Projects for the elderly
AGE: It is a project created in 2009 by the Orange Foundation and the Complutense University of Madrid.
This project aims to prevent cognitive decline and promote the social integration of the elderly through the
use of technological systems. Several entities collaborate in this project, including the Quality of Life and
Ageing cabinet of the University of Granada.
ENRED@TE: This is a project that allows older people to stay in touch with others to talk, share experiences.
It was created in 2015 by the Vodafone Spain Foundation and the Red Cross, its main mission being to
promote active ageing and strengthen the social participation of this group.
Video support: project created in 2012 by Vodafone, aims to facilitate the development and maintenance
of the physical, cognitive and relational capacities of the elderly with the support of new technologies.
ICT Photography Project for the Elderly (Course 2015/2016): it is a project created by students of the Degree
of Social Education of the University of Granada, aims to give voice to the elderly through photography
while learning to use new technologies since they have to work with a photo editor.
The publishing house Aula Planeta implemented a project called "I am a fan of my grandfather/mother: an
intercultural and intergenerational project with ICT as a tool" (AulaPlaneta, 2015). It is a project that is
carried out in Children's, Primary and Secondary Education in some centres of the province of Malaga, with
the aim of students knowing and teaching their grandparents the use of ICT. These types of initiatives go
far beyond learning and acquiring skills by older people in the use and management of ICTs, the important
thing is that the elderly, children, adolescents, youth and adults, are in contact so that age discrimination,
or ageing, does not grow in a society where the full integration and equality of people regardless of age,
sex or provenance is pursued.
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Potential barriers
If older people centres in Spain have traditionally been an essential resource for fostering relationship
spaces and leisure activities, this offer is not sufficient for today's elderly, let alone for new generations
of older people. Thus, community socio-educational interventions are advocated to provide a significant
impact on the social and personal development of older people; socio-educational interventions that have
been vehiculated, not starring, through the professional work of social educators (Martínez de Miguel
López, Escarbajal de Haro, & Salmerón Aroca, 2016).
A study (Ramiro, 2012) has shown that stereotypes act as disruptive and limiting factors in the social image
of the group of elders (Dionigi, 2015). In Spain, this image is often associated with equating majors with
dependence, idleness or illness (Carral, 2019). That is why it is very important to work in the line of offering
society a picture more adjusted to the current x-ray of this group. For example, breaking the stereotype
of the elders as a social burden and without a producer role, as the real data that yields economic
contribution figures of this group in terms of financial support to younger relatives (87%), informal care
(77%), creation of social capital (attention to grandchildren) (78%) and new avenues of economic
development (64%).
Interviews and results
The decided respondents were contacted via email and the questions were sent for them to have time to
prepare. The interviews were performed by phone, due to the impossibility of physical meetings due to
Covid-19 restrictions, between December 2020 and January 2021. During the interviews the responsible
took notes, to ensure that all the needed information will be documented.
The purpose of the interviews was:
to understand what working with seniors implies
to understand what educators teaching seniors/caregivers need to consider
to provide recommendations concerning the cooperation between different educators/ facilitators/
volunteers
The interviews were codified as the following example: DES-1-JOR
DES = Deses3 - Name of the organization
1 = number of the interview
JOR = Name of the interviewed person
The partial transcripts of the interviews are presented at Appendix 2. After performing the interview and
analysing the answer, several conclusions were drawn:
The misconception regarding the elders are all related to the lack of information regarding old age, and lack
of knowledge related to ageing, the life style of elders, their abilities and the diseases related to ageing;
There is a real need for courses related to the emotional needs of the elders and how to deal with loneliness,
fear, sadness, apathy;
Empathy was considered one of the main skills and traits that caregivers and/or educators working with
seniors need to possess;
The difficulties encountered by the respondents in their daily work are mostly related to the discrimination
and lack of respect upon old people and bad treatment;
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The community can get involved and help through getting informed about the real needs of elders and
offering adapted environments and adequate social activities which will help them get involved and feel
valued in the society;
The profession of caregivers is not properly appreciated or valued and due to lack of resources, these
professionals have difficulties in their daily work.
Due to these findings, Deses3 has decided to write the module of Know your seniors, to provide the
needed information and data about ageing, elders challenges and how to deal and overcome them as well
as information regarding the figure of care giver and the activity of caregiving.
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National needs analyses. Country report Italy
The national needs analysis from Italy summarizes the results of desk research and interviews together
with suggestions from respondents.
Research team: Fabiola Porcelli, Laura Amoruso, Savino Ricchiuto
Desk research results
Italy is the oldest country in Europe: 21.4% of the population is over 65 years old, compared to an EU
average of 18.5%, and 6.4% are over 80, against an average of 5.1% (Eurostat, 2020). ISTAT predicts that
there will be 21,775,809 elderly in Italy by 2050, accounting for 34.3% of the population (ISTAS, 2020).
Political framework
In Italy, the rules governing social and health care for non-self-sufficient elderly people start from the
Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of 14 February 2001, called "Act of guidance and
coordination in the field of social and health services", while for what concerns measures to promote
ageing, we have a bill presented in 2016.
The Republic, to promote and recognize the role of elderly people in the community and their
participation in social, civil, economic and cultural life, provides policies aimed at active ageing according
to the following principles:
enhancing the educational, cognitive, professional and human experiences of older people by promoting
their commitment in the voluntary sector and enhancing solidarity and intergenerational relationships;
promoting integrated policies in favour of the elderly, recognizing their active role in society through a
useful and gratifying commitment capable of making them protagonists of their future;
countering phenomena of exclusion and discrimination by supporting actions that guarantee healthy and
dignified ageing and by removing obstacles to full social inclusion;
to support social tourism as a way of cultural promotion;
encourage the search for gradual ways of leaving work, which allow the reorganization of purposes and
roles, also through the promotion of retirement preparation initiatives;
supporting integrated projects and actions aimed at guaranteeing the well-being of people at all ages,
overcoming any form of categorization and any welfare logic;
promoting and supporting training, updating and retraining those who work, in various capacities and with
specific skills, in favour of the elderly.
In relation to this last aspect, there have been significant steps forward. The figure of the professional
educator has been present in Italy since the 1950s, but the profession found wide recognition and
employment starting from the mid-sixties. It is interesting to note how, at the dawn of the birth of the
professional educator, his employment with the elderly was residual.
Concerning this age group, initially, the employment of the professional educator was mainly on the
educational and animative side, taking the form of community animation projects, offering places and
contexts in which elderly people could meet and cultivate interests. More recently, however, the figure
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of the professional educator is widely employed in working with the elderly in the rehabilitation and care
fields.
The “Iori Law”, approved in the Chamber on 20 December 2017, represented a turning point for
educators, regulating the professions of socio-pedagogical professional educator and pedagogist, as well
as the profession of the socio-health professional educator (SIPED, 2017). It is a law that introduces some
innovations on the recognition of these important figures who take care of people in a state of fragility
such as children, the elderly, and the disabled.
Concisely, the law provides for the need to follow degree courses to be able to carry out the professions
of an educator (both pedagogical and social health care partners) and pedagogist.
As part of Active Ageing, an ambitious national initiative was launched in 2019 that aims to create a
multi-level participatory coordination of active ageing policies thanks to a three-year collaboration
agreement between the Department for Policies of the family and the National Institute of Rest and Care
for the Elderly (INRCA, 2018). The activities involve all the relevant stakeholders (regions, ministries, civil
society, research, etc.) at the various national, regional and local levels, to implement in a participatory
manner, through a co-decision-making process, an intervention model on active ageing.
Among the objectives of the three-year project, also those of creating guidelines on the implementation
of policies relating to AI, developing an integrated model of intervention that strengthens the territorial
centrality and that favours horizontal and vertical coordination between the various institutional sectors,
public and private bodies, third sector and civil society involved in the issue. In this way, the initiative aims
to build a social welfare system that values active ageing as a tool for social inclusion, intergenerational
solidarity and social cohesion with a view to sustainable development, also considering the issue of human
rights.
The interventions of the Ministry of Education on the subject of active ageing mainly concern lifelong
learning (SenatoIt, 2020), which concerns the adult and mature population since it consists of "any activity
undertaken by people in a formal, non-formal, informal way, in the various stages of life, to improve
knowledge, skills and competences, from a personal, civic, social and employment perspective".
Provisions for elderly
The age pyramid at 1 January 2019 clearly shows the very old age structure of the resident population in
Italy: for 100 young people between 0 and 14, there are 173 people aged 65 and over. As for the
retirement age, from 2019 the retirement age is set at 67 for all categories.
From the second Report promoted by Auser Nazionale on ISTAT data from the 2011 Census, to
photograph the housing conditions of the elderly in Italy, it emerges that almost 10 million elderly people
live in their own homes and that very often these are old houses without a lift (Durr, Karpati, & Vihavainen,
2015).
In more than one in three cases of elderly homeowners live alone (34.9 per cent) and the number of those
who live alone in large houses increases. In many instances, the home option can prove to be a trap
because it is not always a guarantee of quality and safety. On the other hand, there are the elderly who
prefer to live in structures that welcome elderly people, each with different characteristics, suited to
individual needs.
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In Italy, there are various types of residences for the elderly. Among these we distinguish:
Nursing homes (RSA)
Protected residences
Nursing homes
Community housing
Hotel houses
Stay homes for the elderly
Vacation homes for the elderly
Day care centres
Residence for self-sufficient elderly
Nursing homes, hotel homes, stay homes and holiday homes for the elderly are residential social welfare
structures that welcome partially self-sufficient or mildly non-self-sufficient elderly people. They offer
hospitality and assistance, but also recreational, recreational and cultural activities.
RSA and protected residences
The nursing homes (RSA) and protected residences are residential social and health facilities that welcome
elderly people with a medium or high level of non-self-sufficiency but who in any case do not require
hospital services. These facilities provide medical, nursing and rehabilitation assistance as well as
protective assistance and hotel services aimed at improving the health and well-being of the elderly.
Day care centres
Day care centres are social and health structures that provide their services only during the day and are
intended for elderly people with varying degrees of non-self-sufficiency. Their purpose is to enhance skills
and abilities related to the autonomy of the elderly.
Provisions for elderly educators
The professional educator in Italy can work for both the public and private sectors. The most widespread
work contexts are Social Cooperatives and in some cases Associations. The possibility of inclusion in ASLs,
municipalities or other public bodies is limited to the current tendency of the Public Administration to
resort to external services.
In residential or semi-residential facilities, the professional educator usually works in a team and reports
directly to the service manager or project coordinator. In social health structures, the professional socio-
health educator generally works on shifts, even at night. In the case of educational projects in the area,
the professional socio-health educator and the professional socio-pedagogical educator generally have
more flexible hours and benefit from a greater level of responsibility and autonomy, however referring to
the project coordinator.
The average salary of a Professional Educator in Italy is about € 1,100 net per month (about € 19,100 gross
per year), € 450 (29% lower than the average monthly salary in Italy). The salary of a Professional Educator
can start from a minimum salary of € 650 net per month, while the maximum salary can exceed € 1,550
net per month.
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The Professional Educator is a health professional in possession of a first-level degree in class L-SNT2 and
specific qualification or possession of qualifications declared equivalent or equivalent by decrees of the
Ministry of Health; its training is the responsibility of the Faculties of Medicine and Surgery of the
Universities and provides for professionalization paths at health facilities of the National Health Service
and social and health care facilities of public bodies identified in the memoranda of understanding
between the regions and the universities in which activated the course.
