Identification of needs and opportunities for improvement for the elderly
The paradigm shift on aging and older people.
Increasingly, progress is being made with the implementation of the paradigm shift on ageing and older people, considering them more than a problem, a social achievement as their life expectancy and quality of life have increased significantly. This means that the elderly has new and different needs of a more educational, cultural, participatory nature, etc., than actions of a paternalistic and welfare nature.
In this sense, centres for the elderly can be a good place to develop active ageing strategies, as proposed by the World Health Organization, and become dynamic institutions that promote the self-management and social participation of the elderly, breaking the stereotypes that exist around these centres and incorporating the new demands of this group.
Identification of needs and opportunities for improvement for the elderly: Casal El Roure
Along these lines, the Polinyà Town Council has decided to tackle this social change by detecting the needs of the elderly and the “Casal El Roure” in order to improve the quality of life of this group of people and the services currently offered by the “Casal El Roure”. Through the CERSIN, this detection was materialized in the following points:
- Identify the needs and strengths related to the institutional and organizational approaches of the centre (Project of the centre, rules of operation …).
- Analyse the relational climate of the centre.
- Specify the aspects of improvement related to the organizational functions of the centre.
- Analyse the dynamics of activities and services offered by the centre, identifying both improvement elements and outstanding aspects.
- Propose intervention axes for the improvement of the quality offered by the centre.
The study included older people who regularly attended the “Casal El Roure”, older people who could potentially make use of it, professionals from the centre itself and representatives from the Town Hall, as well as other socio-cultural entities in the municipality. In order to carry out the detection of needs, a set of data collection instruments were elaborated (questionnaires, interviews and discussion groups) taking into account variables related to the organization and functioning of the centre, motivations/needs/interests, the material and human resources involved, the relational environment of the institution and the realization and programming of activities, among others. A total of 297 elderly persons (178, current users and 119, potential users) participated in the study; in addition to the realization of 23 interviews with the elderly, professionals of the house, socio-cultural entities and representatives of the City Council; and two discussion groups with current users.
From the results extracted from the study, the following conclusions could be highlighted, which could serve as lines of action in the improvement of the “Casal El Roure”: on the one hand, the institutional approaches of the centre, through its socio-educational project and its regulations, are very well defined, but they should be adapted to the needs of the users, facilitating their involvement in the centre’s management board. The institution has very adequate material and functional resources, highlighting its physical space and its conditioning. However, it would be convenient to diversify these spaces to facilitate the development of the planned activities and to make the opening hours more flexible. On the other hand, the relational climate in the centre is good, highlighting the good predisposition and accompaniment of the professionals of the institution in interpersonal relations. However, it would be good to find spaces to establish links between the different groups of users of the activities. There is a high degree of satisfaction with the attention and organisation of the professionals of the centre and a high level of involvement of the professionals responsible for the workshops is detected, highlighting their flexibility when it comes to adapting to the needs of the users. As for the programmed activities, the users are satisfied with the activities and services, but they demand that these have more relation with their needs and that other people of other ages and other entities of the municipality can participate.
Finally, it is important to highlight the need to visualise the institution as a space for personal and social development, participatory and open to the whole population of Polinyà, enhancing its preventive role from a community approach.