VB Project In For Care
Demographic statistics from the European Council predict that declining fertility and growing life expectancy will lead not only to an increased elderly population in Europe, but also to decreasing number of people supporting them. Furthermore, while the proportion of old people in the EU countries will continue to grow, the most remarkable increase will be among the oldest adults. This demographic change generates growing demands for health and social services and implies increased pressure and demand on both national and local governments with regards to old-age care.
As a consequence of an ageing population, the rising costs for (health)care services and recent budget cuts, many (national) governments in the countries around the North Sea have moved from a care system whereby the state regulates, cares and pays to one that facilitates a civil society that is based on solidarity and community . Looking for new strategies, decision makers in several countries have directed attention to informal care and voluntary assistance.
it is widely recognised that informal caregivers face a number of challenges, including:
• Poor understanding of the local health and social care systems.
• Lack of experience and/or formal education in care.
• Limited societal support.
• Lack of specific tools to manage the whole care cycle.
• Lack of knowledge about the physical and/or emotional difficulties of the cared for person and the longer term implications.
• Skills deficits to support the cared for with activities of daily living.
• Lack of technical support with respect to caring aids.
• Problems with coordinating care affecting with other ‘care’ employment.
• Psychological issues such as stress, anxiety and/or depression.
Although it is relatively simple to find several technological services and applications on the market, most of them are focused on the particular needs of the person who is being cared for (‘telecare’ technologies) and there is very limited availability of ICT-based solutions to support the person who provides support.
The traditional ways in which the market, the public and the civil sector have provided answers to social demands are no longer sufficient. In this context, social innovation represents an important option to be enhanced at different levels (local, regional, national, European) and sectors (public, private, civil) as its purpose is to innovate in a different way (through the active engagement of society itself) and to generate primarily social value.