The Social Healthcare Operators (OSS) have technical skills (working in healthcare contexts, where they
can only deal with basic care for patients with some autonomy). They can take care of further activities
under specific attribution and instructions from nurses. The OSS cannot carry out actions of purely
medical-nursing competence.
The bond of empathy that must be established with the patient is of fundamental importance and falls
within the area of skills that the market seeks the most. The patient's relationship with the operator in
the early stages is probably tiring, because patients do not easily accept their physical state, showing a
certain embarrassment in receiving assistance. The OSS needs to understand the discomfort the patient
feels and try to identify with the patient, making the approach less difficult.
The training of the SDGs is the responsibility of the Italian Regions; it is possible to obtain a qualification
following a training course that lasts a total of 1000 hours (composed respectively of 450 hours of theory,
100 hours of exercises and 450 of internship, including the final exam) organized specifically according to
the organization that manages the course.
Volunteers are those serving in associations or cooperatives supporting the elderly. The volunteering
activities include: telephone support; social transport in favour of all self-sufficient or partially
self-sufficient people on a physical level who, regardless of age, are not able on their own to exercise the
right to mobility; personal services, companionship for lonely people; aid to people for small jobs;
participation in moments of animation at Protected Homes; management of the Territorial Elderly
Centres; visits to lonely elderly people; home delivery of medicines; community services, care and
management of green areas and parks; surveillance in front of schools; international solidarity, education
in the values of peace and the protection of human rights; joining and supporting international solidarity
projects; socialization activities, leisure activities, physical education and movement activities; food
education; disease prevention education; cultural training courses; information and culture of belonging
and citizenship rights; visits to exhibitions and museums; cultural tourism in Italian and European cities;
social tourism for older people; summer and winter stays. These activities are free of pay, and volunteers
are trained in the field or privately.
Initiatives to support learning and active ageing of elderly
According to the WHO, active ageing allows people to exploit their potential in terms of physical, social
and psychological well-being throughout their life. The role of public social services is crucial as they
implement active ageing measures to support older people who are already in need of assistance so that
they are socially included and have a good quality of life (Poscia, 2017).
Here are some indications from AUSER, the Association for Active Ageing, to improve the quality of life of
elderly people, and some initiatives already implemented (Auser, 2016).
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Grandparents at school
Grandparents at school initiative was born in 2008 from an idea of the Auser of Alessandria, as part of the
regional project "Pony of Solidarity", and consists in the creation of computer literacy courses for elderly
people. The project aims to counter the so-called "digital divide" but at the same time to encourage the
meeting between generations: elderly people without computer skills and young digital natives.
Once a week, for two hours, during the lessons held by a teacher, the young high school students work
alongside a grandfather by carrying out a tutoring activity.
The project inspired by the principles of intergenerational learning and fighting against the digital divide
has two main objectives:
To provide the elderly with opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills
To offer basic information technology competences while connecting distant generations with each other,
promoting the exchange of skills and knowledge
Volunteers in libraries
Volunteers, mainly over sixty, collaborate in the proper functioning of cultural centres and municipal
libraries through multiple activities: welcoming the public; initial information on the characteristics and
the different possibilities of use of library services; support in the use of the online catalogue; collection
and reporting to the library manager of unresolved problems and needs expressed by users; distribution
and relocation, with both manual and automated procedures, of book, documentary and multimedia
material; rearrangement of the shelves; collaboration in setting up the room for events; keeping the
attendance register; distribution of printed material on the occasion of cultural activities; a collection of
addresses to be included in the mailing lists of the library circuit; collaboration in the preparation of flyers,
posters and invitations; surveillance and supervision the correct use of the material and spaces of the
structure.
Transferability factors:
Collaboration with the local institution that manages the libraries and cultural centres.
Agreement with the public body
Solidarity tailoring
The Tailoring of Trani Solidarity was born from the idea of using an artisanal activity such as cutting and
sewing to offer people in conditions of psychological distress opportunities for socializing and growth in
self-esteem. At the beginning of 2015, the tailoring was within the local health company which recognized
the therapeutic importance of the project. Three volunteer Auser seamstresses teach sewing to a group
of ten women reported by the mental health centre.
At Auser, they produce clothing, canvas bags, pot holders, bags, knitting, crochet and embroidery. The
Auser, together with other associations, organizes solidarity markets in which artefacts are given to
people in need or given in exchange for a donation to buy cotton, thread, needles. Periodically, the
manufacturing companies of the municipality deliver waste material to Auser: fabrics, wool, knitwear.
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The innovative elements:
The collaboration between the volunteers of the Auser and a group of women suffering from psychological
distress who find relief in carrying out an artisan activity in the company.
Transferability factors:
Agreement with the local health authority.
Expert sewing volunteers.
A location in which to set up the Solidarity Tailoring
Social garden
The Social Garden was born from a need to redevelop a park/garden within a municipality. The Social
Garden has the important role of being a place of meeting and intergenerational integration for young
people, the elderly, families, workers, the unemployed, people of different social origins and nationalities.
The Social Garden proposes collective gardening and horticulture and fruit growing activities, to promote
the education and training of adults and children, respect for the environment, the creation and
consolidation of social ties (Battito, 2020). The Social Garden does not exhaust its objective in the field
but is an instrument of dissemination and information to the entire population for a more sustainable
lifestyle. The objectives of the Social Garden are:
Create a living space where you can feel at ease, converse, walk, garden, plant, sow, get dirty, have fun,
help yourself, listen, read, spend hours
Redevelop the territory
Promote socialization and integration between citizens
Raise awareness and educate about an eco-sustainable lifestyle
Allow all inhabitants to actively participate by giving each their own contribution
Improve the quality of life
Allow the intergenerational exchange of knowledge: adults and the elderly can take care of the garden
together with the youngest to pass on to them ancient knowledge consolidated by years of experience.
Constitute an attempt to slow down the frenetic pace imposed by modern society.
Become an instrument of knowledge and enhancement of the territory and the culture linked to it.
Monitor and evaluate the experience to derive elements of transferability to other neighbouring areas and
countries
Act as a territorial garrison: the Garden constitutes a possibility of controlling the territory and removing
unwanted activities such as vandalism.
Potential barriers
Italy has famously become one of the most ageing countries in the world, but as evidenced by the
research, the system of social interventions is very weak: the number of users in charge is significantly
lower than for health care.
In Italy, social services are implemented by joint rules and interventions that affect all levels of
government (State, Regions and Municipalities) while, in compliance with the constitutional provision of
subsidiarity, the provision of services is the responsibility of the subjects closest to the citizens, that is to
the Municipal Administrations. According to the same principle and in line with the dictates of the
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framework law for the reform of the social services system, the role of provider of services is preferably
entrusted to third sector organizations.
The use of social services by citizens can be free, facilitated or paid. In the first two meanings, the right to
benefits is subject to the verification, by the responsible public offices, of the possession of specific
requirements (of income) and of the actual conditions of the person or the nucleus (function of taking
charge by the public social services).
The area most affected is that of Information Services and reception of users accompanied by a set of
operational interventions consisting in order of Home, Day and Residential Services. The primacy of
domicile testifies, on the one hand, to the attention to protecting the family context of the person, but on
the other, it limits the inclusive perspective to this space. In this regard, it can be assumed that the scarce
presence of social integration services, of the overall offer, is an effect of the prevalent approach to the
physical care of non-self-sufficient people, leaving more aspects of socialization and inclusion in the
background.
A look at the distribution of social professions helps to frame the situation more precisely. In services for
the non-self-sufficient, socio-health workers (better known as OSS) prevail, who is a basic figure employed
for hygienic-health interventions, professional educators, who implement educational programs in the
context of complex therapeutic projects elaborated in teams and aimed at the positive insertion or
psycho-social reintegration and the recovery of autonomy. The figures of reintegration and social
integration technicians are rarely used (Turchini, 2020).
For our project, we believe that the figure of an expert who can help the elderly to integrate or reintegrate
into society, make them feel like active citizens able to actively contribute to the communities in which
they reside. This expert could activate collaborations with other professionals/educators/trainers, and
plan ad hoc learning programs for the elderly, considering the specificities of each elderly person.
Interviews and results
After identifying the target group to contact, in February 2021 Petit Pas interviewed five people selected
from the target group respectively the elderly's educators, a caregiver and a social health worker.
Because of the restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, only two interviews were conducted in person,
while the other three by telephone, taking notes and documenting the respondents' answers.
The purpose of these interviews was:
understanding from the inside the point of view of those who work daily with the elderly and today’s
problems
understanding the needs and requirements of caregivers/educators
provide advice on the areas of improvement in the cooperation between these different caregivers for the
elderly
The interviews were codified as the following example: PP-1-BT
PP = Petit Pas - Name of the organization
1 = number of the interview
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BT = Name of the interviewed person
The Interviews started with a general question like:
The partial transcripts of the interviews are presented at Appendix 3. The interviews allowed Petit Pas to
collect information on the problems and perception of the elderly in Italian society from different angles.
From gathering the experience but also the testimonies of volunteers, educators and professional
caregivers as industry professionals, some points in common have emerged such as:
A widespread misconception about the elderly, according to which they are no longer suitable, from a
physical and mental point of view, to actively contribute to society or learning new skills
The most important trait, the requirement for an educator/caregiver is listening and be patient with the
elderly, valuing their expertise knowledge and wisdom, respecting their time and being attentive to not give
anything for granted because what it looks obvious or extremely easy for someone it cannot be the same
for someone else
Networking and cooperation between associations and local institutions is vital to improve the life quality
and guarantee support to the elderly
Consequently, Petit Pas considered that a course module on “valuing your senior would help to fight the
greater problem of prejudice affecting the elderly on their ability and willingness to be active members of
society, to underline the importance of senior citizens in our society and their contribution especially
regarding the intergenerational exchange with the new generations, the transfer of knowledge that would
otherwise be lost and the support offered to their families (we need only think of the fact that they look
after grandchildren, or very often become real caregivers themselves of their spouses or friends).
Acknowledging seniors' contributions would help to make ours a more age-inclusive society that does not
pit one generation against the other. It would also be a more accurate reflection of how most of us engage
with each other in our everyday lives.
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National needs analyses. Country report Poland
The national needs analysis from Poland summarizes the results of desk research and interviews together
with suggestions from respondents.
Research team: Renata Ochoa-Daderska, Agnieszka Kopiec, Luis Ochoa Siguencia
Desk research results
The ageing of the population in Poland is a consequence of complex socio-demographic changes with a
long-term tendency. These processes generate the need to create solutions that support people in
retirement age in a way aimed at providing them with conditions conducive to health and activity.
Undoubtedly, the issue of providing the elderly with decent living conditions has always been a moral and
economic challenge for the community due to specific problems and the increased need for care. Also,
today, the situation of the constantly growing elderly population forces the search for appropriate
legislative solutions. For this reason, the European Union has declared 2012 the European Year of Active
Ageing and Solidarity between Generations (European Parliament, 2011). As a consequence, the
implementation of the rights of older people also becomes the subject of interest of the executive, in
particular public administration bodies (Mik, 1992).
