With retirement, people quickly lose their professional and social networks. We divide the group of retired people in three categories:
- Elderly that need care and support on a daily basis;
- Active elderly that need additional income;
- Active elderly that need social contacts.
The Project Integrated in-home care service targets elderly people living in Sofia and combines the following services:
- Delivery of hot meals at home;
- Cleaning, minor house work and repairs;
- 24-hours emergency line (teleassistance - will be available from 2012);
- ‘Telephone visiting’;
- Social networking;
- Regular medical check-ups;
- Accompaniment to hospitals and welfare institution;
- Volunteer opportunities and part-time jobs for elderly people.
In service delivery the team of social workers will be supported by a network of elderly volunteers providing services like shopping and home visits and by elderly people employed part-time with activities like cleaning, minor house repairs, and accompaniment. A single client could at one and the same time use some services and deliver others, e.g. does some shopping or cleaning for other clients and him/herself participates in social activities. The involvement of volunteers and part-time employed elderly makes for reasonable price and accessible service.
The Integrated in-home care service aims to maintain the autonomy of retired people, to make them independent in their day-to-day activities or to provide them with opportunity to keep their financial independence. The healthcare and social work modules are designed to keep the status of the clients with preventive measures and early interventions. The service applies the concept of active aging by providing employment opportunities to retired people. Thus they are able to increase income, keep active social life and feel helpful. We want to meet the needs of the elderly that need additional income and more social contacts with the needs of the elderly that need care on a daily basis.
An important characteristic of our project is that we provide social service that is based on a business model. Approaches that contribute to this are:
- Peer-to-peer approach: elderly people take part in the delivery of services to other elderly people and mutually benefit from communicating with people of their age group;
- Empowerment of the customers/ clients: elderly people are encouraged to live independently in their own homes and to have control on services delivered to them, their income and/or free time activities.
- Gender mainstreaming: the service is designed to replace at a reasonable price care delivered within the family, basically by women. The integrated in-home service makes balance of family and professional life possible.
- Preventive measures: services like regular medical check-ups at home and ‘telephone visit’ provide for early intervention and in the long run save public funds needed for urgent interventions like hospitalization or our-of-home placement.