The measures aiming to contain the spread of COVID-19 could be resumed in the instruction “Stay At Home”. For many people living in poor housing conditions, this advice would not necessarily contribute to protect their health. For older persons who are at risk of severe outcomes if infected by the COVID-19, staying isolated at home could also result in worsen health status due to isolation, depression, or the absence of care.
The current COVID-19 crisis also proved that congregated settings, including residential and care homes for older adults, are at higher risk of contamination due to to living in close proximity to others and underlying comorbidities of residents. The reported figures show that older people living in those settings have suffered like no other group from the impact of the epidemic. The COVID-19 crisis harshly reminded us that the current care model for people in need of care (some older people or people living with disabilities) is not sustainable: our care policies and services need to shift from overcrowded care residences to the provision of quality care in people’s homes and communities (see also this article in Spanish in the ‘El Independent’ journal)
A preventive approach to health should also be reflected in our built environment. An age-friendly housing stock offers opportunities for all of us to be able to age in our communities while maintaining our intrinsic capacity and personal autonomy, as we engage in our later years.
In Sweden, an interesting practice to convert the existing housing stock to make them more age-friendly has been through the creation of a state-owned company (Statens Bostadsomvandling AB), whose has been taking over properties from the municipalities located in predominantly rural municipalities which are often considered as weak housing markets, and retrofitted them into age-friendly “extra care homes”.
In this one-hour webinar, the Homes4Life European project invites experts to discuss how an age-friendly approach to housing is more than ever needed to ensure people can age in healthy environments.
Homes4Life is featured in the latest newsletter of IDIH – the International Digital Health Cooperation for Preventive, Integrated, Independent and Inclusive Living.
Our partner Università Politecnica delle Marche – Prof. Gian Marco Revel – is an expert member of IDIH’s group focused on Independent and Connected Living. He gave an interview which promotes the Homes4Life age-friendly homes supporting health and well-being.
Read the full interview in the IDIH May newsletter here.
The whole newsletter is also available as a PDF here (full interview on page 23).
The partners of the Homes4Life project are glad to announce that a series of webinars will be organised throughout June and July 2020.
Their objective will be to present the work and studies carried out so far since the beginning of the project, to discuss their outcomes and perspectives, but also to tackle crucial questions related to the concept of age-friendly housing.
External experts will be invited as well and will share their visions. All webinars will be accessible to all and for free.
The 1st webinar will be specific to the Spanish context and will focus on the challenges and opportunities that represents having access to a home for the whole life (NB: This event will be held in Spanish only):
Una vivienda para toda la vida: reto y oportunidad
ECHAlliance is organising a webinar on Wednesday 13th May at 13:00 CET focused on Social Care & Home Care in COVID Times.
As the COVID-19 emergency has unfolded across the globe the impact on health and care systems has been clear to see. Less clear at the beginning but starkly obvious now is the impact on Social Care, Community Care and Home Care has been as if not more dramatic. Lack of equipment, isolation and remote monitoring and support have become crucial.
In the 5th of the series of Pop-Up Ecosystem, this webinar will feature again ECHAlliance ecosystems and members from around the globe to hear how they have tackled the crisis in care and most importantly how they have used digital health solutions to continue to provide that care that is so vital.
In the face of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on community health and social services across Europe, the European Social Network (ESN)’s CEO Alfonso Lara Montero has co-authored a declaration supporting a necessary change in the long-term care model in Spain.
While the declaration was drafted against the difficulties faced by care professionals to support the most vulnerable in Spain, which has become one of the most affected countries, the analysis and the proposals made may be applicable to many other European countries.
The declaration states that this health crisis has revealed the inadequacy of care systems to cope with the vast numbers of already fragile and vulnerable people who have become sick as a consequence of the pandemic. The analysis of this situation should help us identify and assess potential risks to inform future actions in community care. This analysis may include ensuring continuity of care, coordination between services but also between health and social care systems, addressing who is responsible for what, and balancing values and care with people’s health and freedoms.
Among the various recommendations, the declaration fosters the design of environments for a meaningful life:
This involves new models of architectural design, organisational and management formulas that are as close as possible to living in one’s home. These models encourage living environments based on guaranteeing privacy, assuring personalised care, reducing staff turnover, and organising meaningful activities per people’s choice and in contact with the community.
The declaration concludes that the current situation can become an opportunity to achieve better care for the people who need it, progressing towards communities of care that commit to ensure that the participation of the most vulnerable becomes a priority.
The European Social Network (ESN) released a toolkit for social services providing care for older people. This toolkit is the result of the ESN work on ageing and care between 2014 and 2016, mainly through its working group on ageing and care, its crosscutting work on integrated social services, and the work on the social services workforce in the framework of its 2014-2017 strategy.
The objective of this toolkit is to provide recommendations and examples of innovative practice for senior professionals working in social services providing care for older people.
The report acknowledges that the shift of health and social care systems’ focus from reaction to prevention of ill health and early detection of risk factors is still ongoing. The benefits for this shift to prevent and delay ill health, thereby promoting and enabling older people to live a healthier, independent life for longer, and to reduce demand for expensive health and social care, have been widely documented. However, preventionis often seen through the medical lens, which can neglect important social, behavioural and environmental aspects of prevention.
Homes4Life partner R2M Solution is organising a series of online webinars called ‘R2M Online Academy’.
On Tuesday 5th May 2020, Homes4Life was presented within a session focused on how to get involved in Horizon 2020 European collaborative research and innovation projects. The presentation detailed available funding and their mechanisms.
This webinar was organised in Italian but it might be replicated in English and other languages in the upcoming weeks.
The webinar has been recorded and is available to watch here.
A recent paper by Laura Sheerman, Hannah R., Marston, Charles Musselwhite, and Deborah Morgan elaborates on the potential of Virtual Assistants (VAs) at times of pandemic.
The paper refers to age-friendly environments and gives examples of how VAs and IoT can support independent living at home, including at times of COVID-19. The research highlights the risks of digital divide, accessibility for persons with speech impairments, and the issue of affordability.
The Homes4Life coordinator, Silvia Urra Uriarte from TECNALIA, was invited by BBKsasoiko to give a one hour online presentation of Homes4Life in the videoconference SASOIKOTARRAK : Space for the innovative promotion of people’s social participation as we age.