Political framework
Nowadays, the concept of public administration is understood as "taken over by the state and
implemented by its sovereign bodies, as well as by local government bodies, meeting the collective and
individual needs of citizens, resulting from the coexistence of people in communities" (Boc, 2004). Various
obligations that the public administration performs based on legal provisions to satisfy the collective
needs of the population of a given territory are defined in law as "public tasks" (Constitutional Tribunal,
1993).
In Poland, the functioning of modern public administration is an extremely complex undertaking that
requires more and more specialization of individual administrative structures. The very concept of "public
administration" refers only to the socio-legal phenomenon, the specification of which is made in the
operation of the relevant authorities and their subordinate administrative units.
Specifying the rights of older people, as in the case of other specialized catalogues of human rights (e.g.
children's rights, patient's rights, etc.), is based on the idea of positive discrimination, according to which
the more difficult situation of certain categories of people justifies their wider legal protection, including
guaranteeing special powers or means of their enforcement, thanks to which it becomes possible to
maintain real equality before the law.
Relevant acts:
The Act of September 11, 2015 on the elderly - On September 11, 2015, the Act on the Elderly was adopted
(Journal of Laws, item 1705). The document obliged public administration bodies, state organizational units
and other organizations involved in shaping the situation of older people to monitor the situation of older
people in Poland, which resulted in the annual preparation of the Council of Ministers - Information on the
situation of elderly people in Poland. The product of this process is the Information on the situation of
elderly people in Poland, prepared annually by the Council of Ministers. Article 1 of the Act defines the
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scope of monitoring and presenting information about the situation of elderly people, as well as entities
participating in the implementation of this task and the sources of its financing. The information on the
situation of elderly people in Poland for 2015 was a historical study, as it was the first document on the
situation of elderly people in Poland, as well as the state of implementation of the senior policy prepared
by the Council of Ministers.
The Act on the Elderly From January 1, 2016 President Andrzej Duda signed the Act on the Elderly, the main
purpose of which is to monitor the situation of the elderly, especially the income situation, professional
activity, the situation of disabled people and their careers. The law is expected to enter into force on January
1, 2016. President Andrzej Duda signed the law, according to which the government will provide the Sejm
and Senate with information on the situation of elderly people in Poland every year until October 31.
Monitoring the situation of older people - defined as 60 plus - is to include, inter alia, analysing information
regarding, for example, the demographic situation, income situation, housing conditions, professional
activity, family situation, the situation of disabled people and their careers, social and civic activity, as well
as educational, cultural, sports and recreational activity, as well as information on health, accessibility and
level social services.
Provisions for elderly
The increase in the senior population in Poland contributes to the greater demand for instruments for the
implementation of social security, which are a natural consequence of the ageing process. Therefore, it is
of strategic importance to formulate recommendations for social policy and supporting the postulate of
active ageing. Activating seniors is a complex process of delaying and alleviating the effects of ageing. It
requires awareness of the needs of older people and acceptance of their age and functional limitations
while supporting the potential of seniors and building an image of old age without negative stereotypes
(MPIPS, 2020).
According to the forecast of the Central Statistical Office in Poland, as early as 2035 people aged 60 or
more will constitute almost 1/3 of the Polish population, and in 2050 already 40%. The above processes
raise many challenges related to planning and shaping social policy towards the elderly so that it serves
to improve the quality of life of seniors by enabling them to remain independent and active for as long as
possible, ensure both physical and social safety and promote health and, if possible, respond to for caring
needs (IPISS, 2020).
In June 2018, the population of Poland was 38,413,000. residents, including 6 619 thousand. people are
people aged 65 and over (GUS, 2018), which constitutes 17.2% of the total population. The result of
changes in demographic processes, and above all, the birth depression lasting since the beginning of the
1990s, are changes in the number and structure of the population by age, i.e. a decrease in the number
and percentage of children (0-14 years) observed until 2015 and an uninterrupted an increase in the group
of older people (65 and over). For comparison, in 1990 people aged 65 and more constituted only 10.2%
of the total population.
According to the Central Statistical Office, the ageing of the Polish population is accelerating. This is
indicated by the tendencies of changes concerning the share of the post-working age population (women
- 60 years and more, men - 65 years and more). In the years 2000-2017, the number of this sub-population
increased by over 2.3 million to 8 million (an increase from less than 15% to almost 21%). The increase in
the number of people in retirement age (80 and more) has a significant share in the increase in the number
of people in retirement age. In 2000, the group of the oldest age group was 774,000. (2% of the total
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population), and in 2017 more than 1.6 million, which accounted for 4.3% of the entire population of
Poland (GUS, 2018).
Provisions for elderly educators
Active ageing concerns both individuals and groups of society. Enables people to fulfil their potential for
mental, social and mental health throughout their lives and to participate in society according to their
needs, desires and abilities while providing them with adequate protection, safety and care when they
need help.
In Poland, the statistical healthy life expectancy is relatively short - according to the Central Statistical
Office of Poland, in 2019 it was 59.7 years for men and 63.3 years for women at birth. That is why complex
health needs and often the resulting care needs appear long before the age of eighty. For men aged 65,
life expectancy is expected to be around 15 years, of which 8.3 years in good health, and for women, it is
20.2 and 8.6 years, respectively. A large proportion of elderly people, not only those considered long-
lived, are potentially at risk of being dependent to a greater or lesser extent on care and support in
everyday life.
The caring needs of an older dogfish have so far been largely met by loved ones, but the family's care
potential is crumbling. This is a field for the development of formal care and support services for the
elderly, although so far this sector, in terms of quantity and quality, leaves much to be desired. So let's
look at the sector of these services.
When analysing the population of elderly people in 2018, it can be concluded that the most numerous
group was the youngest group, aged 60-64, whose share in the total number of elderly people was 29.2%.
The smallest group were people in the oldest age group (85 years and over), whose share in the population
of senior citizens was at the level of 8.3% in 2018. Compared to 2017, among the elderly, the share of
people aged 70-74 and 65-69 in the total population of Poland increased the most (by 0.4 percentage
points and 0.2 percentage points, respectively), a slight increase (by 0.1 percentage point) was also
recorded for the oldest age group. Compared to 2010, the highest increase (by 2.8 percentage points)
concerned the age group 65-69 years, a decrease was recorded only for the age group 75-79 years old,
both compared to 2017 and 2010 (respectively by 0.1 and 0.2 percentage points) (PortalStatystyczny,
2020).
Initiatives to support learning and active ageing of elderly
The "Good Support" program is a comprehensive and innovative solution that uses many years of
experience of employees of the social welfare system and local governments, based on the latest
technologies. The system was created as part of a partnership project of the Science for the Environment
Foundation, the Regional Centre for Social Policy and Caritas Koszalin and Szczecin. The value of the
project co-financed by the European Union under the Regional Operational Program of the West
Pomeranian Voivodship for 2014-2020 is over PLN 10 million. The "Good Support" program was also the
winner of the prestigious European Commission competition as the best project of 2019, setting the
direction of activities in the cohesion policy.
The project Babciotherapy (Granma-therapy) was implemented in 2017 thanks to funding from the
Government Program for Social Activity of the Elderly for 2014-2020. The brochure includes, among
others information, recipes and tips on how to use herbs to reduce our negative impact on the
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environment. Developed based on herbal workshops. The brochure is divided into 12 months containing
the "herbal" block, which has been enriched with information about the changes taking place in the body
and psyche over time (IPISS, 2020).
Government programs for seniors for 2016-2019 (IPISS, 2020):
Government Program for Social Activity of Elderly People for 2014-2020;
"Senior +" multi-annual program for 2015-2020.
Despite the steady increase in the number of operating institutions, research indicates that municipalities
have problems with providing adequate infrastructure for the creation of a day house "Senior +" and with
meeting employment requirements. It is also sometimes the reason for withdrawing from the project
implementation after it has been awarded. It is proposed to announce competitions in advance and
support the employment of specialist staff (e.g. by extending the possibility of employing interns).
Despite the steady increase in the number of operating institutions, research indicates that municipalities
have problems with providing adequate infrastructure for the creation of a day house "Senior +" and with
meeting employment requirements. It is also sometimes the reason for withdrawing from the project
implementation after it has been awarded. It is proposed to announce competitions in advance and
support the employment of specialist staff (e.g. by extending the possibility of employing interns) (IPISS,
2020).
Professional activation of people aged 50+ - the nationwide information and promotion campaign begins.
Since 2008, the number of working people over 50 has been steadily increasing. A nationwide information
and promotion campaign organized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and the Centre for Human
Resource Development has just joined the government's activities aimed at further professional activation
of people aged 50+ (Center for Human Resource Development, 2021).
New programs and forgotten concepts, it is worth noting that the problem of insufficient development of
care services has been noticed and has received public interventions in the form of launched programs
"Opieka75 +" and "Care services for people with disabilities", which from the ministerial level are to be
used to invest (in competition mode) in selected municipalities developing this type of service. The budget
of both programs, however, is modest ("Care 75+" - 56 million in 2020, and Nursing services - 40 million),
and own contribution is required from those applying for local government funds. The impact of the
program can therefore be considered positive, but limited in its scale (Bakalarczyk R. , 2020).
Potential barriers
One of the manifestations of marginalization of care work is the social isolation of people performing it.
The otherwise harmful stereotype that women who take care of children "stay at home" also is
maintained by official institutions and can be adapted to people who care about seniors.
In Poland, there are no national standards for the qualifications of people who provide these care services,
the quality of their performance, scope and monitoring. Concerns about the quality and safety of care can
act as a disincentive for families to use such services. When it comes to specialist care services, there are
basic regulations contained in the regulation. The problem, however, is that many municipalities,
especially small and rural ones, may have difficulties in finding people with the appropriate qualifications
to perform this job, which is also so poorly paid. As a result, in the area of services for the elderly, there
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are large staff shortages and a high turnover of employees (usually - female employees). The timing of a
pandemic can only exacerbate these problems.
When it comes to the professional situation of family carers of the elderly, limited access to care services
is probably a key, but not the only barrier. The system of acquiring rights to financial benefits, for example,
in connection with the provision of permanent care for severely disabled relatives in adults, also in old
age, is also unfavourable. If the caregiver - in working-age - wants to receive financial support on this
account, he cannot combine it with any professional activity.
A large share of small (including micro) companies, where work is often not very innovative and difficult
to transfer, e.g. to the home office mode, means that in many enterprises and professions in our economy
it is difficult to provide conditions for reconciling work and seniors care without strong support from
external care services, which would relieve the caregiver-employee and allow him to perform professional
activities. It does not mean that the regulations applied in the Labour Code, as well as good practices in
the organization of work, should not be forced and promoted. But it is certainly not enough. In my opinion,
what can and should be changed at various levels of public management is presented in a separate report
prepared for the Social Dialogue Committee of the Polish Chamber of Commerce in the recommendation
section (Bakalarczyk R. , 2020).
Employment in the senior care sector needs to be developed. We have a lot of catching up to do when it
comes to developing employees in the long-term care sector. According to the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development - OECD, in 2016 the rate of long-term care workers in Poland was 0.5%,
while the average for the countries associated with this organization was 4.9%, i.e. it was almost 10 times
higher in percentage (OECD, 2019). At that time, a lower rate than in Poland was recorded only in Greece.
Even in the remaining countries of our region, which were also below the average for the most developed
European countries, the indicators are higher: in the Czech Republic: 2.3%, in Hungary - 2.2%, and in
Slovakia - 1.5%. For comparison, in Sweden, the share of people professionally engaged in caring work
was 12.4%, and in Norway - 12.7% (Bakalarczyk R. , 2020).
Interviews and results
To be able to know from our target group the “essential needs of educators to support seniors”, Instytut
Badań I Innowacji w Edukacji interviewed five people [ February 2021 ] that gave an understanding of the
challenges that adult educators face, resulted from health or mental problems, even psychological and
low self-esteem of seniors in our local community.
We decided to interview staff working with seniors in different areas and specializations. After identifying
the target group the five people selected from the target group were:
42 years old, dealing with art therapy
38 years old. working in a social care home in Częstochowa as a physiotherapist
31 years old, working as a social worker at the Municipal Social Welfare Centre in Częstochowa MOPS
42 years old. working with seniors on a volunteering basis, teacher of andragogy
INBIE volunteer, elderly worker
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Because of the restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, three interviews were conducted in person and
in different days, while the other two were conducted by telephone, taking notes and documenting the
respondents' answers.
The purpose of the interviews was:
to understand what working with seniors implies
to understand what educators teaching seniors/caregivers need to consider
to provide recommendations concerning the cooperation between different educators/ facilitators/
volunteers
The interviews were codified as the following example: INBIE-1-AT
INBIE = Instytut Badań I Innowacji w Edukacji - Name of the organization
1 = number of the interview
AT = Name or pseudonym of the interviewed person
The partial transcripts of the interviews are presented at Appendix 4. The conclusion upon analysing the
interviews was that most seniors are mentally fit like young people, with the difference that their bodies
are older, often also sick, and we should trait them not as mentally ill but people with lack of physical
conditions and willing to be active in the society. Naturally, physical limitations may appear sooner or
later, but this should not affect how we treat seniors. perhaps what they used to do faster and more
accurately now will come with some difficulty, but the goal will be achieved.
Elderly people need to find a way to be active citizens and be motivated to participate in different activities
like physical exercises, meetings with other seniors and young generations, working in some volunteering
activities. This will make them socially active and will avoid social exclusion.
The interviews made us find the most important aspects people working with the elderly need to learn to
be able to “Empower seniors to become active citizens for others”
A course/workshop dealing with the following topics were decided to create in our Institution:
Health: Nutrition; Physical activity exercises; Tips and tricks for healthy ageing
Life-style aspects: Intellectual aspects; Life-long learning; Social aspects social engagement; Volunteering;
Part-time jobs; Use of social media
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National needs analyses. Country report Romania
The national needs analysis from Romania summarizes the results of desk research and interviews
together with suggestions from respondents.
Research team: Any Mary Elisabeta Dragan, Ionut Bogdan Chiris, Daniel Dragan
Desk research results
The European population has undergone an intense ageing process in recent years, with the main causes
of the phenomenon being increased life expectancy and reduced fertility. Romania has also followed the
European trend. The country had a positive natural increase until 1991. The year 1992 marked the
beginning of a period of demographic decline with negative natural growth rates, a situation that
continues today. In 2017, the lowest value of the natural increase rate was registered (indicator that
measures the algebraic difference between the birth rate and the general mortality rate of the
population), of only -3.1 ‰. On January 1, 2019, the population aged 65 years and over represented
89.21% of the total population under the age of 18, and the ageing index for the same year was 114.3%
(INS, 2019).
Political framework
In Romania, the main internal normative act that guarantees the observance of human rights is the
Romanian Constitution (Romanian Parliament, Romanian Constitution, 2003). It guarantees, in equal
measure, the right to life and physical and mental integrity (art. 22), the right to defence (art. 24) and
freedom of conscience (art. 29) or expression (art. 30). Along with the Constitution, there are a number
of other laws which regulate the relationship between the state and its citizens and complete the system
of fundamental rights and freedoms, e.g. the Civil Code (Romanian Parliament, Civil Code, 2009) and the
Criminal Code (Romanian Parliament, Criminal Code, 2009). All laws and decisions must be in accordance
with the Constitution. The relevant laws include the Law on Social Assistance for the Elderly (Romanian
Parliament, Law 17, 2000), the Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities (Romanian Parliament,
Law 448, 2006), the Government Ordinance on the Prevention and Sanctioning of all Forms of
Discrimination (Romanian Government, Government Ordinance 137, 2000), the Law for Preventing and
Combating Domestic Violence (Romanian Parliament, Law 174, 2018). According to art. 6, letter cc of the
Law on Social Assistance (Romanian Parliament, Law 292, 2011), the concept of social inclusion is
multidimensional, comprising measures and actions in various fields (social protection, employment,
housing, education, health, mobility, security, justice, culture, communication-information) intended to
combat social exclusion. Ensuring the initiation, adoption and implementation of social inclusion
measures is carried out by public institutions that are part of the promotion mechanism that operates at
the central and county level. The established mechanism is complex and includes a set of ministries and
central public administration authorities. Like most European states, Romania is facing an ageing process
caused by three categories of factors: declining birth rates, increasing life expectancy and external
migration. Changes in the demographic structure have a strong impact both economically and socially,
and the pressure of these changes is expected to become even more difficult in the coming years in terms
of increasing demand for social services. The 2015-2020 National Strategy for the Promotion of Active
Ageing and Social Protection of the Elderly (Romanian Government, 2015) and the National Strategy for
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Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction (Romanian Government, 2015) are documents that recognize the
importance of making changes to this category of the population from the perspective of:
increasing the level of participation in social life for the elderly, which implies changes in mentality and
perception, both among the elderly and especially among other members of society;
preventing abuse of the elderly and combating social exclusion among the elderly;
developing a complex system of social and socio-medical services, in which it is important to conduct regular
studies to monitor the social, behavioural aspects of ageing while monitoring providers and how to
implement quality standards. Provisions of social protection policies, issues related to the physical
environment, health and life expectancy, social networks, family are all social exclusion risk factors for the
elderly.
We appreciate that these factors can be added to:
stereotypes, prejudices and age discrimination;
barriers related to the lack of accessible living conditions adapted to old age;
ensuring transport systems that contribute to reducing the isolation of the elderly, strengthening
intergenerational ties;
increasing the participation of the elderly in cultural and recreational activities, respectively in volunteer
activities.
Provisions for elderly
In Romania, the population aged 65 and over increased over recent years. In the period 2011-2017 the
phenomenon continued to manifest itself, the share of the elderly population increasing from 16.12% in
2011 to 17.79% in 2017. For the entire period analysed, the proportion of people aged 65 and over is
slightly below EU28 level. Most of the elderly population was women and people living in rural areas.
Observing the distribution by age groups within the elderly population, it can be stated that in the period
2011-2019 for both groups (65-79 years and over) there was an increasing trend (INS, 2019). This is
manifested regardless of gender or place of residence. We can also say that for the same time horizon,
the elderly population, regardless of gender, lived mainly in rural areas.
The higher share of the elderly female population is due to the higher mortality rate of the male
population, mortality that manifests itself all the more as the age increases. All the changes in the
structure of the elderly population are permanent, lasting and as we stated before it is due to changes of
a demographic nature but also of sociocultural changes (such as changes in the family structure).
In Romania, as in the other member states of the European Union, living at an advanced age has become
a reality difficult to ignore. However, many of the elderly live in isolation, neglect, abandonment, have a
precarious level of livelihood and are often in poor health. Therefore, although life expectancy has
increased, the quality of life has not improved, as will be seen from the data presented in this section.
Social services for the elderly. The main types of social services addressed to the elderly provided by both
public and private social service providers (associations, foundations, cults recognized by law) are the
following:
temporary or permanent home care;
temporary or permanent care in a home for the elderly;
care in day centres, clubs for the elderly, temporary care homes, apartments and social housing.
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Temporary or permanent home care consists of:
aid granted for carrying out the usual activities of daily living:
basic activities of daily living, mainly: ensuring body hygiene, dressing and undressing, feeding and
hydration, ensuring the hygiene of eliminations, transfer and mobilization, moving inside, communication;
instrumental activities of daily living, mainly: food preparation, shopping, housekeeping and laundry
activities, facilitating travel abroad and accompanying, goods administration and management activities,
accompaniment and socialization.
environmental rehabilitation and adaptation services: small arrangements, repairs and the like; other
recovery/rehabilitation services: physiotherapy, physiotherapy, medical-gymnastics, occupational therapy,
psychotherapy, psychopedagogy, speech therapy, podiatry and the like.1. medical services, in the form of
consultations and medical care at home or in health institutions, dental consultations and care,
administration of medicines, provision of sanitary materials and medical devices.
The home for the elderly is the residential centre with or without legal personality, fully financed from the
local budget, established and organized according to the provisions of the relevant law on social assistance
for the elderly, republished, with subsequent amendments and completions, which grants, for an
indefinite period, care for the elderly (Romanian Parliament, Law 17, 2000).
What services can be provided in a home for the elderly
supervision;
current medical care provided by nurses;
accommodation for an indefinite period;
meal, including hot food preparation as appropriate;
cleaning;
socialization and cultural activities
other activities as the case may be: medical assistance provided by a geriatrician, internist or family doctor,
physical/mental recovery therapies, occupational therapy, housekeeping, security, other administrative
activities, etc.
Beneficiaries of social services provided in homes for the elderly
The access of an elderly person to the home is made taking into account the following priority criteria:
requires special permanent medical care, which cannot be provided at home;
cannot manage on her own;
is without legal supporters or they are unable to fulfil their obligations due to their health or economic
situation and family responsibilities;
does not have a home and does not earn his income.
Care in nursing homes for dependent elderly people can only be arranged if their homecare is not possible.
Provisions for elderly educators
Order no. 356 of 31 May 1999 on the approval of the Training Program for Practicing the Occupation of
Home Caregiver (Ministry of Health, 1999), stipulates that home caregivers are persons who provide care,
other than those provided by medical staff, for children, the elderly, people with special needs, such as
would be people who recover after strokes, pre-infarction, post-operative surgery, the elderly with
memory loss, people suffering from Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.
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The qualification in the profession of home caregiver is obtained after graduating from training courses
theory and practice to which adults, the unemployed and people from other categories of dismissed staff
can enrol, as well as other categories of people who want to practice this occupation.
Within this project, elderly home caregivers are selected from the target group from victims of domestic
violence, women in situations young people over the age of 18 who leave the institutionalized child
protection system, families with more than 2 children and/or single-parent families, following training
programs.
There are advantages of home care for the elderly because, over time, the elderly must cope with
situations that exceed their capacity, such as:
Growing health problems
changes in relationships with family and friends
avoiding social interactions
unusual behaviour: increased agitation, poor communication, etc.
neglect of personal care (hygiene, nutrition)
memory loss
poor management of finances (unpaid bills, unusual purchases).
Society, in turn, cannot meet their requirements, as it cannot identify in each case the specific needs, and
the social services that address these categories of people are insufficiently developed both at the
community level and the level of the entire country. As programs have not yet been developed in Romania
to prepare for retirement and identify opportunities for maintaining an active life and meaningful social
participation of older people, home care could gain new ground, including reintegration programs. along
with those of socio-medical and medical care.
Compared to the advantages that assistance in nursing homes or residential centres can offer the elderly,
their home care brings in addition:
increase mental comfort
preserving the autonomy and social functions of the elderly person
prevention of isolation
maintaining an active life
decongestion of health and social assistance units
increasing the quality of care through the involvement of specialists.
Home care for the elderly is provided at home, which improves the quality of life of them and their
families, keeping the family together, without creating additional difficulties for loved ones. The elderly
can carry out their activities according to their schedule and habits, being at the same time cared for
individually according to their personal needs and requirements, which significantly reduces the stress of
the cared person and his family.
Initiatives to support learning and active ageing of elderly
Intergenerational education requires specific educational activities that should be carried out using a
variety of methods and institutions.
For a good and dignified imitation of the practice, the activities carried out by the company for creative
initiatives are recognized, especially the project "Seniors in action", which celebrates its tenth anniversary
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this year (Asociatia Seniori in Actiune, 2021). Vocational training for people over 60 years. Self-employed
people may be self-employed, but most often they come to work with a younger person who promotes
intergenerational social and lasting relationships. Intergenerational education makes it possible to better
understand people of different generations by limiting stereotypes that work constantly in the social
consciousness. These are stereotypes that are manifested both in the minds of young people about the
elderly and in the thinking of older people about young people. how they can effectively take and
implement activities and communicate them appropriately. Older people often do not know how to be
active, socially important and attractive in terms of cooperation for local communities. Intergenerational
activities offer older people the opportunity to be actively involved in social life, supporting the educational
and pedagogical process of young people. In this regard, we propose a series of measures that could
improve the lives of the elderly:
setting up an emergency helpline to provide counselling and guidance to the elderly, including the elderly
with disabilities, to specialized services;
creating a special financing system for social services for the elderly;
strengthening and improving social services at the community level;
investing in the infrastructure necessary for the provision and development of social services (day centres,
social canteens, home care units, etc.);
setting up multi-functional community centres in marginalized areas, to provide integrated services to
people in extreme poverty;
involvement of civil society in the activities of residential centres;
diversification of services offered in residential centres for a better quality of life of the elderly;
continuous training of staff in this sector;
improving staff communication in relation to the elderly;
maintaining a social life of the beneficiaries in the centres;
improving the activities of maintaining the relationship with the family;
creating outdoor spaces for relaxation or the development of activities.
Potential barriers
Sociological studies identify the elderly as one of the most vulnerable categories of the population, which
are becoming increasingly dependent on social assistance services, in the context in which informal and
traditional structures (family) are falling apart. The vulnerability of the elderly is determined by the
diminution of the social defence potential by leaving the active social circuit, the loss of roles marginalizes
them both in the family and society, from active people to passive people, from husband/wife to widows.
From the economic point of view, they are affected by the decrease of incomes, because they are
insufficient to ensure a decent, biological life, through increased receptivity to diseases, disabilities,
dependence and from a psychological point of view, through psychological and psychopathological
changes of involution.
The loss of roles marginalizes them both in the family and society. Labour migration has left behind
hundreds of thousands of parents and grandparents, alone in their homes, forced to fend for themselves.
Because our country does not have a well-developed care system, the fate of the elderly is at the mercy
of destiny, many of them being abandoned, neglected, isolated, affected by loneliness or living the feeling
of uselessness. To reduce the risks posed by the ageing population, the Government must aim at
implementing policies that:
To ensure a longer life and healthy jobs for working-age elderly population.
to analyse the policy on social allowances for pensioners.
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to analyse the legislation related to early retirement and the future retirement age
The social field in general and that of social services, in particular, must promote the finding of solutions
to the pressing social problems of society and implement measures to increase the quality of life of older
people. In this regard, we propose a series of measures that could improve the lives of the elderly:
promoting the positive image of the elderly in the community and developing community education
programs on preventing and combating forms of violence, abuse and neglect of the elderly;
promoting active ageing through sports and supporting the access of the elderly to gyms, swimming pools,
sports fields, as well as in any public space intended for sports, cultural and leisure activities, etc .;
health promotion campaigns (promoting a healthy diet among the elderly, promoting mental health,
cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, etc.);
campaigns to promote the rights of the elderly;
informing the elderly population about the benefits of volunteering to promote an active life and
intergenerational tolerance;
Involvement of volunteers in the case of single people with light care needs: shopping, housekeeping,
administration of goods, accompaniment, etc. and training of informal carers;
increasing the access of the elderly to basic services in the community, accessible, available and at a
reasonable cost;
identifying the elderly who face the highest risk of loneliness, social exclusion and/or depression;
setting up or supporting the operation of day centres where various activities are carried out: care for the
elderly, physical and mental recovery, maintenance and promotion of health, occupational therapy, music
therapy, leisure, counselling and legal advice, etc.
Interviews and results
The interviews were conducted during December 2020 at the Home for the Elderly 'O Noua Sansa'
Marasesti. The employees who work directly with the elderly and have extensive experience were
interviewed. The interview sheet was sent a few days before to the people interviewed to have enough
time to prepare the answers, the duration of the interview was on average 25 minutes. The interviews
were conducted to extract best working practices with the elderly.
The purpose of the interviews was:
to understand what working with seniors implies
to understand what educators teaching seniors/caregivers need to consider
to provide recommendations concerning the cooperation between different educators/ facilitators/
volunteers
The interviews were codified as the following example: VPV-1-BN
VPV = Voluntariat pentru Viata - Name of the organization
1 = number of the interview
BN = Name or pseudonym of the interviewed person
The partial transcripts of the interviews are presented at Appendix 5. The responses to interviews
validated the results from the desk research when it comes to the misconception about the elderly.
Prejudices and misconceptions such as “elderly cannot learn new skills” or, seniors are “more confusing
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than helpful” are totally wrong and unfair. The respondents confirmed the fact that the elderly are an
inexhaustible source of information and experiences. Moreover, working with the elderly revealed their
willingness to contribute to society with information from the experiences gained in her life. For this
reason, a well-designed approach can change the mentality of the Romanian society about the role and
importance of the elderly in the life of the community.
To design an appropriate approach, the interview addressed the training needs. Respondents from
Romania seemed to be highly specialised in their field of work, receiving training every three years, on
average. It was noticed that less training was received in the field of interpersonal, motivational and
personal development. Thus, the staff working with seniors need to possess a set of skills to help
overcome stereotypes and foster elderly engagement. This can be achieved by training courses and by
providing ideas for practical activities, tips and recommendations. A range of suggestions refers to
socializing at the group level, exchange of experience, practices and social meetings with the community,
involvement in volunteer or charitable activities.
Besides the role of the staff, respondents consider that the community plays an important role in the
seniors’ active ageing. Intergenerational activities were recommended as producing extraordinary impact
especially on the morale of the elderly.
As general conclusions, most of the respondents mentioned that patience, communication and empathy
are those skills that help the overall relationship with the elderly.
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Chapter 3. European synthesis report on needs analysis
European synthesis report on needs analysis will constitute the premises for the creation of an innovative
educational context for educators. The report offers organizations working with seniors the possibility to
adapt the procedures with methods agreed at the European level.
Research team: Ovidiu Acomi, Nicoleta Acomi
Political framework
Education of the elderly is a must, as it leads to improvement in the quality of their lives, influences their
self-esteem, their feeling of accomplishment and self-realization while providing the younger generations
with the opportunity to take advantage of the experiences of the seniors. Useful work and non-personal
interests are the two main elixirs extending one’s youth to over the age of sixty. (Siguencia, 2013)
Adult learning and education are vital in reaching all of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, (UN,
2015). Moreover, SDG 4 is about “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting
lifelong learning opportunities for all”, implicitly understanding adult as well as senior learners as target
groups of education.
Several associations and organizations across Europe advocates for recognising more explicitly the role of
non-formal adult education in providing learning opportunities for the elderly.
The European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) is a voice of non-formal adult education in
Europe. They consider that non-formal education fosters social inclusion and participation of the elderly.
The association agree that the aspect of ageing will need to be considered in all policy fields and older
persons will need to be involved in decision-making processes to foster inclusion (EAEA, 2021). EAEA
encourages the cooperation between different services, e.g. social services, care homes and ALE (Adult
Learning and Education) providers to assure an active inclusion and participation of the elderly.
As globally active organisations, the Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education
Association (DVV International) and the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE) propose efficient
ways to promote and support ALE worldwide (DVV, 2021). In their view, the professional adult educators
will be the ones who not only manage teaching/learning in programmes and courses, but who also assist
policy-makers in shaping the overall field of practice. Professionalization should help adult educators to
play this role effectively so that they themselves are conscientious about their role and capacities as
change agents. Professionalization is about creating conditions for delivering good practice based on
appropriate concepts, ideally in the framework of an enabling policy environment.
AGE Platform Europe is the voice of older persons at the EU level, aiming to promote older people’s human
rights at the EU and international level, mainly access to employment, new technologies, information
and education. Their work focus on improving the European Union, Council of Europe and United Nations
legal framework to ensure older people can enjoy their human rights as any other citizens, EU equal
treatment directive, possible UN convention on the rights of older people (AgePlatform, 2017).
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The European Council of European Union emphasizes the need to strengthen social inclusion and mutual
solidarity between generations. They highlight the necessity of including ageing in all policy fields and
involve older persons, in particular older women, in all decision-making processes affecting their lives (EC,
European Council of the European Union, 2020). The Council invited the European Commission to consider
dedicating a chapter of its 'Green Paper on Ageing' to the rights of older persons. In the paper Improving
the well-being of older persons in the era of digitalisation, the Council highlights the opportunities, but
also the potential risks for older persons in a digitalised world. They mentioned that digitalisation helped
to reach older persons during the COVID-19 crisis, but also that the digital gap between generations is
significant and increases with age.
Provisions for elderly
Locating elder people in a convenient senior centre is an important step, and all aspects of such a decision
need to be evaluated. It is important to determine if choices are available. At this stage, it is necessary to
evaluate which senior centre could most closely serve an elder’s needs (E.L. Siegler, 2015). There is a wide
range of needs to be considered:
Expressive needs are related to the activity carried out for its own sake. These are activities in which older
adults derive satisfaction, pleasure, or meaning.
Contribution needs are related to the feeling of being wanted and needed, they can be addressed through
educational opportunities that allow seniors to act as mentors or peer counsellors.
Influence needs are simply defined as the desire for political skill and wisdom so programmes that empower
seniors can have influence and control over their quality of life. Being a member of a community is a
fundamental human need.
Moreover, personal well-being has been shown to depend heavily on social engagement and levels of trust
between citizens. Learning is a part of the process of finding and maintaining a satisfying social identity,
trust in one’s neighbours and understanding of where one fits within one or more broader communities
(geographical communities, professional or occupational communities, religious communities, interest
groups etc.). Courses that address these needs teach about legal rights, or how seniors can assume
leadership roles within their communities.
Transcendence need is fulfilled with courses that offer to seniors opportunities to advance artistically,
educationally, physically, and occupationally so the learners feel better off in later life compared with an
earlier time in life (Wacker & Roberto 2008)
From institutional care to community-based alternatives
To the authors’ knowledge, no comprehensive data is available for the number of older people in
institutional care in Europe or globally. The proportion of people older than 65 receiving residential care
in the European Union is on average 3.3 per cent. With 9.3 per cent, Iceland has the highest proportion of
persons (65 and over) receiving long-term residential care (Bulić & Anguelova-Mladenova, 2012).
Across the EU many people of all ages and different conditions (elderly, persons with disabilities or mental
health problems) live in residential institutions which tend to segregate them from the community (EC,
2009). Studies and research funded by the Commission provide evidence in support of the transition from
institutional care to community-based alternatives. The main focus is a care reform that finds solutions
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for more humane, person-centred, and individualised models of care. Ten years later, in 2020, The
European Expert Group on the transition from institutional to community-based care presented the
Report on the transition from institutional care to Community-Based Services in 27 EU Member States
(Šiška & Beadle-Brown, 2020).
The political framework at the European level in the field of elderly as included in the Charter of
Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Art 25, addresses the right of living independently for older
people, Art 25. In this respect, there is a broad political commitment, at the European and international
level, for the transition from institutional to community-based care for all user groups, including the
elderly.
Community-based supports and services are designed to help community-dwelling older adults remain
safely in their homes and delay or prevent institutionalization. The researchers commissioned by the EU
emphasized different levels of implementation of community-based alternatives, across Europe (EEG,
2020).
Only a few countries have established in law the maximum size of community-based residential settings.
This protects to some extent against the development of new institutions as has happened in other
countries.
Although some national legislations clearly set a priority for deinstitutionalisation and prohibits both the
building of new large residential care institutions and the expansion of existing residential institutions, the
definition of “large” is over 50 places this is clearly not in line with the principles of a community or
independent living.
Other legal systems even call for deinstitutionalisation to encourage the institutional culture. For example,
the participation of service users in decision-making is restricted individuals usually have no or minimal
influence on the services and support they receive and do not have a choice about who provides their
support even in these new so-called “community settings”.
Systems for monitoring the quality of residential services should be developed and implemented, along
with training for staff on how to provide support in the community.
In addition, the profession of a carer should be legally recognised, especially of the elderly; that would
provide more opportunities for the professional development of carers, their training and lifelong learning.
As a good practice, according to some national legislations, a person can choose his/her assistant/s and the
personal assistance direct payment is no longer means-tested.
Other good practices reported, where several municipalities provided communal meals for the elderly and
some even organised older people into small teams to cook their meals.
Adult day services centres provide coordinated services in a community setting. There are three types:
social, medical/health and specialized support.
Senior centres serve as “community focal points” and gateways to health, educational, social and
recreational services.
Provisions for elderly educators
Based on our research, it resulted that the educators, caregivers and facilitators are mainly educated and
guided at the workplace, rather than participation in a course that develops their skills to work with elderly
persons. Of course, their profession is subject to specialization courses and diplomas in the field of work.
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Despite specialization, there are not opportunities for developing the interpersonal skills and teaching
competencies needed for working with adults.
Teaching for older people should be delivered with the same enthusiasm and conviction with which it is
provided to younger patients.
Teaching older adults
Older adults are not too old to stop smoking, start exercising, or change their diets. Learning capacity
usually remains at an efficient level well into the 80s (EuroMedInfo, 2021). Instead of using stereotypical
modifications, such as shorter sessions or a slower pace, make sure to assess each older person
individually. It is important to give all older learners a chance to show their inquisitiveness and lifelong
experience.
Assess learning needs for the older adult. During all phases of the teaching-leaning process (including
assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation), you should focus your attention not just on the
existing medical problem, but also on the potentially numerous functional and psychosocial problems that
are common to old age.
Teaching strategies to consider for older adults
For the teaching-learning process to be effective, it must be carefully planned and several aspects need
to be taken into account:
Some elders have increasing difficulty understanding complex sentences.
Present new information at a slower rate than you do for younger patients.
Speak in a low tone of voice and allow enough time for the patient to assimilate and integrate conceptual
material.
Allow plenty of time for the assimilation and integration of conceptual material, and emphasize concrete
rather than abstract material.
Reduce environmental distractions, both to compensate for any age-related hearing loss and to help the
patient with attention and concentration.
Group teaching may help some elderly patients increase their health-related problem-solving abilities.
When suggesting lifestyle changes, be aware that many elderly patients are cautious and may not make
changes easily.
Elders’ motivations to learn
The main basic motivations for elders to learn are, among others: to use their spare time, to extend
knowledge content and to achieve things they could not before, for various reasons (personal
achievement). Since the elderly have a specific way of and for learning, the profile of the educator for
these learners must also be specific. It is advantageous for learning that the educator is prepared, not only
academically, but also social and culturally (Requejo-Osorio, 2008). Thus, teaching should also include
integration into a modern society, to learn how to enjoy life, culture and friends (bearing in mind their
typical age limitations too, for example, chronic diseases, functional limitations), and to feel that despite
their age, elders have much to offer to themselves and others.
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Challenges for elderly educators
Some practitioners find themselves in a situation of wanting or needing to organize some sort of learning
activity for older persons who have had no formal preparation for teaching, especially teaching the adult
as a learner. Thus, directing a pre-retirement planning program, teaching nutrition information at a
congregate meal site, or instructing a group of elderly on how to fill out some forms often must be done
by instinct, by trial and error, or by modelling from past experiences as a learner (Hiemstra, 1980).
Another problem arises about how best to organize and present the necessary information to insure
maximum learning. Questions about appropriate teaching techniques, how to structure the learning
experience, concerns toward learner needs and learning inhibitors, and how to evaluate progress are
some of those undergirding this problem.
A third major problem facing several people who attempt to conduct learning experiences focus on the
role of the learner. Researchers suggest that adult learners should take a large and active role in the entire
teaching and learning process. This role includes active participation in such activities as assessing needs,
planning content, securing or serving as learning resources, and being involved in the implementation
activities. The result of such active involvement is the development of personal ownership of and
responsibility for the learning.
Initiatives to support learning and active ageing of elderly
Several actions have been observed for creative use of leisure time of seniors, the initiation into the new
areas of knowledge, active participation in the culture, meeting the people who share common interests
or building the social contacts area, especially for lonely people. High social awareness that the third stage
of life is valuable and characterized by a desire for knowledge and skills, enhances the interest of seniors
in their education for pleasure.
Education is a key factor in keeping older people active and it is implemented in several forms of:
lectures (with the humanities, medical, biological, legal),
language courses (English, German, Spanish),
computer classes,
recreation - improve (walking, swimming, gymnastics, dance salsa, workshops, psychological),
seminar,
cultural activities
groups of interest.
There is a general trend to create flexible and responsive models that attract a broader range of elder
individuals, able to meet a diversity of needs. Researchers have investigated and classified innovative
models into six types (Pasadani & Thompson, 2010), with a focus on greater age diversity, health
promotion, and intellectual stimulation:
community centres for all ages,
wellness centres for active adults over 50,
lifelong learning/arts centres for adults over 50,
continuum of care/transitions for older people to age in place,
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entrepreneurial centres focusing on employment and productivity,
café programs for adults 50 years and over that mix age groups and provide a community space for meals,
education, and entertainment.
Examples of non-formal education which lead to dynamic development are Universities of the Third Age,
workshops, training. There are several national models for implementation:
French model: high level of didactic and research activities combined with a diversity of organizational
forms: from the full integration with the university, across the close cooperation with the university, to the
independence
Polish model: Older people are here in two roles, as a student or as a teacher. Activities conducted at the
UTA in Czestochowa deepen seniors’ knowledge, allow them to meet new people, and above all, care for
their physical and mental health. The activities also allow seniors to achieve some independence and dignity
of the elderly.
English model: also called the Cambridge model, was based on self-help and mutual aid of listeners. Seniors
themselves organize activities using their knowledge and experience. The emphasis is put on experiment
and group teaching. The British call this model “intellectual democracy”, where you can be both a student
and a teacher. This model is supposed to encourage helping through volunteering.
o The educational offer of universities is varied: there are taught the academic subjects, as also
carried out the practical activities. The program is mainly dependent on students interests and
skills.
o The curriculum should be as wide as its human and financial resources allow. Remuneration shall
not be paid to any member of the University for teaching and other supporting activity.
o Standing Committee for Education programme. Its purpose is the coordination of British
universities activities and information exchange between their students, which takes place mainly
through the Internet. The specific objectives of the program, among others, are gathering of
educational materials, editing a magazine for students UTA - newsletter entitled Sources,
organizing the studies for people interested in the selected topic, which is enabled by contacting
via the Internet the people with similar interests, organizing the on- line learning (u3a.org).
Irish model: not used the term UTA. However, the senior educational model is very similar to the British
self-help model. Members organize the educational, cultural and movement meetings.
Spanish model:
o Universities frequently include extracurricular activities that enable seniors to continue learning
more informally, although this has never been the main objective of this kind of institution. Senior
learners obtain a certificate and a diploma after they finish their studies, which is recognised by
the university although it is not valid for official accreditation at a national or international level.
Because of the formality of the universities, the senior university programmes as a whole, and the
subjects and activities, in particular, are designed following strict rules to ensure the pedagogy is
adequate for seniors’ and social needs, to guarantee effectiveness and efficiency, and to include a
quality evaluation. These programmes are also used as laboratories by research groups for testing
and innovating.
o Institutions offering specifically designed activities for the elderly are also common. They do not
have an education programme, but they create environments for informal learning where seniors
do activities they enjoy: dancing, chess, theatre, some kind of handcrafts, or physical exercise.
These kinds of activities are offered by a wide variety of institutions: adult associations, retirement
homes, town councils or cultural associations. Of particular note are the “Third age classrooms”
(Aulas de la tercera edad),
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Italian model: They offer their students the classes in form of lectures, going to the cinema and theatre,
exercises, they conduct research activities with students participation, promote the intergenerational
integration
Finish model: multidisciplinary lecture series, seminars, courses, IT teaching, distance teaching, online
teaching, research, publishing, study groups and study-related travel. Activities are based on lifelong
learning, academic teaching and opportunities to participate in planning. Teaching is also provided in
cooperation with summer universities, adult education centres and other partners.
The Romanian University of Third Age. To better understand the place that the education of the elderly
occupies in the life of Romanians, we got in contact with the founder of the first University of Third Age in
Romania. We were very pleased to find out that the establishment of the first university in 2016 was highly
appreciated and several seniors of 55+ enrolled. Currently, there are two such universities in Romania.
The social activity of the elderly people can take many forms, seen as being informal education. This could
be, for example, the activities within the charitable organization, Universities of the Third Age, senior
clubs, local communities (including operating at churches and religious associations), trade organizations,
self-help activities, a variety of socio-cultural societies or circles of rural areas.
The areas of informal education (Kargul, 2005), which reveals the activity of the individuals are:
Professional experience
Unpaid work outside home
Leisure and tourism
Care for the body in health and disease
Social activity (socializing, volunteering, political activity, the operation in cooperatives, clubs, associations
Learning through art
Another form of social activities is voluntary. Volunteer work is defined as “unpaid work provided to
parties to whom the worker owes no contractual, familial or friendship obligations” (Wilson1997).
Senior clubs organize a variety of leisure activities, cultural activities, physical, social, development of pro-
social attitudes, cultural, moral, clubs are in the range, for example, lectures, forums, hobby circles,
seminars, educational courses, common participation in cultural events and creative amateur activities.
Senior clubs also exist in the network Internet, such a www.klub.senior.pl.
Good practices methods/ motivation
KIFLI- Keeping Fit in Later Life was a 2-year international project funded by the European Union’s ‘Grundtvig’
programme. The project developed innovative training material aimed at older people (working or retired)
to help them maintain and improve physical fitness and thus improve their quality of life. The outcomes of
the project included a collection of useful exercises, instruction videos, social game-based physical
activities, tests and motivational material. The objectives were twofold: 1, inspiring and motivating older
people to start or pursue physical exercises, 2, providing hints and tips about how to take physical exercise
in a safe but still effective way.
ICT: using the Internet and looking for specific information; email communication; using the Social media:
Skype, Facebook, Google +, You Tube, LinkedIn, etc., especially with those who have friends and relatives
away (overcoming the physical distance); tackling with decreased mobility and using web-based services
such as e-payment systems, e-services, e-support, e-government, e-taxation. Other examples provided by
partners include the use of web services for banking and finance, buying tickets, accessing civil services,
Google maps and applications, photo albums such as Picasa, participation in forums, social networks, etc.
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Some others would also include modern technology devices (mobile phones, tablets and the relevant
mobile applications); others would refer to accessibility tools for the disabled, e.g. people with low vision
and hearing loss.
Languages: Greetings and getting to know each other; Food and eating out; Health; Housing; Shopping;
Family and friendship; Time and weather; Travel; Work; Leisure and hobbies. Besides the Communication
in Foreign Languages as one of the Key Competence for Lifelong Learning these courses also contribute to
other competences such as Communication in the mother tongue, Digital competence, Learning to learn,
Cultural awareness and expression, Social and civic competences.
Arts and Culture: The activities include mostly drama, theatre, singing, dancing, folklore, creative arts and
handicrafts. The latter seems to be very well-accepted by seniors and examples of content include mosaic,
textile dyeing, felt-making, sewing courses, glass painting, icon painting, tiffany techniques, patchwork,
mandala courses, landscape painting, right side brain drawing techniques, and bead jewellery making.
Physical Health (physical education, sports and sport-oriented activities, physical and related exercises, e.g.
Yoga, Swimming, walking, Gymnastics). These courses and their outcomes contribute also to the
improvement of Psychological/Mental Health of seniors, both areas being interrelated.
Potential barriers
There is a need to develop a system that will enable the involvement of seniors to participate in
associations, volunteer work and family support.
Barriers perceived in the participation of the elderly in education are rather subjective and often are a
result of low self-esteem, and conviction of reduction in cognitive abilities along with the age progresses.
It appears indispensable to prepare an educational offer, which would be well adapted to the needs and
possibilities of the elderly, otherwise, the issue of social exclusion, and, above all, of the digital divide, will
be solved only through the natural process of generation change.
Elderly people living in rural areas face the consequences of urbanisation and labour migration which
results in villages and farms being progressively emptied of younger people who may otherwise have been
able to support them (Bulić & Anguelova-Mladenova, 2012). This can lead to increased loneliness and the
social segregation of elderly people.
Older workers can pose a challenge to the needs of adult educators to ‘justify themselves as experts’
(Findsen, 2006), particularly against their long-established experiential knowledge.
European and international initiatives
Active ageing means helping people stay in charge of their own lives for as long as possible as they age
and, where possible, to contribute to the economy and society. Addressing the ageing challenge and
turning it into an opportunity depends on extending working lives, developing supplementary pensions
and ensuring that all workers have access to adequate social protection. (EC, 2019).
Several international initiatives aim at providing political frameworks to value the potential of seniors, as
well as to support the elderly to make active lifestyle choices while ageing.
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Celebration
International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, mobilize political
will and resources to address global problems and celebrate and reinforce the achievements of humanity.
In this regard:
On 14 December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated October 1 as the International Day
of Older Persons (resolution 45/106).
On August 19, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5847 declaring August 21st as National
Senior Citizens Day.
On 29 April 2008, the Slovenian Presidency of the European Union announced that it was proposing to
declare 29 April European Day of solidarity and cooperation between generations. The first EU Day was
officially launched on 29 April 2009.
EU Strategy
As Europe’s population is getting older, the number of lonely, isolated or socially
excluded people is projected to increase. Within the European Commission, the DG for Employment,
Social Affairs and Inclusion is responsible for the European Pillar of Social Rights. Its principles around
social protection and inclusion, so the right to an adequate pension or long-term care, are relevant for the
social inclusion of older people (EC, 2019).
The European Accessibility Act (EC, 2019) establishes common European accessibility requirements for
many digital products and services, including electronic communication devices; audio-visual media
services; banking services and the emergency number 112. These requirements support the social
inclusion of older people and people living with a disability by giving them broader access to a range of
services and products.
Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing
The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) adopted in 2002 represented a major
breakthrough in the way the world seeks to support older people and move towards building a society for
people of all ages. It focuses on three priority areas:
older persons and development;
advancing health and well-being into old age;
ensuring enabling and supportive environments.
Active Ageing Index (AAI)
The AAI is a product of a joint project undertaken in 2012 by the European Commission Directorate
General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion together with the Population Unit of the UNECE and
the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Vienna. (EC, 2013). The main scope of the
AAI is to offer to national and European policy makers a way to measure the untapped potential of seniors
across the EU Member States and beyond. Among the information provided, the AAI measures the extent
to which older people can realise their full potential in terms of employment, participation in social and
cultural life and independent living.
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European Year of Volunteering
The year 2011 was declared the European Year of Volunteering. Its main idea was “to bring voluntary
work as a basic dimension of active citizenship and democracy to the collective consciousness of the
Member States“. The voluntary commitment of older people can be considered crucial to this effort
(Ehlers & Naegele, 2012). Referring to elderly voluntary work, several advantages were observed
volunteers of 65+, as follows:
Expansion of networks
Increased feeling of being needed
Strengthening of self-esteem
Development of new skills
Becoming aware of the ability to change things even in old age
Interest in additional voluntary activities
Improved state of health and well-being of volunteers
European Year for Active Ageing
To mark the 10th Anniversary of the Political Declaration and the Madrid International Plan of Action on
Ageing, the European Union declared 2012 as the European Year for Active Ageing.
The main objectives of the European Year for Active Ageing have been:
Promote active ageing in employment;
Promote active ageing in the community including through active citizenship, volunteering and caring;
Promote active ageing at home through enabling healthy ageing and independent living.
Enhance cooperation and solidarity between the generations.
European innovation partnership on active and healthy ageing EIP on AHA
The European Innovation Partnership in Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP on AHA) is an initiative launched
by the European Commission to foster innovation and digital transformation in the field of active and
healthy ageing (EC, 2011). The main scope is to strengthen EU research and innovation by bringing
together all the relevant actors at EU, national and regional levels across different policy areas to handle
a specific societal challenge and involve all the innovation chain levels. The initiative pursues a Triple Win
for Europe:
Improving the health and quality of life of Europeans with a focus on older people;
Supporting the long-term sustainability and efficiency of health and social care systems;
Enhancing the competitiveness of EU industry through business and expansion in new markets
Ageing Well with ICT
Digital technology can help older people to stay healthy, independent and active at work or in their
community for longer and it helps to improve our quality of life (EC, 2019). As part of its Digital Single
Market strategy, the European Commission has proposed political measures for ageing well in the
Communication on Health and Care. It identifies three priorities:
Citizens' secure access to their health data, including across borders, enabling citizens to access their health
data across the EU;
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Personalised medicine through shared European data infrastructure, allowing researchers and other
professionals to pool resources (data, expertise, computing processing and storage capacities) across the
EU;
Citizen empowerment with digital tools for user feedback and person-centred care using digital tools to
empower people to look after their health, stimulate prevention and enable feedback and interaction
between users and healthcare providers.
The biggest benefit technology can have on ageing and longevity is creating opportunities for people to
connect. Technology adoption and use have increased tremendously, with 44% of those 50 and older
more comfortable with technology now than before the pandemic (WEF, 2021). Moreover, Digital
technologies may be used to improve the quality of life for older adults, allowing them to age in place and
remain connected to their loved ones. “More broadly, it can help create an inclusive labour and living
environment for older adults to lead healthy and productive lives.”, Victor Dzau, President, National
Academy of Medicine, USA.
European Networks
Many European Networks support the elderly in various countries and internationally. The most
prominent are listed below, to provide readers with further study materials and networking opportunities.
AGE Platform Europe is a European network of non-profit organisations of and for people aged 50+, which
aims to promote the interests of citizens aged 50+ in EU; https://www.age-platform.eu/
European Network for Action on Ageing and Physical Activity, http://www.eunaapa.org/
European Ageing Network, https://www.ean.care/en
The HelpAge Global Network, https://www.helpage.org/
European Network in Ageing Studies, http://www.ageingstudies.eu/
WHO Healthy ageing, https://www.euro.who.int/
Healthy Ageing web site of EuroHealthNet, http://www.healthyageing.eu/
European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, https://www.euro.centre.org/
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE, 2019), Working Group on Ageing,
https://www.unece.org/
International Federation on Ageing, https://ifa.ngo/
European Commission, Policy Responses to Active Ageing,
https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1062&langId=en
Global Ageing Network, https://globalageing.org/
European Connected Health Alliance, https://echalliance.com/
SeniorNet, https://seniornet.org/
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Conclusions of the research
The project was coordinated by TEAM4Excellence from Romania, while the research on the essential
needs of educators to support seniors was led by Institut Badań i Innowacji w Edukacji from Poland. The
leader coordinated the desk research, interviews and development of the report on essential needs of
adult educators. Partners conducted interviews and elaborated country reports.
The novelty of this research approach consists in the research design for developing “Essential needs of
educators to support seniors”. The final European synthesis report on needs analysis is also an innovative
and transferable result. There was not currently such analysis for the educators who work with seniors.
The primary and secondary research assisted project partner organisations to better understand what
working with seniors implies, what educators teaching seniors need to consider (e.g functional
restrictions, lack of self-esteem, age discrimination) and how target groups may be involved during the
project implementation phases.
When it comes to the activities that would foster elderly engagement, we understood that, regardless of
the age and the individual experience of the seniors, valorisation/valuing a persona is attractive for any
age. This gave us the freedom to choose from a wide range of activities and at the same time, challenged
us to select the most motivating and enjoyable ideas, able to add value for seniors as well as for adult
educators.
After analysing the interviews from the teacher of elderly perspective, we understood that one of the
main difficulties encountered appears to be the self-sufficiency of the elderly. Probably, this self-
sufficiency was a motivating factor for the British model of the university of the third age, designed as
“intellectual democracy”, where seniors are empowered to share from their own vast experience, being
both students and teachers. Addressing this may be one of the key enablers for the successful engagement
of the elderly in further training and education.
During the research, it was confirmed to us that the most common misconception about the elderly is
about their social role, namely the perception by society as a social burden. Thus, active ageing and senior
participation in social life require a partnership between citizens and society. Within this partnership, the
role of the state is to enable and provide high-quality social protection. Besides, the role of NGOs,
employers and educational organizations is to facilitate and motivate seniors for continuous training. In
turn, the seniors have the duty to use their lifelong learning and share intergenerational knowledge and
experiences with young people.
Concluding on the above, there is an urgent need to start changing mentalities and replacing the "top-
down" solutions with those in both directions. The good news is that various national and international
initiatives demonstrated an increased interest at the policy level for active ageing and inclusion of the
elderly.
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Recommendations for the design of the training course modules
Analysing the common challenges that adult educators face, as well as the needs of seniors in their own
countries, our consortium noticed not only that our internal capabilities must be improved for addressing
the newly identified challenges, but also the fact that the needs were previously not adequately defined.
This category of educators has to consider various problems resulted from health or mental problems,
even psychological and low self-esteem. This was the main reason for carrying out interviews where the
needs and challenges were thoroughly investigated. This way, we ensured that the course modules and
scenarios which we will develop during the project will fit the purpose.
The suggested plan of the “Course modules for educators, facilitators and volunteers” are:
Course duration: 40 - 60 hours
Methods: Flipped classroom, Assessment & Evaluation, Community-based learning, MOOC, collaborative
learning, active learning.
Tools: Videos, Articles, PPTs, Learner’s Diary, Evaluation Forms (quizzes), Activity templates, Action plan
template, Written resources (PDF, PPT, etc.)
Facilitator manual and worksheets:
Know your senior: Definition of ageing, Challenges of ageing, Sociologic changes of ageing,
Physical changes of ageing, The ABC of ageing well
Understand your senior: Pillars in the elderly lives, Family, Mental health issues related
Understand your senior: Pillars in the elderly lives, Family, Mental health issues related to ageing,
Myths and Stereotypes about old people and how these can affect them
Work with your senior: Determining Services Needed, Social work personal skills for working with
the Elderly, Communication with the elderly, How to motivate and engage older people, Activities
for elders
Empower seniors to become active citizens for others: Health, Lifestyle aspects
Valuing your senior: Importance of senior citizens in our societies, Improving the quality of life,
Healthy & Active Ageing: Best Practices in Japan, Singapore and EU, Common efforts pieces of
advice on how can we contribute to creating suitable societies for our seniors
Educators/ facilitators and volunteers selected to respond to our interviews were made conscientious
about the importance of their work. We hope that after reading this guide, people will have a greater
appreciation for their work with the elderly.
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Transferability
The methodology presented in the first part of the report can be replicated for other categories of
educators working with persons with special needs. The Essential needs of educators to support seniors
report can be used by adult education organizations to make attractive and relevant courses for educators
working with seniors. National policy makers can add new topics to their agenda. Thus, the findings of the
needs analyses report reflecting the views of educators in a European context will be transferred.
The methodology presented in the first chapter of the report can be replicated for other categories of
educators working with persons with special needs.
The Essential needs of educators to support seniors report can be used by adult education organizations to
make attractive and relevant courses for educators working with seniors
National policy makers can add new topics to their agenda. Thus, the findings of the needs analyses report
reflecting the views of educators in a European context will be transferred.
The report is publicly available at https://trainingclub.eu/senior and transmitted to organizations working
with adults. It is expected the top management of the organizations working with adults in the education
or social care systems have a more comprehensive understanding of the needs of the Educators/
facilitators and encourage them to take part in online courses.
Essential elements of the research are usability and transferability of results. From this perspective,
models that foster seniors’ involvement in activities and good practices were identified, collected and
shared allowing potential workers to adapt and implement within the community.
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About the authors
NICOLETA ACOMI, PhD. Project manager PMP® led 30+ research, education and development projects.
Assoc Prof and Vice-Dean at Constanta Maritime University with 15+ years’ experience, she authored
eight books and several academic articles covering the topics of education & teaching methodologies. As
business developer, she established a university VET centre providing online and face-to-face learning
experiences.
OVIDIU ACOMI, MBA. Member of the Naval Supervisory Board within the Competition Council for a term
of 5 years, member of the Engineering Commission of ARACIS for a term of 4 years, EFQM international
evaluator for the Global EFQM Awards, president of TEAM4Excellence Association, manager of European
projects and management consultant, expert evaluator of the European Commission for research and
innovation projects, member of the Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology (IMarEST) -
UK, Project Management Institute - US, Chartered Management Institute - UK, Institute of Asset
Management - UK, John Maxwell Team - US.
LUIS OCHOA SIGUENCIA, PhD. [ORCID: 0000-0001-8515-0216] Researcher and vice-president at INBIE,
expert in Marketing research and use of ICT in Education and Workplace has more than 20 years’
experience in EU project management. Good communicator in Italian + Polish + English + Spanish and
French. The outcome of his scientific interest has been the publication of more than 100 scientific papers
available free of charge at INBIEs’ web page and research-gate.
RENATA OCHOA-DADERSKA, MA DEA [ORCID: 0000-0003-2838-3296] Has first-hand experience in
transnational project management, proven budget and financial management skills, rich range of
computer technical skills, good organizer and good communicator in Polish + English + Spanish. Didactic
activities: Education through Internet. Lecturer of Management, Planning and Marketing. Author of
several scientific papers in Pedagogical Science and Distance learning available free of charge in research-
gate.
AGATA CHMIELARZ, PhD. Researcher and Expert in art project design. From 2003 has been working in the
Laboratory of Product Design and Design methodology and Conducted classes in Technical Drawing and
Computer.
SAVINO RICCHIUTO, MA. works at the International Relations Office of the Polytechnic of Bari and
manages Erasmus+ mobilities. Master in EURO Project Planning, Master in Administration's Science and
Bachelor in Political Science, International Relations and European Studies with ample work experience in
project design and management of European, regional, local and private funding programs.
FABIOLA PORCELLI, MBA. Master in EURO Project Planning, Master in Administration's Science and
Bachelor in Political Social Science. From 2015 work experience as Project Designer and Manager in
European, regional, local and private funding programs.
LAURA AMORUSO, BA. Bachelor in Political Social Science, from 2018 work experience in partnership
management and communication in European funded programs. Her area of expertise is communication,
English language, tourism and reception.
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MARCO CORTELLINO, MSc. Master's Degree in Computer Engineering at the Polytechnic of Bari,
discussing an experimental thesis in medical informatics and publishing several scientific articles in
important international journals and continuing the research work at the Polytechnic for another two
years after graduation.
MANUEL CARABIAS, PhD. is teaching at the University of Valladolid the subject “Programs and plans for
adult education and seniors”, and external expert due to his experience in working with adults in
Asociacion Deses3. He has a Master's Degree in Psychopedagogy and he has a PhD in lifelong learning. He
is the Project Director and he is in charge of the educational department. He has experience in designing
new training processes adjusted to the European Qualifications Framework and European standards such
as key competences, EntreCom, DigiCom or ESCO.
JONAS MARTIN VEGA, BA. is the leader of Deses3 organization, with more than 25 years of experience in
education for young people and adults. He has designed and implemented more than 20 Erasmus+
projects for young people and adults.
DAMIANA SUDANO, BA. is responsible for the volunteer process, for the communication with people
within the community and project manager for Erasmus+ projects. She led five international projects for
young people and adults, participating in the preparation, writing, development and evaluation phase.
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About the partner organisations
TEAM4Excellence (T4E) is a Romanian association aiming to improve the quality
of life through education, research and consulting activities. To address societal
challenges, they provide learning opportunities and career advice for social
inclusion, development and employability of people, and equip trainers with key
competences and skills to foster personal as well as professional development. Within 30+ EU funded
projects, the association produce and transfer innovation, experience and knowhow through cooperation
with domestic and international partners. By hosting events, training courses and conferences, T4E
strengthen collaboration between people, support organizations and bridge gaps between generations.
The wide expertise in management enable T4E staff to provide consultancy to large companies and SMEs
using EFQM Model and Business Model Canvas.
Foundation "Research and Innovation in Education Institute" [INBIE] is an NGO
Institution situated in Czestochowa Poland, founded in 2014. INBIE promote
equal educational opportunities to all social groups, and fight against social
exclusion and support adult people at risk of marginalization. They cooperate
closely with formal and non-formal educational Institutions, local authorities, and Czestochowa Centre of
Non-Governmental Organizations to develop adults’ new skills and competences to re-join the work force
and search for better life chances. Staff from INBIE do research and work in entrepreneurship,
management, use of ICT in Education and workplace aiming to improve adult people’s professional and
entrepreneurial competencies for creating new services and business to fight against unemployment and
social exclusion.
The social promotion association Petit Pas was founded in Trani, Italy in 2015,
by a group of professionals, trainers and youth leaders motivated by the desire of
improving community, promoting social initiatives inspired by democracy,
equality, and pluralism. Over the years, it has become a structured associative
reality, with a large number of associates and volunteers who have embraced their mission by recognizing
the importance of having inclusive, peaceful and just societies. Our goal is to enhance the level of
knowledge and skills of our community regardless of gender, social background, cultural or educational
background. Several activities significantly engage staff and volunteers by organization of workshops and
training seminars to disadvantaged people, related to the themes of active citizenship, volunteering,
tolerance, inclusion, mutual understanding, social entrepreneurship, sustainable growth, and cultural
development.
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Association Deses3 is a Spanish organization that works with young and adult
people, offering them opportunities for comprehensive training programs, while
giving priority to those who are unemployed or have a cultural, social or economic
disadvantage. They aim at social inclusion and thus provide the space and projects
that allow people to develop their social skills. By organizing training activities and information events on
the topic of health and disease prevention, they contribute to the personal development of individuals
and help them to achieve their full potential physically, intellectually and socially as citizens. With
extensive experience in the creation and implementation of non-formal educational and free-time
activities, Deses3 enable participants to implement new skills in their work and extracurricular activities
for lifelong learning.
Asociatia Voluntariat Pentru Viata is an NGO, based in Marasesti, Romania,
founded in 2012 on the initiative of some specialists in the field of education, art,
history, social assistance. Their mission is to promote volunteering and civic
consciousness by developing activities that respond to the local need of the
community to become aware of the value of volunteering as a tool for active citizenship and human
solidarity. A large part of the activities is focused on supporting disadvantaged people to have access to
education. The association is accredited as a social services provider and it implements projects involving
elderly care services at home and in residential centres. To offer multidisciplinary services for individuals
who are in a critical social difficulty, they conduct social research and monitor the phenomenon of social
exclusion, plan programs of assistance for individuals who are in social crisis and train professionals in
working with underprivileged people.
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Appendix 1 Research interview template
Q1. Introduce yourself and your organisation. How long have you been working with elderly? What is
your role and what kind of activities do you do with seniors (e.g. education, training, caregiving,
healthcare, counselling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work, volunteering, public
service, policy making, etc.)? Your organisation: name, field of action, country, region.
Q2. In your experience, what do you think is the most common misconception about elderly? (e.g.
related to mental health, look, functional ability, role in society, etc.)
Q3. What is the most positive experience that you had while dealing with senior citizens (e.g. an
activity/ real fife moment which was rich, enjoyable, motivating, rewarding, meaningful, value-adding
for you and/or for seniors, etc.)? What activities do you recommend to engage elderly to remain active
in society?
Q4. What kind of relevant training have you received over the last 3 years, to help you in your work? If
so, what kind (e.g. face-to-face, online, conferences, seminars, shadowing, written or video materials,
etc.)? What kind of training would be helpful to you (e.g. what topics and delivery method)?
Q5. What do you think are some of the most valuable character traits (skills) for professionals who work
with elderly individuals?
Q6. In your opinion, what are the most important skills which help the overall relationship and
experience of working with elderly (can be skills related to knowing, understanding, working with,
health, lifestyle, participation, activities, etc.)?
7. What are the difficulties encountered while working with elderly? What is the biggest challenge (e.g.
related to your role, the elderly and/or the immediate environment)?
Q8. How can the community help you more in your work? How can it help elderly? What opportunities
for social activities could be (e.g. outdoor, indoor, online, intergenerational activities, games,
mentoring, etc)?
Q9. Do you have anything else to add?
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Appendix 2 Research interviews in Spain
Q1. Introduce yourself and your organisation. How long have you been working with elderly? What is
your role